Originally Posted by Justinwrites
However I've been brewing, both professionally and at home, a very long time. Anyone reading this who hasn't brewed before should know that first off, it is only beer. Relax. It'll be ok. It is very hard to make a beer so bad you can't drink it. And its very easy to make a decent beer that will taste better than 90% of what is commercially available. And like everything you learn to DIY, it gets easier and better the more you do it.
I think of particular interest is the requirements that are most pertinent to making really good beer on a cruising boat and how that differs from making beer on dirt. Why make beer if it isn't better than the stuff you buy? I've also been brewing a long time and under the best circumstances it can still be difficult to make an outstanding beer. The issues working against sailors in making truly outstanding beers are the following:
1) Lack of fresh water. Keeping beer equipment
clean and sanitized takes a lot of water. So can cooling the wort and fermentation. If you are plugged in (as you say) this is less of a problem but I want to be able to make beer far far away from the dock
. I also want to make sure I can keep my equipment
clean because once it gets an infection it can sometime be hard to get rid of those nasties and the local brewshop isn't right around the corner.
So, we need to come up with ways to clean everything, get the wort cool, keep fermentation cool, etc. that are particular to the cruising lifestyle.
3) Boiling... do we boil or no boil? We don't have a lot of propane
on boats and electric
don't do you any good when you are anchored off a nice spot somewhere.
What no-boil can we get away with? What about partial boils?
2) Heat. Boats in the tropics are hot - at least hotter than most yeast like without showing undesirable characteristics. As you know, the fermentation temperature greatly effects the outcome of the beer. Too hot and you end up drinking bananas.
We need to identify the yeasts that perform well in warmer temperatures under suboptimal conditions.
3) Quality ingredients. Most people don't know that canned malt extract doesn't stay as fresh as long as dry malt extract. You would think it would be the opposite. Where do you keep everything to make the beer over an extended trip (say a year) and keep it fresh? The coopers canned extract we have been talking about in the thread were shipped from Australia
(perhaps), then sat in a uncooled warehouse, then sat on a store shelf, then shipped to you, then put into a hot boat for a year. Hops have the same situation but are even more likely to degrade.
We need to identify quality ingredients that last a long time on a boat before use. We need to identify how to store and use them so we don't end up brewing 'just ok' beer. How to keep bugs out of it. Perhaps this means using US dry malts and hops when brewing near the US or perhaps explaining to your seller your reasons for needing ingredients right off the boat.
4) Storing and serving. How do you carbonate it, serve it, etc.
Glass bottles? how much room do you have? What about a mini-keg system? Do you use a jockey box? Personally, I plan on using 3 liter tap-a-draft bottles.
5) What are the legalities with brewing beer in foreign countries? Is it safe to cruise
countries where it is illegal? What happens if you get inspected and they find beer brewing or equipment?