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Old 31-03-2013, 14:58   #76
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

I haven't brewed beer in many years, but the kits available here in NZ make it look so simple - especially with the wort in a can.
I plan to use good water from my watermaker, ozone from my ozone generator for sterilization (I use it for water treatment, rather than bleach), and with a commercial kit. The problems I envision are the sloshing which could slow down the sedimentation of the yeast, and the heat in Tonga.
The wort cans come with a yeast package (which I will store in the fridge, rather than the heat of the tropics). Does anybody know if there is a heat tolerant yeast available for brewing beer?
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:24   #77
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Yes, brewing with hopped liquid malt extract (LME) is as easy as it gets. The Maltster has done most of the work for you. No need to even boil. If I were to brew aboard I would definitely go with a kit. Note that DME (Dry Malt Extract) stores better than LME. You need to use LME as soon as possible before color and flavor changes start.

I agree that temp control would be the big issue. It certainly is for me brewing here in the tropics (I have a fridge and two chest freezers for that purpose ashore...would be hard to fit on the boat). There are a few strains of yeast that behave reasonably well at higher temps, but anytime you push the limit you are more likely to get off flavors. For example, Belgian Saison yeast is happy with 70-95F (21-35C), but it normally gives off a lot of interesting flavor components which you might not want in your brew...unless you are brewing a Saison of course.

Saison yeast specs: Wyeast Laboratories. Belgian Saison

EC-1118 is also works over a wide range, but is more appropriate for wine and mead. But it would probably ferment "cleaner" (fewer flavor components) than Saison. It's alcohol tolerance is higher than most ale yeasts so you would likely get a much dryer brew with a pretty good alcohol kick to it.

That said, I've brewed a couple of very nice Stouts at ambient tropical temps. Their flavor profiles are robust enough to hide any minor off-flavors. If I were to attempt brewing aboard, I would stick with more robust beer styles like Stouts, Porters, etc.

Temp control is most critical during "primary" fermentation. For an ale, this can be mostly complete in a few days so maybe get it started while tied up somewhere with access to temp control or at least some ice to chill your fermentor for a few days.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:16   #78
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Cracked open my first batch last week - straight Coopers lager that comes with the box. Mixed results, each bottle is different, mostly passable, some terrible (slimy cidery taste). I think the hot summer spoiled the fermentation, also from reading the brewing forums the kit yeast is not the best.
So this is going to be a little more difficult than first thought.

The next batch is going to be a Canadian blonde can & added to it: crystal grain, dry light malt, cascade & saaz hops and safale 05 yeast. Getting slightly less practical for a boat. But just want to nail a great beer this time.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:53   #79
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Rottnest View Post
Mixed results, each bottle is different, mostly passable, some terrible (slimy cidery taste). I think the hot summer spoiled the fermentation, also from reading the brewing forums the kit yeast is not the best.
Cheap ingredients make lousy beer.

Cidery
Tastes/Smells Like: Apple Cider, Wine, Acetaldehyde
(apples)
Possible Causes: Using too much corn or cane sugar
is the most common cause for wine or cidery flavors.
Generally, 1 lb of sugar per 5 gallon batch is considered
the limit before cidery flavors start developing.
Acetaldehyde can also give off a cider-like quality.
How to Avoid: Try cutting down on the amount of
corn or cane sugar being used. Using an alternate
source of fermentable sugar can help to reduce cidery
or winey flavors. Dried or Liquid malt extract will
not give off any cider flavors. Honey is another good
substitution as it is almost fully fermentable but it
will leave a slight to strong honey aroma and taste
depending on how much is used. If the cause is the
yeast rather than cane or corn sugar, lagering may
help cidery flavors to dissipate over time.

http://morebeer.com/themes/morewinep...off_flavor.pdf
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:03   #80
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

"each bottle is different"
I suspect there's only one way that happens. A different biome in each bottle, which points to inconsistant cleaning and handling being the real problem.
If each bottle was sterile, and loaded with the same batch, they'd all finish in a fairly uniform manner with a uniform taste.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:06   #81
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

I heard that hoppy ipa's are the easiest to brew as compared to light beers or lagers. Any truth to that?
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:10   #82
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatsail View Post
I heard that hoppy ipa's are the easiest to brew as compared to light beers or lagers. Any truth to that?
Lagers require pretty precise (and colder) fermentation temperatures. Also, big-bodied and full-flavored (and hoppier) ales can mask flaws that would be readily apparent in a lighter beer.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:34   #83
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by fstbttms View Post
Lagers require pretty precise (and colder) fermentation temperatures. Also, big-bodied and full-flavored (and hoppier) ales can mask flaws that would be readily apparent in a lighter beer.
Thanks there fstbttms....that is what I had heard when talking to my bother this weekend as we are both going to be getting our first brew kits. Just wanted to confirm. The logic sounds "stout" lol
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:52   #84
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by fstbttms View Post
Cheap ingredients make lousy beer.

