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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 24th Nov 08, 11:32 AM
    • 1,243Posts
    • 3,576Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    0 WOW
    Great 'How to start home brewing' Hunt
    • #1
    • 24th Nov 08, 11:32 AM
    0 WOW
    Great 'How to start home brewing' Hunt 24th Nov 08 at 11:32 AM
    If you’re finding the cost of pub beer hard to swallow, home brewing can save you cash. So we want to tap MoneySavers for their top tips on brew it yourself booze.

    How do you get started? Which beer kits are the best? Does it taste as good as a pub pint?
    How long can you keep it after opening?

    Please click reply to share your top tips.

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers


    Last edited by Former MSE Dan; 26-11-2008 at 10:16 AM.
Page 1
  • ianjohnson80
    • #2
    • 24th Nov 08, 12:43 PM
    • #2
    • 24th Nov 08, 12:43 PM
    I have got a kit from Wilkinsons (Not showing on line but available in store) for 20.

    This included the fermenting bucket and lid,
    Steriliser
    Hydrometer
    Syphon
    Brew Mix

    (not sure if it has some other things as I am in work and have not used the kit yet.

    Paid 20 (Costed instore for about 27)

    Just started to collect my bottles for future use!!

    (also got a wine kit which again has all the required stuff for 20 from Wilkinsons)


    P.S. I have no idea what I am doing>>>>>>>>>>Hope things don't go bang in the night!!
    • nuttyrockeress
    • By nuttyrockeress 24th Nov 08, 1:15 PM
    • 1,251 Posts
    • 3,802 Thanks
    nuttyrockeress
    • #3
    • 24th Nov 08, 1:15 PM
    • #3
    • 24th Nov 08, 1:15 PM
    We make our own apple and elderberry wine from the trees in our garden - when we've finished we will of used about 4 stone of apples this year.

    We use 2 of the big plastic dustbins from wilko.

    Chop and "Mince" the apples (we just whizz them in the food processor)and add water, sugar, pectolase, crushed campden tablet and yeast nutrient ( I think, hubby does that bit)

    After a week in the airing cupboard we seperate att the apples through a sieve and pour the juice into demijons add the airlock and place on a heatpad - when it's done fermenting, we bottle up and store for about 9 months until ready to drink.

    Costs include
    Pecotlase - 79p from wilkos
    Steralise powder - 1.39 from wilkos
    Campden tablets 2.49 for 100 from wilkos
    Yeast nutrient 69p
    Reusable plastic corks 12 for 99p
    Plastic sieve
    Plastic funnel

    I'm sure i've missed some bits out but I don't have the recipie we use with me........

    We picked up most of our demijons from car boot for 50p ish each.

    We have fun doing this together and also enjoy sharing the finished result with friends
    It's nice to be nutty but's more important to be nice
    • MrsBartolozzi
    • By MrsBartolozzi 24th Nov 08, 4:06 PM
    • 6,209 Posts
    • 48,801 Thanks
    MrsBartolozzi
    • #4
    • 24th Nov 08, 4:06 PM
    • #4
    • 24th Nov 08, 4:06 PM
    There is a massive thread on home brewing over on the Oldstyle board see here.

    HTH, MrsB.

    It's only a game
    ~*~*~ We're only here to dream ~*~*~
    • Beenie
    • By Beenie 24th Nov 08, 4:50 PM
    • 1,464 Posts
    • 1,489 Thanks
    Beenie
    • #5
    • 24th Nov 08, 4:50 PM
    • #5
    • 24th Nov 08, 4:50 PM
    Please don't use plastic dustbins.

    You need food grade plastic for anything to do with home-brewing or any food/drink prep.

