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Beer Home-Brewing

SueDonJ

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Hi TUGgers! Our son Steve has gotten into brewing during the last year. He uses kits from Mr. Beer but now is interested in some keg system. I'd like to get it as a Christmas gift but don't have a clue!

This system is the one that our nephew Bob thinks he wants (they both started the hobby and are comparing.) This one seems to have all the parts needed - except I'd add the line cleaner stuff?

A friend of Don's recommended Northern Brewer but I can't get their website to load and he didn't offer details about which equipment we'd have to order.

This is a hobby - Steve doesn't need any fancy-schmancy or top-of-the-line equipment. We'd be willing to spend up to $300 if it's needed. Anything you can suggest or tell me will be appreciated! Thanks. :)
 

easyrider

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Making beer is pretty easy. You need cap-able bottles and a bottle caper. Drink a few of cases of non twist top beer or buy some bottles. 5 gallon bucket, a big cooking pot and some tubing are other items you will need.

Then you need a recipe and some practice.
 

theo

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Easy indeed...

Making beer is pretty easy.
Some years ago, a buddy and I did some multi-tasking; we made beer while "watching" his young son while wife /Mom left and went shopping.

Unbeknownst to us, the young son dropped a little plastic GI Joe he was playing with (and occasionally nibbling on) into the "carboy" (the big glass container used in beer brewing). We transferred and bottled our product, completely unaware that our work had been contaminated by a little plastic, saliva-infused GI Joe. Fast forward to a week or so later...

In the basement, most of the bottles just "blew out" with great fanfare, the mess and stink horrendous. Lessons taken away from our brewing experience were twofold:

1. We are truly lousy baby sitters, unfit as "adult supervision" and,...

2. Boston Beer Company, the brewers of many fine Samuel Adams products, are really much better at the game and offer wider choices anyhow. ;)
 

Elan

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I would go to a local brewer's supply and ask them for advice. They should be able to target equipment to your son's level of interest/enthusiasm.
 

CMF

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Some years ago, a buddy and I did some multi-tasking; we made beer while "watching" his young son while wife /Mom left and went shopping.

Unbeknownst to us, the young son dropped a little plastic GI Joe he was playing with (and occasionally nibbling on) into the "carboy" (the big glass container used in beer brewing). We transferred and bottled our product, completely unaware that our work had been contaminated by a little plastic, saliva-infused GI Joe. Fast forward to a week or so later...

In the basement, most of the bottles just "blew out" with great fanfare, the mess and stink horrendous. Lessons taken away from our brewing experience were twofold:

1. We are truly lousy baby sitters, unfit as "adult supervision" and,...

2. Boston Beer Company, the brewers of many fine Samuel Adams products, are really much better at the game and offer wider choices anyhow. ;)

I think TUG needs a "like" button.

Charles
 

Passepartout

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Last edited:

Rob&Carol Q

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1. We are truly lousy baby sitters, unfit as "adult supervision" and,...

2. Boston Beer Company, the brewers of many fine Samuel Adams products, are really much better at the game and offer wider choices anyhow. ;)
I am in tears....:hysterical:
 

ScoopLV

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Go to morebeer.com and buy their fine products.

Your son will need a basic homebrewing kit. Mr. Beer isn't adequate. He'll need some books on homebrewing that don't suck -- start with "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels.

Then he'll need an empty keg, some filtration equipment, a CO2 tank, hoses and fittings, a fermentation refrigerator, etc., etc., etc., etc.


Basically, it's a lot cheaper to just buy a good keg of beer -- like Sierra Nevada -- than it is to brew it at home. But if your son likes it, its a fun hobby.

Get him a morebeer.com gift certificate. That's the way to go.
 

djs

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Not sure where in MA you are (or if your son is also in MA) but There is a place in Woburn called Beer and Wine Hobby, also another place in Natick called Barleywine. Both offer what you would need, though Beer and Wine has way more (both have a fair amount of ingredients/recipes).

When he gets started he might want to go to a local brewery and talk to the Staff, in Boston there is Harpoon (Northern Ave.) and in Canton there is Blue Hills Brewing (Rt. 138, closet to the Stoughton line). I know for a fact if he brought some of his bottled beer into Harpoon he could get some feedback/suggestions on his brew and suspect the same would be the case at Blue Hills.

If anyone else in the family wants to get a gift to compliment what you get I would suggest a membership in the Brewers Association or a subscription to Beer Advocate.

I would have provided links but I'm doing this on my iPad and Christmas likely would have come and gone before I finished typing had I done that. :)
 

SueDonJ

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Thanks, everyone - I knew TUGgers would be able to help!

djs, I talked to the two companies you suggested. Although Blue Hills Brewing would be more convenient I didn't get a "good vibe" when talking to them that they'd be the way to go, but the lady at Beer and Wine Hobby left a very good impression. Sadly, neither place has the items in stock for Christmas delivery but I sort of expected that - one of these years I will learn to get the more-difficult gifts done early! It probably works out better that they don't because we'll just give Steve a gift card to Beer and Wine Hobby and he can do the shopping.

Scoop, I also ordered the Designing Great Beers book off amazon, that combined with the gift card will give him a nice gift to open.

So far Steve's taken his beer to the Harpoon and Sam Adams breweries - he's been at this for a little over a year and says he's happy when they say he's doing okay. With his job he doesn't have time to make beer-making anything more than a hobby but he sure does enjoy it. Don and I have Sunday dinners every week for whoever in our two big families wants to join us - usually it's somewhere around 12-20 people. They're Steve's guinea pigs and so far it seems his lagers are a bigger hit than his ales. Don't ask me - I don't have a clue what the difference is! But he's happy, they're all happy, works for me.

One nice thing about this hobby of his is that when Don and I travel we've now taken to doing brewery tours and bringing home a 6-pack of a local brew as a souvenir for Steve. Our daughter Eileen has developed an interest in wine - we also do winery tours and bring her a bottle after every trip. So their hobbies work perfectly for us because we have never liked souvenir shopping and we're seeing things that we probably wouldn't have if not for them.

Thanks again, everyone. If TUG had a "raise your glass" smiley I'd use it here for you. Happy Holidays!
 

djs

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May be too late but there is a Groupon today for a beer making class at Beer & Wine. May also be too introductory for your son.
 
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