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A trip to U-Brew It

johnboy 4 July 2009 44

[First filed: July 03, 2009 @ 11:32]

The RiotACT team can be notoriously difficult to pin down. And yet, when beer is involved mysteriously manage to appear with no problem at all.

A few weeks ago Che had been out to U-Brew It in Hume, and was so impressed he organised a trip for the rest of us to partake in the beery goodness while he packaged his first effort for taking home.

The concept is simple enough, instead of investing in expensive home brewing gear you pay to use theirs and take advantage of economies of scale. With no excise paid, because you’ve made it yourself, the beer can still be very cheap with the quality that the larger scale equipment can provide.

So here’s how it works.

1) Peruse the menu. Choose from dozens of beer styles with examples of similar commercial beers given. Once you’ve chosen which one you want the all important recipe card will be issued to you.

2) The recipe card will be full of things like “Black Bowl: 25 grams of Irish Moss and 30 grams of Cascade hops”. The most important thing is to get the malt bucket filling first as it can take some time for 5 litres of sticky malt to flow out of the drum. With the malt flowing everyone rushed around playing with scales and bowls, assembling their recipe.

3) Brewing. Equipped with a timer each and supervised by management we followed the checklist which made sure ingredients were introduced, to 50 litres of 70 degree water in great gleaming kettles, at the right time.

4) Pumping out. The finished wort is pumped from the kettle into a plastic lined fermenter via an intercooler which zaps the temperature down to a yeast friendly 30 degrees. It then goes and sits in a temperature controlled warm room for a week, before the staff move it to a cool room for another week.

5) Two weeks later come back. Either pay $40 for canning, or bring your own bottles.

All up, if you don’t have the bottle stock and need to can, it costs around $200 for 50 litres of beer. Or $2 for each of 100 500ml cans of filtered and carbonated beer.

While engaged in the process they’ve got Foxtel showing on a big plasma and samples of their different recipes flowing freely for the non-drivers.

For those of you curious about the canning process here’s some video of the machine in action.

Slideshow of the whole procedure below:


What’s Your opinion?


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44 Responses to
A trip to U-Brew It
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chubbybatbrewery 4:18 pm 18 Nov 09

Chubbybat Brewery offers rental equipment and instruction on how to make your own all grain beer. chubbybat.com

DanRayner 8:36 pm 06 Jul 09

PS – join the Canberra Brewers Club!

http://www.canberrabrewers.org

Deckard 7:38 pm 06 Jul 09

If you rinse the bottles out with hot water straight after you use them you shouldn’t have much problems cleaning them. This is all I’ve done for the last few brews (no sanitising) and I’ve only had 1 contamination.

+1 for bleach. Rinsing off with hot water quickly gets rid of the chlorine smell.

This is the place for all your brewing questions…

http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/index.php

DanRayner 7:09 pm 06 Jul 09

LG said :

anyone know how much you’d normally shell out for a decent home brewing kit?

The kits are fine but if you’re anything like me you’ll slowly, bit-by-bit, increase your kit until you make the switch to all-grain brewing then kegs to save time and effort, then feel that your initial all-grain kit isn’t quite what you need/want and decide to upgrade to all stainless equipment and all of a sudden your wife is complaining that the spare room is full of brew stuff and the second fridge (a big commercial one) full of beer kegs is making too much noise at night and that you both need to move to a place with a double-garage and you look back and realise you’ve spent possibly a few thousand dollars on your kit….

U-brew-it is perfect if you want to avoid all of that and make quite acceptable beer

they store it and keep it at the right temperature for you while it ferments!

peterh 4:37 pm 06 Jul 09

if people are interested in the tri nature products, here is the link:
http://www.trinature.com/

Woody Mann-Caruso 4:04 pm 06 Jul 09

You could be putting beer into kegs for $200, but you wouldn’t be getting it out.

Secondhand 19L keg with new seals, pressure tested: $59. Liquid disconnect: $17. Soda stream regulator adapter: $30. Gas disconnect: $17. New regulator: $70. Sodastream Alcojet 40L cylinder: $30, or $11 if you ask the right way. Total: $223 for a completely portable kegging setup. Get a secondhand regulator and disconnects and score the cylinder at a garage sale or Revolve and you’re easily under $200. Or get a Tap-a-Draft system for $135.