    Don't want to be a scaremonger, but the most famous homebrewer in the US (who wrote books and articles) and also used plastic dustbins died of liver cancer..
    • raket
    • By raket 25th Nov 08, 11:52 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    raket
    • #6
    • 25th Nov 08, 11:52 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Nov 08, 11:52 PM
    ...the most famous homebrewer in the US ... died of liver cancer..
    Originally posted by Beenie
    Think there's also another way to get liver damage... dustbins full of alcohol!
  • dinerouk
    • #7
    • 26th Nov 08, 4:55 AM
    Good beer
    • #7
    • 26th Nov 08, 4:55 AM
    After trying most beer kits over 40 years, I now get Coopers, an Australian beer. Can make 40 pints (though I make less) for 10, where I live in Doncaster.
    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
    • N9eav
    • By N9eav 26th Nov 08, 5:49 AM
    • 4,676 Posts
    • 26,423 Thanks
    N9eav
    • #8
    • 26th Nov 08, 5:49 AM
    • #8
    • 26th Nov 08, 5:49 AM
    I have made wine and beer over the years and have amased quite a bit of kit. It's fun to make your own drink, but it can become tiresome. Waiting for it to mature or finding it does not taste as good as John Smith's can be a disapointment
    3 cases of beer for 20 in ASDA is often the best way to go.
    NO to pasty tax We won!!!! Just shows that people power works! Don't be apathetic to your cause!
    • BillScarab
    • By BillScarab 26th Nov 08, 7:49 AM
    • 5,935 Posts
    • 4,559 Thanks
    BillScarab
    • #9
    • 26th Nov 08, 7:49 AM
    • #9
    • 26th Nov 08, 7:49 AM
    I used to make a lot of beer at one time but found miost of the kits were pretty awful. If you just want to get drunk cheap they're OK but if you want something that actually tastes nice they're not so good. I started making my beers from scratch using recipes in a book called "Brewing beers like those you buy" by Dave Lines. It does require more equipment and is more time consuming but the results were far better.
    It's my problem, it's my problem
    If I feel the need to hide
    And it's my problem if I have no friends
    And feel I want to die


  • sitronman
    Track down your local homebrew shop, they are worth thier wieght in gold. I mostly make my own beer from scratch, but if you do get a kit go for a 3kg kit (such as the muntons range), instead of a 1.8Kg or less kit. They cost a bit more, but you get a much better drink as a result.

    Usually any kit less than 3kg that say it makes 40 pints, you need to add sugar to, although sugar get converted to alcohol, it dosen't contribute to flavour. With a 3kg kit, you get 3kg of malt extract, there is no need to add sugar, so you get something you can happily share with friends (if you choose to!).

    If it does all go horribly wrong - you will at least have plenty of liquid that can be used for slug traps in the garden!
  • awalker
    Go and have a look on this forum lots of helpful members with loads of useful information http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/

    Its cheaper and its good fun

    Adam
    • kingkano
    • By kingkano 26th Nov 08, 8:35 AM
    • 1,920 Posts
    • 844 Thanks
    kingkano
    I've been brewing (beer and wine actually) for several years. I started out with the kits and agree with most of the comments here. If your a lager lover then don't bother! Kits are ok to get started but you will probably agree they are a bit thin and not quite as good as a pint down the local. Having said that, many friends I started into brewing still use kits and are happy with the results (some fiddle with them a bit too).

    After you get started you'll find you can justify more investment as time goes on, and move onto brewing from malt extract and hops from recipes (requires a boiler or very large saucepan). I started in the kitchen using a big stockpot. It's kind of like making your own kits. This means you have more control and make a much better brew but still without too much work/investment.

    After that you can move onto making beer like the pros, fully 'mashing' the grains. This does require a couple hundred investment for a kit of equipment - upto whatever you want to spend. But the resulting beers are amazing and can even be BETTER than your local pub once you become proficient. I'd recommend this if you want it to be a hobby. Stick with malt extract if you just want cheap good beer.

    There is only one downside.... what to do with 40 or 80 pints at a time LOL!
  • harryhound
    Buy the kit cheap - make it strong - drink lemonade.
    Many happy memories of "student" days in 1960's.
    The shop price of alcohol has fallen BUT drinks are still taxed on their alcohol content in the UK. This means that the big brewers have a vested interest in seeing how they can reduce the alcohol (and other expensive ingredients) without the punters noticing.
    (The cigarette manufacturers do the same but there is no standard for cigarette tobacco content).

    So if you buy top of the range kits and make them strong (and drink less?) then you probably get the best tasting pint.

    In the 1960's it was difficult to pop over to Calais for the day and the duty free allowance was pathetic; however the rise in the cost of motoring and the collapse of the pound has tipped the equation towards home production again.

