January 17, 2011

Brewing my own beer

I believe I wrote last year about my first foray in to home brewing. It's been far too long since I last did that, and I'm excited to give it a try again. John bought me all the ingredients we'll need to brew our own IPA. Now we just need the equipment. There's a couple of home brew stores I'm going to check out and I'll be looking online, too.

If there's a particular site/store you swear by, please let me know. I need all the help I can get right now (since the last time I did this I was at someone else's house and they had everything we needed).

I'm going to follow the recipe that the guy at the store gave us, since I haven't done this before. I'm also looking for some good recipes that you've tried before. Obviously I'd like to get to a point where I brew without following someone else's recipe but I don't want to throw good money away by messing something up the first few times I do this.

I'll write about how things are going, once we finally get started!


  1. My preferred Philly Homebrew shop is Home Sweet Homebrew. George and Nancy are nice to talk to and they have a lot of what you might need in a pinch. However, I tend to do most of my shopping online now since the pricing is a little better, even after shipping, and many places have extensive varieties of malt, extract, hops, yeasts, oak cubes, bottle caps, equipment, etc. If you can plan ahead and buy enough ingredients for a couple batches you'll save a lot on shipping by placing one large order.

    I would suggest following recipes for a while until you learn what different hops, malts, and yeast taste and smell like and then you can start with a basic recipe for a style and adding more of one hop or different character malts to hone in on the recipe. It's also nice to try clone recipes of commercial to learn how they get certain flavors and aromas.

    In terms of equipment, this kit or something similar is probably all you would need: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/brewing-basics-equipment-kit.html The only thing I would change is buying an autosiphon, it works much better than a standard racking cane. You don't need a secondary (glass) fermenter like a lot of upgraded kits include.

    Here's a list of resources I made for a friend.

    Online suppliers:
    http://www.midwestsupplies.com/ (my favorite)

    Beer Forums:

    Homebrewing Books:
    How to Brew by John Palmer
    Brew like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus
    The new complete joy of homebrewing by Charlie Papazian
    Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainesheff and John Palmer

    Beer Podcasts:
    The Brewing Network: Jamil Show, Sunday Session, & Brew Strong
    Basic Brewing Radio

    Beer Blogs:

    Brewing Software:
    BeerAlchemy (for Macs)

    Brewing/Beer Magazines:
    BYO (Brew Your Own)
    All About Beer

  2. Tons of great info here, Michael - much appreciated! I'm excited to get started.

  3. I suggest Keystone Homebrew Supply. Jason and the gang are great, it's one of the best in the area. They just moved into a huge space in Montgomeryville. They can be found here: http://www.keystonehomebrew.com/.

  4. I suggest getting yourself a glass Carboy (my co-brewer and I use a 5 & a 6.5 gallon) as you can watch the crazy activity during fermentation... buckets aren't fun!