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Making your own beer.

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    EHP: Do you have any barrel sized brewing experience? I am seeing strong demand for my Rauchbier and am considering doing a commercial nano brewery. I have no idea if there are issues when scaling up to larger batches. I am no researching all the legal (tax) requirements for going commercial.


      Looking into everything required to manufacture, package, market and distribute beer on a commercial level is very eye opening. So far bottling poses the biggest challenge with few options between doing everything by hand and a $50'000bottling line. I visited three breweries last week and really enjoyed talking to the brewers and learning that making beer is about 20% of the problem.

      So far I have learned:

      1. Visiting three breweries is very dangerous (I did not drive). They love to keep handing you a glass saying "try this" or "drink faster so you can try this...".

      2. Packaging materials (bottles, caps, lables, 6 pack carriers, case boxes) cost more than the beer.

      3. Once a brewery gets above a few guys working in a cave the marketing staff soon outnumber the brewers. One very successful brewery I visited had 11 employees; 1 brewmaster, 2 brewers, 1 packaging supervisor, 1 warehouse manager, 1 office manager, 5 regional sales managers.


        Dane- sorry- somehow I missed post #46.

        When we worked up the recipes for our friend to brew at his inn in Vermont, we didn't bottle-everything was put into 5 gallon corneys. I think bottling would be a nightmare!

        I think the worst part of the whole deal for Glen was the paperwork that government/ATF required. At the time we worked with the Boston Beer Co., they contract brewed around the country for their various Sam Adams products. The company was much smaller then. You might want to take a look at that option.

        Oh isn't visiting with brewers fun??? No "secret-reserve-refuse-to-discuss-how" with these folks.....the more the merrier, I've always found commercial brewers to be...a "come on in, the water's great" attitude. I have yet to meet a brewer-commerical or home- who would not share supplier information, yeast strains, tips, and, if necessary, raw materials...............

        Meanwhile...Joe College has developed a taste for hard guess what I'm making on Wednesday????? We've made 10 gallons of what became very highly hopped ale (Amarillo Ale from Williams Brewing) so I'm making a quick batch of unhopped 1060sg ale to blend and tone it down a bit. He's bringing 4 friends home for the weekend to celebrate the end of the I the only parent willing to have a keg of beer handy on the back porch????


          Many people will be getting some of my cider for Christmas which had a FG of .991. It's mighty strong. My first batch to ever go below 1.


            share recipe, pretty please? AJ wants me to make some, and I just can't figure out whether to add sugar or not..or acid blend or not, or whatever.

            Didn't get the beer or cider made....typical. We make plans and God laughs......

            To surprise Joe College, though, I have reserved a keg of woodchuck cider from the local beer distributor to pick up on Friday. He sits his last exam today and is bringing some friends down for the weekend. ..........

            Just call it my nod to recycling. I didn't want to deal with all those bottles....

            (and the folks 'round here don't recycle...can you believe it?????)

            That cider of yours DEFINITELY has some alcohol in it. Wonder if it would flame.

            Bet it would be a SPLENDID substitute for brandy in cooking!!!!!!!!!!!


              The last cider I did used ordinary apple juice (no additives, no preservatives) and I added cane sugar to get an OG of 1.065. I used Safale S-04 yeast fermented at 67 degrees. I had estimated that it would stop at about 1.014-1.016 which would be about 6.8% ABV but the yeast just slowly worked away at it until it was down to .991 after four weeks.

              I bottle conditioned this batch so prior to adding the priming sugar I sweetened with Apriva to taste which for me was about 3 teaspoons per gallon. With four weeks in the primary the S-04 flocullated very well and was very clear (should have been a warning to me) going into the secondary for batch priming. I ended up having a lot of trouble getting the bottles to carbonate. After two weeks at 68 they were still pretty flat so I went another two weeks giving the bottles a thorough shaking every day. They finally carbed up but I should have added more yeast at bottling or just kegged.

              Even though this very simple cider was made with apple juice the very thorough fermentation gave it a nice cider bite and really brought out the apple flavor nicely and the apriva cuts the sour just enough to make it go down easy without really tasting sweet. This has been a very popular recipe with my wife and her friends but it's high alcohol content (9.66% ABV) is too much making having a second rather dangerous. Also this cider spent way too long in production. Next time I will just pull the batch at 1.014, kill the yeast with potasium sorbate, sweeten to taste and keg & force carbonate and hopefully start to finish would be closer to 2-3 weeks.
              Last edited by pilotdane; December 10th, 2009, 19:32.