Friday, October 28, 2011

Indiana BrewHaus Radio Half Hour, Episode 5

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Indiana BrewHaus Radio Half-Hour
Episode 5
No Guest
Topic: Homebrewing

Hello fellow hop heads, and welcome to another episode of the Indiana BrewHaus Radio half-hour where we talk about all things beer: tasting it, brewing it, and discovering new ways to enjoy it. I am your host, Nate Shultz, latest republican nominee running on the fermentation platform. I am sitting along-side my two campaign managers and co-hosts for the evening, Mr. Jared Brown and Mr. Benjamin Sutton! How are we this evening gentlemen?


Let’s get to the drinking game rule for the week. This week we will talk a lot about homebrewing. I myself am a home brewer and have been going on eight years. So, in the spirit of the show, every time you hear one of us say the words homebrew, homebrewing, homebrewers, or just the words home or brew...drink. I would get some beers ready.

This week we have no guests so you are going to have to listen to me and these two idiots talk for the next half hour. As I mentioned before, we are going to talk mainly about homebrewing in this show. We will cover the equipment to get started, some helpful tips, and different beers to try that are great for beginners!

First of all lets talk equipment. I have a post on the blog right now that talks about what equipment is good for starting out homebrewing to save a little money as this can be an expensive hobby at the beginning. I would like to go a little more in depth and talk about everything you absolutely need to start homebrewing. First of all, it is perfectly OK to start out using  malt extracts at the beginning. Malt extract is great for the beginner brewer because it takes a lot of the guesswork as well as effectively eliminating several steps to the brewing process. I actually didn’t go all-grain until about a year and a half ago.

Using malt extracts cuts down on the equipment you need to get started. There are a lot of different options on equipment, but my recommendation would be to not spend a lot of money right away. Many people start homebrewing, get into it, and then realize that it may not be something they would get into. Spending a lot of money is really not necessary. Here is a list of  ingredients that you absolutely need to get started:

Extract/partial grain
1. Large Pot (3 gallons or more, I use a turkey fryer with a propane burner, usually about $60)
2. Long spoon
3. Fermenter (I use a carboy, but many homebrew stores will sell lidded buckets that can serve as both a primary and secondary fermentor.
4. Air Lock (There are a couple different options on this)

5. Syphon
6. Racking cane/bottling cane
7. Bottles
8. Ingredients to make beer (duh)
9. Bottle cap crimper/ bottler
10. Sanitization stuff (star san and PBW)

Optional gadgets and tools for attenuating/measuring sugar levels:
1. Hydrometer
2. auto syphon (this helps get your syphon going - highly recommended!!)
3. Kegging system.

OK so this stuff doesn’t sound like it would cost much, but it can add up quick. That is why most home brewers buy everything a little at a time. Some guys even build some of the stuff themselves to save money. Be sure to check the show notes for pics of different systems some people have built.
Some people may be asking, “what if I want to start doing all grain brewing?” What do I Need at that point?
In the case of all grain brewing, you would essentially add one to two other steps to the process. Some people can front the cash to get a large system with a nice mashtun and false bottom. One possibly with a separate attachment for spraying sparge water. I say you don’t need that if you don’t want it.
Here is what I do: I found a 10 gallon Igloo drink cooler and had the spigot taken out and retrofitted it with a mesh halo, a bit of tubing and a on/off valve. With this, I am able to pour in 165 degree water that I had been heating in my large pot. With the lid that comes with the cooler, I have very little heat loss. I then make sure the batch measures five gallons at the end of the 1hr-90 minute mash stage and we are usually good to go. At that point i just let the water run out of the spigot, through the mesh halo. I realize that I am probably leaving some valuable sugars in the mash tun, but looking back on the batches that I have done, I have never had a problem with low specific gravity.  


Here is the deal with kegging. I don’t do it...yet. I would really love to get started, but there is so much cost associated with getting that done. I have a feeling that will be my next big venture. Kegging requires a great deal of hardware to get started, but once you have everything, bottling becomes a thing of the past. I envy those who have kegging systems in place. There are a ton of systems out there if you are looking to get started. Just poke around online or check out your local brewing supply store.

Some beers to try for newbies: For your first few batches, stick to styles that you know you like and can drink a lot of. I say this because there is a chance that you may be the only one drinking your beer at first. Once you have a good idea of what you are doing, feel free to branch out and try different beers. Some good examples of relatively simple beers would be your lighter beers like Kolsch, Cream, or lawn mower style. Another route to go would be your light pales and IPAs. I like these because if you screw up a little bit, the hops are there to attempt to cover your mistakes.

Style of the week:

Getting closer to winter, I have decided to make this week’s style Barleywine. Barleywine is a style of beer very similar in many ways to its namesake, wine, in that it is usually aged for long periods of time in oak barrels, but doesn’t have to be. It is usually high in alcohol content because of its long aging period. Because of this higher alcohol content, you can usually store barleywine for 2-3 years, sometimes longer.
Barleywine is a dark style that is very big on flavor. Usually it is very high on both malt and hops making for a very big beer! Some barleywines aren't even drunk until they have had time to age anywhere from 6 months to a year. It is sometimes referred to as the Cognac of the beer world.

Some barleywines of note:

three floyds Bohemoth
Upland’s winter Warmer
Bier Brewery’s Barleywine

What are you sipping on this week/ recommendations for our listeners?
nate - fuggit stout (Brew Bracket winner!)/ keg of osiris pale/ yuengling
Ben -
Jared -

News on the beer front:
Indianapolis has a bid in for the 2012 International beer bloggers conference! I am super excited about that one as I write a beer blog. I had no idea this existed until about 3 months ago. So if you are listening and you have twitter. Tweet @beerbloggers and tell them you want to have it here in Indy.

Other cities with bids:
St. Louis
Austin, TX
Asheville, NC

Yuengling coming to OH! Here is some big news for you yuengling lovers out there. Ohio is getting yuengling. Actually, some of the state already has it. It was a natural move for the Pennsylvania-based brewery as it is the only state that borders it that does not have the beer. The one nice thing about this for me is that I don’t have to drive 8 hours or visit relatives to buy it. Not sure as to when they are coming to Indiana, but don’t count on it for a while.
Should be in restaurants (on tap) by October 31st and in stores (bottles and cans) by November 14th.

Thanks everyone for joining us this week on the Indiana BrewHaus Radio Half-hour.  Thanks to my co-hosts, Jared, which you can follow on twitter at @jaredbrown, and Ben which you can follow on twitter @thepact or at
You can also follow me on twitter @nshultz or go to for more episodes of the IBH Radio Half-hour, blog posts, drinking games as well as updates on what isgoing on around Indianapolis. Also, be sure to check out! We just purchased the domain name and I am slowly, but surely working on getting it up and running!


Pics of homemade homebrew setups:

     Brew Tree                                        Stair step setup

                 The reason some breweries use plastic kegs now.

More like what I have for a mashtun.