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Old 26-02-2013, 13:26   #31
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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Originally Posted by Iambatman View Post
Findings? Isinglass?
I have used every imaginable fining. I find gelatin to work the best overall and its the cheapest. I have used isinglass but its expensive and if you use the gelatin correctly, it works just as well as or better. Also, some people are allergic to shellfish or are vegetarians.

The ale yeast I recommended floculates very well.

FYI, I have ordered a no-boil IPA and am going to try it.

I did some research on the no boil and it appears that they preconvert the wort and remove most of the proteins up front, which means there is less trub to settle out of the beer during/after fermentation. This is actually a bonus because if you rack your first beer into your bottles and you are left with a lot of yeast... you can just rack a 2nd newly made beer on top of the yeast in the fermenter. This generally makes a better beer than the first one and it will ferment out in just a day or three. You just need to make sure you add some nutrients for the yeast if you are using RO water.

In regards to the tapping system, you could use a cold plate in the freezer or fridge instead of cooling the whole keg. Just make some additional holes in your fridge and add a second cold plate. Route the beer lines through the cold plate and into your cup!
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Old 26-02-2013, 20:34   #32
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I have used every imaginable fining. I find gelatin to work the best overall and its the cheapest. I have used isinglass but its expensive and if you use the gelatin correctly, it works just as well as or better. Also, some people are allergic to shellfish or are vegetarians.

The ale yeast I recommended floculates very well.

FYI, I have ordered a no-boil IPA and am going to try it.

I did some research on the no boil and it appears that they preconvert the wort and remove most of the proteins up front, which means there is less trub to settle out of the beer during/after fermentation. This is actually a bonus because if you rack your first beer into your bottles and you are left with a lot of yeast... you can just rack a 2nd newly made beer on top of the yeast in the fermenter. This generally makes a better beer than the first one and it will ferment out in just a day or three. You just need to make sure you add some nutrients for the yeast if you are using RO water.

In regards to the tapping system, you could use a cold plate in the freezer or fridge instead of cooling the whole keg. Just make some additional holes in your fridge and add a second cold plate. Route the beer lines through the cold plate and into your cup!
No boil IPA. Sounds "interesting", let us know if it works and has a decent taste.

I would make beer brewing on a boat a bit easier and better on the propane bill.
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Old 26-02-2013, 20:55   #33
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

I checked with a couple of guys I regularly brew with and they said that these kits are not exactly no boil. You still need to add 3 pounds of dry light malt extract. At the very least, you need to warm up the water enough to dissolve the malt. If you do NOT boil, you cannot create a clear beer - for most that is not a problem... they drink their beer out of can and they never see it anyway.

I'm a huge beer snob... I admit it and am proud of it. I like my big huge mouth curdling super double IPA's, my big malty bocks, and my super spicy pumpkin beers. You just can't get that from a can!
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Old 27-02-2013, 09:25   #34
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

zboss...
"I have used every imaginable fining. I find gelatin to work the best overall and its the cheapest. I have used isinglass but its expensive and if you use the gelatin correctly, it works just as well as or better. Also, some people are allergic to shellfish or are vegetarians."

Isinglass comes from the swim bladders of fish, primarily sturgeon, not shellfish. Also, gelatin is a vegetarians nightmare. It comes from the skins, bones, connective tissues and hooves of animals.
The good news is, if properly used, neither product remains in the finished beer.
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Old 27-02-2013, 09:56   #35
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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zboss...
"I have used every imaginable fining. I find gelatin to work the best overall and its the cheapest. I have used isinglass but its expensive and if you use the gelatin correctly, it works just as well as or better. Also, some people are allergic to shellfish or are vegetarians."

Isinglass comes from the swim bladders of fish, primarily sturgeon, not shellfish. Also, gelatin is a vegetarians nightmare. It comes from the skins, bones, connective tissues and hooves of animals.
The good news is, if properly used, neither product remains in the finished beer.
Sorry, I stand corrected... I saw isinglass but was thinking KC SuperClear - which is shellfish.

