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60 bottles of beer in the basement, 60 bottle of b


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Took about 5 years but I finaly, actually, honestly made my own beer. Bought one of those beer making kits last autumn and eventually put it to use after letting it collect dust for about 3 or 4 months.

You'd think the reason for the delay was to hoard beer bottles, but nope. Was just too busy.

Bottles I've had for about a year. A Marca Bavaria. Great bottles for home brewers. Clear. Allmost no label. Don't use a twist-off. Perfect. Bit expensive though at $27 a case. And not exactly a very good beer unless it's really, really, cold. But to do a proper job you've got to have the proper tools. (This was of course before I found out the caps and cappers work just as well with twist off bottles as not).

Have since begun hording Corona bottles. Wee Elf's not exactly a beer drinker but she likes Corona now and again so I've managed a big enough supply over the winter. What can I say. I like a clear bottle.

Used a Baron's Canadian Golden Ale kit. Absolutely idiot proof. Or very nearly. Screwed up a bit on the volume of wort. Misread the fill-to-here instructions on the primary fermentator so didn't quite get the volume right. Result? Don't know. Less liquid?

Couple of guys at work are hard core home brewers. Beer and wine. Never buy either except as kits. Think they found my Maiden Batch great entertainment.

Taking tempatures. Hydrometer readings. Moving the carboy from this part of the basement to that part of the basement to find that optimium fermenting tempature. Like a kid with a science project I tell yah. All I was missing was the safely goggles and the lab coat. Great fun.

The Wee Elf was a bit cynical and didn't much appreciate my bottle washing tub in her bathroom. Not by a long shot. Chlorine solution made it smell like a swimming pool for a bit too. Tough. Got to sanitize those bottles.

It's amazing how much the colour of the "wort" changes from primary fermenting, to carboy, to bottle and finaly to the table. Red River mud, to sewer water, to yellow bile, to light gold, to clear amber. Very cool. And yes, for those who have brewed before my Maiden Batch cleared very, very nicely thankyou. I'd say nearly as clear as vendor bought beer. Beautiful.

Was warned by my betters carbonination is tricky. The home kits use sugar to carbonate the beer once bottled. That's what produces the sediment in the bottle. Labatts and others add CO2 (just like Coke) during bottling. Maybe overdid the sugar additions during bottling but I was working on the advise of the more experienced pros.

All in all Batch #1 came out better than could have been expected. Only got 60 bottles but I was leary of sediment so I left a lot of wort during racking just to be safe.

Colour. Amber. Very clear.

Alcohol. By my math 5.5% although I think it may be a bit lower.

Sediment. Nice firm partial layer of sugar in the bottle. Dosen't disturb during pouring at all which is nice.

Taste. Outstanding. Very traditional ale but very, very dry. No aftertaste at all. Man, you can cannon these beers back no problem.

Smell. Perfect. Nice hoppy scent but not overpouring or bitter.

Carbonation. Good and bad. Pours a realy nice head but dosen't hold it well. Evaporates off quickly as it were. Not as much bubbles in the glass as you'd find in a vendor beer but still certainly not flat. Going to have to try to work on that. Not sure if it's overcarbonated or undercarbonated.

Analysis. If I could buy this beer at the vendor it would be my new brand. Like it a lot. Give it a good strong A grade. Spent 40 bottles friday night at a little taste-test survey I held and approval seems universal.

Comments or better still, suggestions would be much appreciated.

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You have the gift....

I've made and drank a lot of home made beer. Kept me alive for a couple years.

If your first batch turned out, you are gonna have a lot of fun. There's more kinds of beer to make than you can shake a stick at, and it's all basically the same directions.

Sanitize eveything. That's real important. It is the mistake a lot of rookies make.

Plastic bottles are easier to use, but glass gives better flavour.

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If you want clear bottles without a label, you might consider buying a case or two of Sleeman. Clear and no labels. I like their cream ale.

Speaking of Sleeman -- you know, they're from Guelph, and their ads make a big deal about their long history there (their first Guelph brewery opened in 1851). Well, I went to the University of Guelph in the late 70's-early 80's, and in my time there I drank many, many, many, many beers. And I never ever heard of Sleeman, which is something I've told countless people in countless bars over the years.

Recently someone pointed out to me that the Sleeman brewery was basically closed for 50 years, and the family business only re-opened in Guelph in 1988. I hereby apologize for having ridiculed Sleeman so often over the past few years. :D

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When you say "very taditional" taste, do you mean it tastes like Canadian beer from the big brewers, which all tastes the same, except for Molson Canadian, which would taste like what rat pee would taste like if I was ever to actually drink rat pee. I hate Molson Canadian so much that I won't buy it even when they are giving t-shirts away at the vendor when you buy a case. I've never made a batch that tasted like store bought Canadian style beers. Having said that, and noting that I love beers from all over the world (especially Belgium), my homemade beers are always tasty. I thought I was going to try the bigger plastic bottles, but I may rethink that as Champ said it leaves a taste.

Homemade wine is a different kettle of fish. I used to make it and I thought it was quite good. Then the wife and I took some wine tasting courses and I have become an utter wine snot. I have not tasted anyone's homemade stuff that doesn't taste bizarrely synthetic. But I still make the Niagra Mist fruit flavoured wines (the peach chardonay is quite good). Put some 7-up in it and you've got the perfect cooler for an afternoon on the deck.

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Pick a favourite? Aye aye aye! I don't think I can. As you will be aware, Marcl, there is no BIG brewery like a Molson or Labatts. There really are a gazillion breweries! Between visiting my wife's family who live in Zwalm, Nederzwalm, Horebeke, and a couple of other little villages, and having them come to Canada bearing gifts of beer and beer glasses, I have 40 or so beer glasses. They take beer seriously there. When you go to a pub and order a beer, by law, the tender MUST pour the beer in a glass sporting the beer brand's name and he must present the beer to you with the logo facing you. If I had to choose, I guess I would say Hoegaarden is my favourite for no other reason that it is easily available here and I drink quite a bit of it. If I was going to really be on a bender I would stick with Stella.

