Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-03-2013, 15:22   #61
Registered User
 
zboss's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: On a boat
Boat: Cabo Rico 38
Posts: 3,426
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

So after 5 days I have just racked the Coopers IPA no-boil beer from the fermenter to the secondary to get the beer off the yeast and trub. Fermentation was not very robust although the temperature for fermentation was ideal; this is not particularly worrying because the yeast seemed to have done its job. The beer's gravity is at about 1.014 right now and I would hope to see that get down to 1.011 before bottling.

The trub was very clean and thin. If Coopers does go through the effort of removing a lot of the protein up front that would be expected. Also, the beer was obviously hopped with hop essence rather than actual hops. For many reasons but I assume primarily to ensure every can is consistent in character. As an IPA I am disappointed in the hop character. It is not very hoppy in either bitterness or nose characteristics - it is much closer to a regular pale ale than an India Pale Ale.

Although the beer is not clean right now, I would not expect it to be at this point. The predominant character is very yeasty right now, as you would expect given that the beer is still fermenting and there is a lot of yeast still in suspension. The taste is clean, not bitter, and not overly malty. It will probably make a nice clean tasting tropical beer but if I were a temperate climate I would be looking for much more hopiness. We will see how it develops over the next few weeks.

Lets talk about pricing. Right now, the best price I could find online for the ingredients is $22 for the can of extract, $4.50 for a pound of Dry Malt Extract, and $2.50 for the 300 grams corn sugar. You can probably find the corn sugar a lot cheaper if you shop around but we will use the $2.50 for discussion purposes. Lets assume $4.99 shipping from Austin Homebrew to florida where you are provisioning. TOTAL COST for around 52 twelve-ounce beers (how much I usually get out of 5 gallons)... works out to about 66 cents a beer.

Compare that to the price of a budget beer selection IPA at Austin Homebrew, which is a MUCH better beer in my experience. This comes to about 59 cents a beer but requires boiling. You don't need to boil the whole 5 gallons, 2 or 2.5 gallons would be enough.
__________________

__________________
zboss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2013, 21:24   #62
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,915
I do a lot of brewing of beer and mead ashore during my sailing off season and have brewed in tropical conditions for about 7 years now. I dont plan to do any aboard the boat (my dedicated brew kitchen and 20 gallon brew rig wont fit on the boat), but here are a few suggestions that may help you brewing aboard.

- Read a good basic brewing book first. Understanding the overall process and terminology will help.

- sanitary conditions. Critical for anything that contacts your "wort" prior to start of fermentation to avoid contamination and likely off flavors.

- use hopped malt extract kits. This keeps the process quite simple and eliminates the need to boil (which is necessary for extracting bittering compounds from hops) .

- fermentation temp control is critical to brewing but problematic on the typical midsized boat (I have 2 big chest freezers w external thermostats at home for this). So, stick with Ales, which ferment at relatively higher temps, and try to at least keep ferm temps as stable as possible. Check the temp ranges for the yeast strain you are using and try to stay in that range because too high temps can cause off flavors. Temp control is most critical during the early and most active stages of fermentation (called "primary" fermentation) after that you are less likey to get off flavors due to temp.

-small batches. Typical homebrew batches are 5 gallons but you can scale down. Using pre-hopped extract kits also makes this easier.

- plastic bottles. Much safer to store and handle aboard and you can easily vent pressure if needed to avoid a "bottle bomb".

You wont brew award winning beers this way but you might brew some surprisingly good ones.
__________________

__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:53   #63
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,915
A few more thoughts:

Low volume boils. As mentioned in another post, if you want to brew a recipe that requires boiling then you can do a low volume boil and then top up w cool water. The low volume effects hops utilization efficiency so you may need to adjust the amount of hops used.

Late additions. Ingredients like malt extract (liquid or dry) do not need to be boiled. Thus they can be added after the boil which helps in keeping your boil volume low. And, late additions also help to start dropping the temp of the "wort" (the liquid you just boiled)...top up with cool water and you will be much closer to "pitching" temp (temp at which you toss in the yeast).

Cooling the wort. Cooling a bunch of hot liquid from near boiling to pitching temp (around 70F) is one of perenial problems for small batch brewers. Doing a low volume boil and topping up w cool water helps a lot. Put a few plastic bottles of water in the fridge the night before (the colder the better) and top up w those. Placing your boil kettle in a cold water bath also helps. You want to cool as fast as possible to reduce the time other micro-beasties have time to infect your wort.

Hmmm...next project...a small volume self contained brewing rig for the boat.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 09:41   #64
Marine Service Provider
 
fstbttms's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Under a boat, in a marina, in the San Francisco Bay
Posts: 3,592
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Hmmm...next project...a small volume self contained brewing rig for the boat.
Not cheap, but it is self-contained.



Braumeister - 20L | MoreBeer
__________________
fstbttms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2013, 10:04   #65
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,915
Cool toy and it is only about 2 boat bucks! ;-) I'll put on the list for the next boat.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 18:19   #66
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 4
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

First off, I have been lurking and reading as we plan our entry into the sailing world. So I'm a total newb in when it comes to the boat.

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.

There are limitless variances in the techniques that can be used. What works for one person maybe not for others. I would personally not place sugar directly into my secondary, as that can and will eventually pop the bottle if you use too much or your yeast is particularly energetic. Where as blending a priming solution into the beer before you bottle it does work quite well.