I tried isinglass and did not have any luck with it. Also you are correct about gelatin... I don't know what I was thinking!

I got the IPA no-boil beer in the mail today. Here are my first impressions from the directions:

1) The instructions use metrics. While this is not a problem it would be advisable to write down all the steps with the appropriate conversions before starting the brewing process to make sure you have all the right ingredient amounts (only for Americans obviously).

2) The instructions keep talking about Pilsner rather than IPA. In fact, no mention of IPA is made. I wonder if they packaged the wrong instructions.

3) What comes in the can is not all the ingredients you need. You also need 1.1 pounds of dry malt extract and 10.5 ounces of dextrose/sugar. Plus 5 ounces of priming sugar.

4) The instructions are not clear if the previously mentioned 10.5 ounces of sugar is to be fermented with the rest or saved for bottling at the end. I assume you add it for fermenting because if you added 10 ounces of sugar to 5 gallons of beer at bottling time, your bottles would explode. Trust me - this is very messy.

5) In the bottling section it mentions adding 8 grams of sugar per bottle at bottling time. This is also recipe for exploding bottles. Its much better to use 5 ounces sugar dissolved in boiling water and mixed VERY well with the fermented beer right before bottling, to assure you get the right amount of sugar for each bottle.

6) The instructions don't give a suggested starting specific gravity but the style guidelines from the BJCP indicate that an English Style IPA should be about 1.050 - 1.075. That is a pretty wide range; if the beer starts out on the low side, you will end up with a very alcohol forward flavor. If its too high then it will be overly malty. With that said, I would hope that the kit's original gravity would come in at around 1.063 when I make it.

7) The kit recommends using bleach for sanitizer. I recommend starsan or sanistar over bleach for many reasons:

(a) you need to wash bleach off thuroughly after the items are sanitized otherwise your beer will taste like bleach. This is generally hard to do and it water intensive.
(b) If you rinse it off with water you are just recontaminating the items you just sanitized.
(c) Starsan and sanistar are 'more' environmentally sensitive than bleach. Although not advisable you can drink the stuff.
(d) starsan gets everything sanitary in about 30 seconds and is reusable as long as it doesn't go cloudy. I have kept reusing starsan for over six months.
(e) you don't rinse starsan so the object retains its sanitary nature for a period after drying. Wet starsan ends up being yeast food and gets fermented.

8) You still need to boil 2 liters of water (or use hot tap water which I do not recommend) and then dissolve the ingredients in it. If you are not boiling the dry extract then you will end up with unstable proteins in your beer. It will still ferment but the beer will have chill haze and be generally less stable than beer that has been boiled.

9) They don't mention aerating the beer... probably because there is still o2 in the water since you did not boil it. If you choose to boil it you will have to aerate the wort before fermentation.

10) The instructions give some good ideas on how to keep the fermentation temperature under control. If the internal temperature of the brew goes over about 85-88 degrees and you have all that corn sugar as an ingredient, your beer is going to have a distinct buttery flavor and smell to it. You don't want this in your beer. Some people are very sensitive to it and to them your beer tastes like they are chewing on a corn cob.

11) Although they give a method to determine if your beer has finished fermenting (check specific gravity over several days to make sure it has not changed) it does not say what the final gravity should be (BJCP 1.010 – 1.018). This is problem because beer yeast can sometimes quit prematurely and then start up later or not at all. If you have bottled before all fermentables have been eaten, you can have exploding bottles.

12) It doesn't mention using any clarifying agents. Although optional, the certainly improve the presentation and clarity of the beer.