Interesting fact, when the Belgian relatives come to Canada and try my homemade beer, they always make sure to get every last drop of the sediment in the bottle. Yuck, I say. But they like it.

There are a lot of good beers in the world. Okocim (poland), Pilsner Urqel (sp?)(Czeck), Guinness (ire), Corona (how come most ladies like Corona when they hate all other beer), the list is endless.

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Belgium has a fair number of beers that are, or at least once were, brewed in monasteries. These tend to be "doubles" and "triples" (meaning they do something in the beer-making process 2 or 3 times), and generally have a higher alcohol content. Among these, I am a fan of Leffe Blonde (from the Leffe Abbey in Dinant). Stella and Hoegaarden are decent, and there are many others to choose from as well.

I would classify Jupiler (title sponsor of the top division in Belgian football) as a "big" brewer; every time I walked into a convenience store, I would reach for a can of Coke, before realizing that it was in fact Jupiler, whose colour scheme is rather similar, and occupies a similar amount of fridge space.

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Yeah I had the same "Jupiler experience" my first few times in Belgium. I would say that Stella and Jupiler would be like your Labbat Blue in Canada as far as advertising and product placement.

There are so many good Belgians beers it is tough to choose, but I am partial to Westmalle, Orval, Rochefort(Abbey de Notre Dame de St. Remy), Chimay and Duvel. A couple of Westmalle Triples will hit you pretty hard if you are not familiar with the strength of the Abbey beers.

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I used to homebrew a fair bit 10-12 years ago, but now focus on wines as the wife was never a beer drinker and I haven't the interest I used to. One thing I did do a bit of was experiment with honey either replacing or augmenting sugar as the fermenting agent. It really reduced/eliminated the sediment issue. Like the effect on taste as well. Most of my info on honey replacement I got from a beer making discussion group. If sediment is an issue, honey is a good way to go. More work though, but it sounds as if your liking the puttering part of brewing. You have to heat the honey (to approximately 175 degree IIRC) so that you can both work with it and not diminsh the fermenting catalyst. If you heat it too high, you can actually sterilize it from a brewing perspective and get no action in your brew.

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I have noticed in past few years that Canadian Beer seems to be

a lot heavier than before. What I mean it tends to fill you up quickley. Maybe it is me. But when Canadian beer is at very cold state. Nothing is better.

My Favorite beers are. Tuborg, Faxe, from Denmark, Becks, Bitburger, from Germany, Stella Artios, Grolsh, Hoegarden from Belgium. Heineken From Holland, M.G.D.FROM THE sTATES.Nastro Azzuro

Birra Moretti From Italy. Sapporo from Japan. Export, Moosehead, from Canada and Strongbow from England.

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How can you go wrong on a beer topic, eh?

Well, to me at least the traditional Canadian ale would be a Molson Ex, or Lab 50. Bit too bitter and heavy for my tastes. And not nearly dry enough (don't much care for a lingering after taste although admittedly that slightly differing aftertaste can turn a beer from crap to aces). But then what the Hell do I know? Drank ridicules amounts of Moosehead and Club over the years but I'm just not an Ex fan. As to heavy, try putting six or seven Guinness in the gutter. That's heavy.

Would disagree that most of the domestic brands are generic, flavourless, garbage (ie Canadian). Man, if you can't tell a Blue from a Molson Dry from a Lab Light then something is amiss. Not saying they aren't crap (ie Canadian, or for that matter Lab Light since I brought it up) just that I find them very different in flavour and body.

Favourate domestic brand used to be Sleeman's Premium Light. Can't get it anymore. John Labatt Classic is good stuff and not as heavy as Moosehead by a long shot. Think when I get a bit older and less vain it'll be Guinness full time for your's truly but right now I still like being able to see my toes without sucking in my gut.

Surprised Sleeman's dosen't have a bigger share of the market. Practicually everyone I know favours one of their brands.

But yeah, Saku Bert nailed it. Am very, very pleased with the taste of this batch (BARON'S CANADIAN GOLDEN ALE) and wouldn't trade it for anything I've bought from the vendor in the last 20+ years. I however would never stir up the sediment for a wee taste. Uh, gross okay. Just gross.

About the only tweeking I'm up for right now is the sugar volumes during bottling. Like bubbles in my beers. Sediment I'm okay with. It's sticking to the bottom of the bottle and you'd never know it was even there except the bottles are clear. Got to remember this batch is only 3 weeks in the bottle. Going to try to hold off a bit longer on batch #2 (Canadian Lager by the way) and see how much the flavour evolves. Sample a few at 3 weeks. A few at a month and then let fly at 5 weeks.

Now that's willpower.

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Cheeta, you fool. drink them all now. The poor things are crying out to be drunk. Actually I have found that homies have a very long shelf life. You are also correct about Sleemans. I can find no fault with any of their beers. Re: me being wrong about domestic brands being deneric - well to be honest, I think those comments I made stem from my abject disgust at the major breweries pulling up shop and closing down all their Manitoba production. I'm sure there was a lot of excess capacity country wide and these moves were done to save a lot of dollars and I do understand that business case being a CA and all. But those dollars saved equals alot of Manitoban jobs lost.

Whee, its 3 am! Gotta love insomnia! And I'm gonna try to do speed work (running) tomorrow! Made my first purchase of BodyGlide yesterday. Ahhhhh! Entering the shower did not entail burning nipples of hell sensation!

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