Cidery
Tastes/Smells Like: Apple Cider, Wine, Acetaldehyde
(apples)
Possible Causes: Using too much corn or cane sugar
is the most common cause for wine or cidery flavors.
Generally, 1 lb of sugar per 5 gallon batch is considered
the limit before cidery flavors start developing.
Acetaldehyde can also give off a cider-like quality.
How to Avoid: Try cutting down on the amount of
corn or cane sugar being used. Using an alternate
source of fermentable sugar can help to reduce cidery
or winey flavors. Dried or Liquid malt extract will
not give off any cider flavors. Honey is another good
substitution as it is almost fully fermentable but it
will leave a slight to strong honey aroma and taste
depending on how much is used. If the cause is the
yeast rather than cane or corn sugar, lagering may
help cidery flavors to dissipate over time.

http://morebeer.com/themes/morewinep...off_flavor.pdf
Thumbs up! I just "kegged" (using tap-a-draft) the coopers can made the way it says to in the instructions.

For something that is supposed to be an IPA, I am pretty disappointed. There is very little malt flavor (think bud light) to balance the bitterness and there is no hop aroma I can detect. I agree you should be substituting DME for the sugar when possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c.spots View Post
Does anybody know if there is a heat tolerant yeast available for brewing beer?
Most all yeast will ferment at high temperatures but I think what you are looking for is yeast that will do so and not produce funny esters. I recommended an ale yeast from White Labs earlier in the thread but you can also get away with making Belgian beers as well. They are typically (or should I say historically) brewed at room temp even during hot weeks and this is somewhat responsible for their characteristics.

You can also use a swamp cooler. Put the fermenter into a big bucket with water, drape a wet towel over the fermenter and into the water. As the water evaporates, it cools the beer. It works OK but maybe OK is just fine.

Also, don't feel like you need to brew 5 gallons at a time. You can use just the coopers can without any other ingredients and brew 2.5 gallons instead. Less room and easier to handle.
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Old 01-04-2013, 19:30   #85
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Well, yeast was pitched at 28C and the FV stayed at 26C for the first 2 weeks (with a wet towel drapped over it - it was ~32-36C outside everyday here).
Also the bottles were new and rinsed with iodophor so dont know how each bottle tasted different.

Anyway, next batch, no sugars (maltidextrin, dextrose) are going in, its all malt and crystals. The weather is cooler now so see how it turns out.
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Old 01-04-2013, 19:38   #86
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Thumbs up! I just "kegged" (using tap-a-draft) the coopers can made the way it says to in the instructions.

For something that is supposed to be an IPA, I am pretty disappointed. There is very little malt flavor (think bud light) to balance the bitterness and there is no hop aroma I can detect. I agree you should be substituting DME for the sugar when possible.
The impression I get (from forums and my own brew) is strictly following Coopers instructions gives a no body under hopped beer.
They all partial mash with kits.
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Old 02-04-2013, 20:45   #87
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Beer brewing is easy, and best of all more enjoyable than buying canned beer. I would think the biggest concerns brewing beer on a sailboat is storing the equipment. It takes time to brew, so you'll have large containers fermenting taking up space, but if you like to do things on your own, and willing to sacrifice some space I think you'll be well rewarded. Like cooking you can experiment, and make whatever style of beer you wish. I would warn you to stay away from bottles and plastic. I think you'd be better served with a soda keg or some of the new kegs offered by home brew suppliers. It will save you a lot of sterilizing and storage of used bottles etc.. Go lean, use a keg and tap. You can fill a jug or growler and cool in the icebox as needed.

5 Gallon Cornelius Keg - Ball Lock
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:16   #88
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formorian View Post
.....I would warn you to stay away from bottles and plastic. I think you'd be better served with a soda keg or some of the new kegs offered by home brew suppliers. It will save you a lot of sterilizing and storage of used bottles etc.. Go lean, use a keg and tap. You can fill a jug or growler and cool in the icebox as needed.
Myself as a newbie to brewing I gotta ask - are you suggesting using a keg with CO2 bottle for carbonation, or bulk priming without gas and treating the keg as one big bottle?
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:44   #89
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Rottnest View Post
Myself as a newbie to brewing I gotta ask - are you suggesting using a keg with CO2 bottle for carbonation, or bulk priming without gas and treating the keg as one big bottle?
I'm not into keeping all that extra stuff on the boat. I'm using natural priming using disolved dextrose just before bottling. Since it works in 2 liter bottles soda, it should work in a tap-a-brew set up.

That said, I imagine you'd have to finish the keg a little faster to prevent the beer from going flat.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:37   #90
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Re: brewing beer aboard while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
For something that is supposed to be an IPA, I am pretty disappointed. There is very little malt flavor (think bud light) to balance the bitterness and there is no hop aroma I can detect.
You are simply not going to get any meaningful hop aroma from a kit that has the hops pre-mixed into the syrup. You can make a decent beer with these kits, but you are never going to get the variety and complexity of flavors that come from more sophisticated brewing techniques. That is a simple and inescapable fact.

It's a trade-off. The kits allow you to make a beer in almost any circumstances, relatively easily, and with relatively little equipment. For that you give up the subtle and complex flavors that can come with all-grain brewing, multi-step mashing, multiple hop additions during the boil, dry-hopping, large yeast starters from top-quality liquid yeast, careful control of the fermentation process, and all the other things that someone with a large, well-equipped, home-based brewhouse can do.

Enjoy the beer that you are able to make. If you really want a great IPA then buy a case of Sierra Nevada Torpedo. That would seem to be appropriate for drinking while aboard.
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