So, I will go ahead and brew this beer according to the exact directions and report back to you guys in about two months.
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Old 27-02-2013, 10:27   #36
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

"finding a source of ultra-clean water...how are you going to pasteurize it?..."
While sterility ensures against rogue yeasts, it is not critical. There's a Norse saga out of Iceland which mentions a host who fell into his mead barrel (kept in the barn) and drowned. The guests decided he's a good chap but he's dead, and continued to drink the mead. Which was normally brewed in an uncovered barrel, and included flies.

Hardest part of home-brewing, is waiting a month for the batch to get done. But if you have put up three or four...one will come ready every week after that.<G>
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Old 27-02-2013, 10:32   #37
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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Hardest part of home-brewing, is waiting a month for the batch to get done. But if you have put up three or four...one will come ready every week after that.<G>
true... that was a huge reason why I gained so much weight! So much beer, so little time.
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Old 27-02-2013, 11:03   #38
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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There's a Norse saga out of Iceland which mentions a host who fell into his mead barrel (kept in the barn) and drowned. The guests decided he's a good chap but he's dead, and continued to drink the mead. Which was normally brewed in an uncovered barrel, and included flies.
He was indeed a good chap...he got out three times to go to the loo. So considerate!
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Old 28-02-2013, 15:10   #39
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Ok, time for me to chime in. I have been brewing my own beer for nearly 15 years now, and I don't mean just using a kit "and bango" you have beer - I mean grinding my own grain, cultivating and reproducing my own yeast, everything except growing my own grain and hops. What other hobby will allow you to go into work on Monday morning and with a straight face say you spent the weekend "sparging your wort"?

Beer is very forgiving if you follow a few simple rules - the most important being that the wort (UN-fermented beer to be) be exposed to as few contaminants as possible from the time it is first cooled until the yeast has a chance of taking over - the most critical time being the first 2 to 3 days. So if you have a fairly sanitary work area setup - and transfer your wort from the 'boiling container' whatever that is, to a sealed and more or less sterile fermentation vessel efficiently and quickly air seal it you will probably be ok.
The thing that would worry me the most would be trying to boil the wort on board boat. Most recipes call for making about 5-6 gallons or in some cased 15 or so gallons at a time - the 5 - 6 gallon recipes will require keeping your boiling pot under a good sturdy gas burner for HOURS at a time. That bothers me... I don't know about you but HOURS of hard burning propane at a time on a fiberglass boat just bothers me.

Next - someone - I don't know who, said something to the effect you just boil it - sprinkle some yeast on it - bottle it and add a teaspoon of sugar to each bottle - and then you have beer... WRONG this is the way you get bottles exploding all during that final fermentation process - please don't let anyone you know do this. The process of adding sugar to bottles invariably contaminates most of them. Here is how it is done the modern way - First measure out enough sugar (corn sugar if you please) for the entire batch, add a small amount of water to the sugar, just enought to dissolve it, and then bring it to a boil for a few minutes, then rack (move by use of a siphon) the beer from the fermenting container to a "sterile" bucket, add the boiled sugar, then rack it from the mixing container (unfinished beer and boiled sugar) to the bottles one at a time, which should be immediately capped with boiled bottle caps. But - if you want to see how much pressure and what a mess 'spoiled' beer makes when it finally bursts bottles in the middle of the night - go right ahead - spoon feed those bottles with dry sugar.

Enough of a rant... sorry .... Life is a joke - beer is important.
Captain Steve...
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Old 28-02-2013, 15:20   #40
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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That bothers me... I don't know about you but HOURS of hard burning propane at a time

Enough of a rant... sorry .... Life is a joke - beer is important.
Captain Steve...

Hi Steve,
I know you wouldn't suggest I am a dickhead so please don't think I am a lying one

The method I have been using is just as I said, and it properly produced beer from a kit that actually works.... And does so without all of what you have described. There is no boiling or water, wort or anything else, nor is there having the stove on for more than it takes to heat a litre or two of water... And even that's not necessary in the tropics where water is taken from the boats tank.