Then between bottle wash, spray bottle for disinfectant, disinfecting chemicals, actually buying the first kit. I wouldn’t recommend a friend budget for less than $200.

Diluted Home Brand bleach is pretty much the best sanitiser you can get and cost fractions of a cent per batch. Even the grungiest bottles will sparkle if soaked in bleach solution for a couple of days – no brush or special chemicals required, just a rinse with plain water.

For and for $DEITY’s sake, give the Big W kits a miss. A few kg of fresh extract, some decent dried yeast, some Irish moss and some properly packed hop pellets won’t cost much more and will taste infinitely better. If you just want to dump and stir, get a 3kg ESB kit. If you just want to stir, get an ESB fresh wort kit.

peterh 1:48 pm 06 Jul 09

johnboy said :

ewww

Dishwasher’s have two problem:

1) They’re not designed to get water up into all your bottles.

2) dishwashing detergent (which will be there as residue even if you’re not using it) will kill the head off beer.

re dishwashers, 1) the fisher and paykel drawer dishwashers do a great job with bottles.
and 2) there is a product from Tri-Nature which uses an active ingredient of citric acid. We use it as it isn’t harmful to kids, but i have mates using it for their bottles as it doesn’t have a nasty side effect – like poison you.

jessieduck 12:42 pm 06 Jul 09

I don’t brew but I pickle and jam and I use the dishwasher on my jars- never had a problem.

Jim Jones 12:37 pm 06 Jul 09

I’ve been brewing for a goodly number of years and never experienced any problems with the dishwasher.

johnboy 12:34 pm 06 Jul 09

ewww

Dishwasher’s have two problem:

1) They’re not designed to get water up into all your bottles.

2) dishwashing detergent (which will be there as residue even if you’re not using it) will kill the head off beer.

Big W kits can be OK.. but check the use by dates carefully.

Jim Jones 12:30 pm 06 Jul 09

The kits they sell in supermarkets are fine. You won’t need a bottle tree if you have a dishwasher (whacking rinsed bottles through the dishwasher makes the entire experience a lot more bearable).

LG 12:16 pm 06 Jul 09

Keep the advice coming people 🙂 – although perhaps I’m moving things off topic.

JB, do you have a particular brand / supplier in mind? I imagine you’re not thinking of the kits sold at Big W?

johnboy 11:44 am 06 Jul 09

You could be putting beer into kegs for $200, but you wouldn’t be getting it out.

You really want a proper capper not that bollocks of belting the bottles with a hammer. And a bottle tree and jet takes so much angst out of the process as to be essential to brewing with sanity.

Then between bottle wash, spray bottle for disinfectant, disinfecting chemicals, actually buying the first kit. I wouldn’t recommend a friend budget for less than $200.

But if you have an endless appetite for pain and large amounts of free time then sure, you can get started for the cost of a fermenter and the first kit.

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:37 am 06 Jul 09

I’d say you can get started for $200, but then also need to build the bottle stock

!!?

Food-safe plastic bucket with tap, plastic hose, decent-sized saucepan, done. Even if you bought one of those commercial packages that give you a bottle washing brush, crown seals, thermometer, hydrometer etc you won’t be set back more than $90. You could be kegging for $200.

LG 10:17 am 06 Jul 09

Thanks JB, building up the bottle stock shouldn’t be much hassle 😉 just a question of committment to actually brewing my own beer!

johnboy 10:03 am 06 Jul 09

I’d say you can get started for $200, but then also need to build the bottle stock (ie drink two cases of beer)

But without access to forced carbonation it’ll be six weeks before each batch is ready to drink. So you need a bottle stock of 12 cases of bottles.

LG 9:50 am 06 Jul 09

anyone know how much you’d normally shell out for a decent home brewing kit?

farnarkler 9:29 pm 05 Jul 09

As well as being a good way for a novice to get a decent brew (my brother’s bottling efforts exploded under the house), It’s a great tax dodge.

bloodnut 4:35 pm 04 Jul 09

apologies – this was the original story from the opening.

http://the-riotact.com/?p=6210

bloodnut 4:23 pm 04 Jul 09

i think they were. Just not editorial.

http://the-riotact.com/?p=6539

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