    There are people of the 1960's popping their clogs, so cheap auctions and boot sales are good places to collect the kit.

    This stuff about food grade plastic does have a point BUT it is very marginal for beer. It is only going to be in the dustbin for a couple of weeks max. (If the container is black it should be so coloured using soot from burning natural gas as the soot from burning oil can contain hydrocarbons in addition to the carbon, but they are pretty well wrapped up in the polyethylene) That said, I did get someone's kit from an auction and it came with a handy filter and instructions on how to replace the asbestos filter.
    Last edited by harryhound; 26-11-2008 at 9:06 AM.
    • nickmack
    • By nickmack 26th Nov 08, 9:08 AM
    • 4,406 Posts
    • 1,724 Thanks
    nickmack
    I brewed some beer using a Woodforde's Nelsons Revenge kit a couple of years ago. It actually came out quite well, it was certainly drinkable.

    I got it half price from a hardware store that was closing so it worked out about 25p/pint.

    I haven't tried anything else since, because I haven't really had the time and the only other kits I found were the 'Geordie Bitter' examples in Wilkinson, which I didn't really fancy.
  • Shaman61
    I've been brewing for over 20 years and progressed to brewing from scratch a few years ago. The leap in quality has to be tasted to believe, you can easily make beer that is as good if not better than your average mass produced concoction and for approximately 25p a pint. With reference to using food grade plastic products, for the low cost of these items, there's no reason not to. As previously said, if you want a taster of what it's like, try out one of the 3kg kits that don't require sugar to be added. Check out www.hopandgrape.co.uk for a superb homebrew shop.
  • NaomiJane
    Simple simple simple recipe that even I have made with success. you end up with something like small beer but its very drinkable.

    one lb of hops.
    7 pints of water.
    one jar of malt extract.
    a tablespoon of yeast (i used easy bake sachets)

    boil the hops in the water for 45 mins.
    strain and add the malt.
    leave to cool toslightly warmer then blood temp then sprinkle the yeast on top. cover and leave for one week.
    sterilize your bottles. ( wash them out with clean warm water and leave in a a warm oven to dry).
    strain the beer to get rid on the sediment and pour into bottles. cork and leave for 6 weeks.

    You will end up with a light pale beer that tastes like a small beer. you can vary the amount of hops as you like.

    You can either buy hops ready dried or if this had been earlier in the year then go collect them from the hedges. You can buy hop plants easily and once settled they grow like wildfire and you'll have plenty of hops in the autumn. it is bast to pick them when they re still green because once they go brown they go a bit bitter but are still perfectly alright for beer.


    If you do feel like steating yourself I recoment the Elf series of christmas beers by Ridgeway Brewery in Oxfordshire who do a series of barlywine style beers that are realy sweet and dark and up to10% vol .esp the Seriously Bad Elf
    Last edited by NaomiJane; 26-11-2008 at 9:29 AM. Reason: more info
    • sphrp2
    • By sphrp2 26th Nov 08, 10:47 AM
    • 81 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    sphrp2
    We're not hardened brewers (or drinkers for that matter) but we find the tins from Wilkos to be more than adequate. We've tried several but prefer the Geordie lager, but I guess its a matter of taste (there's also a stout version we've just tried and like very much although its more like a black lager than eg Guinness). There are two main things you can influence with these kits:
    1) cleanliness - absolutely essential for both taste and, more importantly, your health
    2) time - the first time we used a kit we followed their instructions on time and it was WAY too short. We now let the mixture brew for about a month and then bottle it and keep those for a minimum of 5-6 months.

    I'd also definitely recommend using secondary fermentation to add fizz to your beer rather than CO2 in a pressure barrel. We found the CO2 made big fat bubbles rather than the nice fine fizz we get with 2ndary fermentation and you had to drink the whole barrel over quite a short time or it went flat.