If you have shore power when you brew you could make your own boiling kettle using a thermal element and thermostat. That would eliminate the propane issues and virtually remove any risk of fire or thermal damage to the boat.

Finally, soda bottles do not have BPA in them. Some of the squishier water bottles may. But rigid "coke" bottles are not a concern.
__________________
if one .... endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. - Henry David Thoreau from Walden
Justinwrites is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2013, 10:03   #67
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,915
Welcome aboard Justin. The brewing world and the sailing word do overlap at the edges. For example, we are currently road-tripping our way back to the boat, which is in Bocas del Toro Panama, from Guatemala and sampling any interesting brews we can find along the way.

The craft brewing industry is in its infacy here in Central America but there are a few - such as Brew Revolution in El Tunco, El Slavador. Also a couple of micro-breweries in Coasta Rica. Good selection of imports in Bocas del Toro including a full line of Chimay's brews.

Ive lived in Belize and Guatemala since 2005 and brewed as a hobby in both countries.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2013, 11:44   #68
Do… or do not
 
s/v Jedi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: in paradise
Boat: Sundeer 64
Posts: 9,198
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Welcome aboard Justin. The brewing world and the sailing word do overlap at the edges. For example, we are currently road-tripping our way back to the boat, which is in Bocas del Toro Panama, from Guatemala and sampling any interesting brews we can find along the way.

The craft brewing industry is in its infacy here in Central America but there are a few - such as Brew Revolution in El Tunco, El Slavador. Also a couple of micro-breweries in Coasta Rica. Good selection of imports in Bocas del Toro including a full line of Chimay's brews.

Ive lived in Belize and Guatemala since 2005 and brewed as a hobby in both countries.
See if you can find any LaTrappe beer in the supermarkets... they have it here in Panama. My wife's uncle was monk in the monastery that brews it... had every kind on draft on his birthday parties!
__________________
s/v Jedi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2013, 12:10   #69
Registered User
 
CaptHead's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Boat: Grand Banks 42 Classic - Heads Up
Posts: 109
Images: 1
Send a message via Yahoo to CaptHead
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

What an interesting thread. thanks, I enjoyed the read.
__________________
Captain Head
1966 Grand Banks 42 Hull #17
Twin Ford Lehman Diesels
Sterling LP over Epoxy
Life is Great, Skip the Beach
CaptHead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2013, 13:08   #70
Registered User
 
zboss's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: On a boat
Boat: Cabo Rico 38
Posts: 3,426
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justinwrites View Post
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?
__________________
zboss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2013, 20:28   #71
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,915
I agree, why brew just an Ok beer when you can typically buy that easily and cheaply (unless you are drinking at a gringo bar) in most (not all) venues. For example, in Guatemala I can buy a 12 pack of Brahva Extra for Q60 (about US$7.70...or about 3 beers in a gringo bar where beers are about 3x the price in the locals bar for exactly the same beer). If I am going to the effort of brewing then I want a really awesome result and something that I cannot otherwise easily acquire. Case in point: I have a Braggot and several different meads (melomels) conditioning now while we are off cruising...something tasty to look forward to on our return.

Some styles would be challenging to replicate aboard the typical cruising boat. For example, a really excellent Bohemian Pilsner...these are one of the most technically challenging beers to brew in a homebrewing environment even with a good set-up ashore.

Re legality. I used to live in Belize and legality was an issue there...had brewing supplies confiscated once. I dont think most places really care, but bags of DME (powder) stored below might attract unwanted attention. I had Calcium Carbonate held up for a long time in Customs recently (didnt think about the interest little bags of white powder might generate before I shipped them!).
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2013, 16:30   #72
Registered User
 
CaptHead's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Boat: Grand Banks 42 Classic - Heads Up
Posts: 109
Images: 1
Send a message via Yahoo to CaptHead
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Make a sugar wash and distill it. RUM aboard.
__________________
Captain Head
1966 Grand Banks 42 Hull #17
Twin Ford Lehman Diesels
Sterling LP over Epoxy
Life is Great, Skip the Beach
CaptHead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2013, 16:50   #73
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lake Michigan
Posts: 86
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

So can you make enough cash brewing and selling your Yacht Brand beer to keep yourself cruising? Or are the regulations and economy of scale not good enough to make more than a few beers for yourself?
__________________
Max Sail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2013, 22:58   #74
Marine Service Provider
 
fstbttms's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Under a boat, in a marina, in the San Francisco Bay
Posts: 3,592
Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Sail View Post
So can you make enough cash brewing and selling your Yacht Brand beer to keep yourself cruising?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Sail View Post
Or are the regulations and economy of scale not good enough to make more than a few beers for yourself?
Yes.
__________________
fstbttms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-03-2013, 05:44   #75
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Sail View Post
So can you make enough cash brewing and selling your Yacht Brand beer to keep yourself cruising? Or are the regulations and economy of scale not good enough to make more than a few beers for yourself?
Economies of scale dont work out on small batches (esp given that you have to import ingredients in most venues) and selling your brew legally typically requires clearing significanct legal hurdles.

I brew just for fun and am deep in the red by now but sure have enjoyed it...sort of like sailing, much less expensive.
__________________

__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Beer, cruising

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:47.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.