So please realise you are using a totally and utterly different method. You method sounds inappropriate for a boat. But the brew kit method is not difficult and is simply workable on a boat at sea.

Thanks for your post... Is shows the manual method of brewing... But it's not what we are talking about in the Kits.

brew on! But please give us the latitude to say something works as described when it works as described.


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Old 28-02-2013, 15:27   #41
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Well, I certainly would not suggest that anyone - is anything - especially sing I haven't actually met anyone here. I was just trying to save someone some trouble.
If your method works - it works - good for you! I haven't tried it. I have had contaminated beer burst in a capped bottle before though and would save anyone that problem if I can.

Smooth sailing....
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Old 28-02-2013, 17:17   #42
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

MarkJ. Thank you.
I've gone out and bought the Coopers kit & started the first batch already. To others using the old method, you probably make a better brew, but it is totally unsuitable for a boat.
Mark's point is there has been a beer brewing revolution of sorts recently and Coopers brewery (a century and half old brewery in Australia) invented it.
And yes, the bottles are primed with sugar tablets, 2 per 740ml bottle. Coopers, those clever buggers seem to have it worked out.
This is on land ATM, so I wonder how it will go when sloshing about on the boat.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:28   #43
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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so I wonder how it will go when sloshing about on the boat.
It's fine sloshing.

My fav beer is VB but that's now about $40 per case at home. But the beer kits give you 2.5 cases for about $15 so for budget cruising

Other bit when going overseas if the brew kits doesn't contain alcohol until you brew it so you can't be charged Customs, Duty etc, even in Muslim countries
Just brew up when you get there. Most brews are about 5% alcohol when brewed.

And while you are in a place like the Caribbean where beer is $16 per case, YAHHOOOHEEEEE I don't brew up at all... Talk about sloshing!

Bottle dont explode because its all professionally measured doses, and plastic bottle can expand a bit... I've never had one that leaks, exploded etc. never had a dud batch. Never had one that has much sediment... The first 3/4 have no sediment at all, and it depends how deep you want to drain the vat as you get sediment at the bottom, of course, the last 3 or 4 bottles can be cloudy... But it's still drinkable if there's nothing else in the fridge....

By the way, the Coopers Canadian Blonde, I think it's called, is a good one. Very nice beer.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:21   #44
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

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Next - someone - I don't know who, said something to the effect you just boil it - sprinkle some yeast on it - bottle it and add a teaspoon of sugar to each bottle - and then you have beer... WRONG this is the way you get bottles exploding all during that final fermentation process - please don't let anyone you know do this.
Steve you are correct - you should definitely do it this way. The no boil can I ordered says to add a teaspoon of sugar directly to the bottle! Ouch.

I have been using the tap-a-draft system with a lot of luck.

BTW - you should definitely NOT boil no boil cans. The hop aroma and flavor will boil off and you'll get a more bitterness instead. I am making the no-boil IPA I ordered today. Tomorrow, I make an all-grain imperial rye IPA! Yum.

The reality is that this isn't really new... you never needed to boil any of the cans even 25 years ago. It was just recommended because it makes better beer. You can take any of the cans and make them significantly better by following any number of best practices. Some of these are easy on a boat, like removing chlorine from the beer by letting the water sit out overnight before you brew.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:37   #45
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I checked with a couple of guys I regularly brew with and they said that these kits are not exactly no boil. You still need to add 3 pounds of dry light malt extract. At the very least, you need to warm up the water enough to dissolve the malt. If you do NOT boil, you cannot create a clear beer - for most that is not a problem... they drink their beer out of can and they never see it anyway.

I'm a huge beer snob... I admit it and am proud of it. I like my big huge mouth curdling super double IPA's, my big malty bocks, and my super spicy pumpkin beers. You just can't get that from a can!
Oscar Blues put all of their beer in cans. Ten Fidy, g'night, old chub are just a few that are prime examples of what you described, better than most on tap or in bottle
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