Thanks for the invite to the conversation...
10 years ago I worked with someone who supplied beer at company functions (250+ people) all by himself! I was so amazed by this that I made a batch with him for my sister's engagment party. Based on the responses I received, I was hooked. Being a biochemist working in a microbiology lab for my graduate work, I figured I might as well use those disciplines in my hobbies!!! Been doing it ever since although lately it has been tough now with kids and house, no time!! The upside to that is that I'm able to reassess my equipment and make upgrades.
Never thought that I had any artistic ability but now that I brew beer, this is my art form that I share with all.
Thanks for the invitation. For me beer was always something of a mystery beverage. I could understand wine better, and in fact dabbled a bit into experiments with juice from crushed grapes and spontaneous fermentation from the yeast on the skin (or on damaged parts that secrete sweet juice and attract insects that carry Saccharomyces spp. yeast). After changing majors from biological sciences to engineering to anthropology (archaeology and ancient languages) my interest in wine and beer continued (although primarily in drinking the stuff), and eventually I began to research the origins of wine and beer and the role of these beverages in certain ancient societies. I was fortunate that one of my professors was a consultant for the then recent Katz/Maytag experiment into Sumerian beer, and in fact he brought in a case of the Anchor “Ninkasi” brew during a December department part at the university for a few of us grad students to drink.
Nearly ten years ago I began fairly serious research into beer in ancient Mesopotamia, and was working through the Hymn to Ninkasi, a Sumerian text that some have used as a model for reconstructing the process of Sumerian brewing. I called Fritz Maytag to ask a few questions about his experience in creating the Ninkasi beer his company had made, and on his own impressions as a brewer on the interpretations of this text. He was extremely kind in answering my questions, and spent quite a bit of his time with me, but at one point he said, “You know, why don’t you take up brewing and try some experiments of your own. You would learn a lot more from your own experimentation than you could from talking to me.” I had always thought about learning to brew but always seemed to have an excuse for never getting around to it. But after Maytag’s suggestion, I decided to jump in. It made perfect sense, after all. While I still study ancient brewing as part of my research, brewing has become not only a means of experimental archaeology but even more so a hobby in its own right.
By the way, I really enjoy certain Belgian ales, and have been experimenting with caramelized sugar syrups. Is there anyone else making this also? If so, please let me know.
Thank you for the invitiation! I started homebrewing about 10 years ago when my wife bought me the kit that they sold at the science store in the mall. It made two batches - one turned out fine, the other was aweful! After that I visited my local homebrew shop, read Papazian's "the New Joy of Homebrewing," and started brewing with much better ingredients and knowledge. All of my batches have been extract with specialty grains, and I've won several awards at competitions. Some day I'd like to try all-grain brewing.
Thanks for the invitation. I have yet to brew any beer at home. Hope to begin soon, as soon as I canm assemble some supplies and some space.
My experience comes from a membership in the Master Brewers Association many years ago in Milwaukee. I was in the far upstream end, selling barley to the maltsters, unloading and storing malting barley through a large grain elevator, and handling some of the byproducts of the malting and brewing business.
I may want to try malting my own barley also. That is actually easier than the brewing and can be done in a kitchen oven ( with close supervision and a good thermometer.).
David Kelm San Antonio TX firstname.lastname@example.org
I got started with home brewing at Madison Area Technical College. It was a required course for receiving a cerificate in Biotechnology. After having a wonderful time and learning lots about yeasts and hops, we finally sampled our brew. It was wonderful! I haven't had the chance to try it at home yet, but it's on the list.
I first became interested in home brewing after a grad school roomate brewed up a batch of the best wheat beer that I had tried up to that point. Of course this was the early 90's in Worcester, MA and the "Imported" beer section at the liquor store included Knickerbocker which is (was?) brewed with corn! I started my own brewing when i moved to Moscow, Idaho. One of the undergrads at the University of Idaho became my "O-Beer-Wan Kenobi" and taught me to brew. I have continued the tradition and teach anyone who is interested how to brew their own beer.
Although I have never had any problems with sanitizing, I have friends who have lost batches do to unknown microbes. I use Oxy-Clean for the first wash of all my bottles. I fill the bathtub with water and get the Oxy-Clean to dissolve and then add the bottles. I can get more than enough bottles soaking for one batch, if i am careful about stacking I can get almost enough for two batches in at once. The Oxy-Clean works great for getting stubborn labels off of bottles also (my wife likes it too beacuse once I finish the tub is clean). After that, I simply soak everything in Iodophor. After brewing I simply use dish detergent to clean everything up - a little scubbing gets everthing out, unless I let it sit too long - then I reach for the Oxy-Clean for the carboy.
I've seen that strategy of "Keep the Wife Happy with a Clean Bathtub" from many homebrewers!! I may have to adopt it myself as I generally end up cluttering the utility sink in the laundry room to no great acclaim
As I said, I usually use the dishwaser method after a soak, though I fear that my dishwasher heat dry cycle does not meet the sanitizing requirement of >160 deg F for the 20 minute cycle. I usually pre-soak in bleach solution, and rinse, prior to dishwasher cycle and haven't had any issues, though most would argue that the rinse step negates the sanitatization step.
I have also tried piling the bottles in the oven with a loose foil cap and heating to 325 deg F for 60 min then cooling overnight, but this proved to be more of a pain than the dishwasher method. I should probably invest in a bottle tree to do a quck sanitizer rinse, but that might take up additional space in my already crowded basement corner Bruhaus.
I have a bottle tree which is indespensible now that I do not have a dishwasher. I use a 5 minute santizer soak and dry on the tree (I used to load up the dishwasher for the bottles to drain).