    Our friends and family think our lager compares favourably with the stuff from the pub (maybe that's just cos its free to them?! )
    • tiff
    • By tiff 26th Nov 08, 10:56 AM
    • 6,551 Posts
    • 8,597 Thanks
    tiff
    If you're brewing wine get your demijons from Freecycle, there are loads of people with these in their sheds/lofts.
    A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. - Dave Ramsey
  • Shaman61
    We're not hardened brewers (or drinkers for that matter) but we find the tins from Wilkos to be more than adequate. We've tried several but prefer the Geordie lager, but I guess its a matter of taste (there's also a stout version we've just tried and like very much although its more like a black lager than eg Guinness). There are two main things you can influence with these kits:
    1) cleanliness - absolutely essential for both taste and, more importantly, your health
    2) time - the first time we used a kit we followed their instructions on time and it was WAY too short. We now let the mixture brew for about a month and then bottle it and keep those for a minimum of 5-6 months.

    I'd also definitely recommend using secondary fermentation to add fizz to your beer rather than CO2 in a pressure barrel. We found the CO2 made big fat bubbles rather than the nice fine fizz we get with 2ndary fermentation and you had to drink the whole barrel over quite a short time or it went flat.

    Our friends and family think our lager compares favourably with the stuff from the pub (maybe that's just cos its free to them?! )
    Originally posted by sphrp2
    You should always use secondary fermentation to produce the CO2 in a pressure barrel. You may have to inject CO2 to get the last beer out of the barrel. However, if your secondary fermentation has been satisfactory, you shouldn't need to inject any further gas. The idea is to rack your beer into the pressure barrel just as fermentation is ending in your fermentation vessel, add half a teaspoon of sugar per pint and keep in a warm place for a few days. Then place the barrel somewhere cool and you should have enough gas to dispense the beer. Hope this helps.
    • DEBTMONKEY1A
    • By DEBTMONKEY1A 26th Nov 08, 11:08 AM
    • 1,485 Posts
    • 2,250 Thanks
    DEBTMONKEY1A
    Cider & my hints!
    Deffo moneysaving! Mark my words-with the 'credit crunch', & a re-srgance of 'old style' things (70's food etc....) there WILL be a telly programme on it soon!

    Ok.........beer kits...they are fine but the cheaper ones do make beer that's a bit 'thin' (no body) & quite dry tasting....I think LAGER kits are much better...also if you can afford the 3kg kits much better results!

    Or...go the whole hog ( i did) & make your own from grains. Really does involve though a full days time & you'll need to invest in a brew bin with boiler to boil the beer with hops. prior to that you mix the grains & hold at a certain temperature (150 ish) for 2 hours (this converts tha starch to malt sugar-easiest way in my opinion is to put it in one of those insulated 20 litre lunch cooler thing-like a large thermos flask in effect!)....then 'sparge' (posh word for rinse!) the mixture to get all sugar out...great fun-bit involved but you can make better bear than the pubs!

    My take on storage for both cider/beer is a pressure barrel....loads on freecycle/2nd hand-most only about a tenner to buy I think. SO MUCH easier than washing/sterilising 22 x 1 litre bottles!

    WINE! Easiest to get good results with...my favourite is 'CARAFE 21' (think wilkinsons have it)-the rose is great! About 12/13 for 30 bottles(!) of wine!

    Simple to make-drinkable after 3 weeks or so (fermentation takes 2 weeks)...better if you leave it longer. The taste?? Like a basic plonk but ideal for everyday with a meal. Once kit is finished you can sweeten it (if I remember once fermentation stops you 'kill' the yeast to stop it re-fermenting-with I think pottasium sorbate??-in with kit)-I say approx 1/2 tsp/bottle so 15 teaspoons/40 pint batch.

    Storage-google 'polycube' or look on homebrew sites-holds 30 bottles-sits in an attractive 'barrel design' box-no washing/sterilisong of 30 bottles...simply decant in to a bottle & keep in fridge!!!

    Also-STERILISE EVERYTHING with campden tablets (RINSE AFTER WITH COOLED BOILED WATER)-otherwise your efforts will turn to vinegar!

    Cider kits are good-but dry....try googling 'turbo cider'-essentially buying 23 litres of mixed types of apple juice-add yeast/bit of sugar-JOB DONE-litre of cider for 50 pence!

    Iwould be doing it now but live in a flat...other 1/2 won't allow cos of smell (!!)
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