Home brewing kits for yachts??? - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 50 Old 07-18-2009
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I personally wouldn't brew on board but if you must get some sort of kegging system. Bottling is a pain when you do it at home, I can't imagine doing it on a boat. I switch to the small soda kegs long ago and it made brewing so much nicer.
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post #32 of 50 Old 01-20-2010
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Ya, I can't imagine sanitizing all those bottles on a boat.

I've been brewing all-grain for years, and I keep 3 cornie kegs out in my shop, under pressure, at all times. I would simply bring one to the boat, not even attempt to brew on board. It would be a challenge though.

Hmm, I started brewing with Mr. Beer kits. They were passable, not all that great, but not terrible. Going all grain made all the difference in the world.
I now buy my grain in 50# sacks.

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post #33 of 50 Old 01-21-2010
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not long after my last post, I switched to kegging, and wow what a difference it made. I can actually make beer at anchor if needed. sanitizing one keg is much easier than fifty bottles. and then just add a little co2 pressure and you have beer ready to chill and serve.

then when you want to make it portable, just fill a growler.

I still only brew partial grain batches, its just easier to do on a boat.

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post #34 of 50 Old 01-21-2010
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what are you using for kegs? I love the smell of a oatmeal stout brewin'...
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post #35 of 50 Old 01-21-2010
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I have never brewed beer so I can not comment on how well it would work on a boat. However I do make my own corn whisky and I can tell you from experience making it on a boat would be near impossible. You might also want to check with the local authorities as to the legality of brewing your own beer. Most jails overseas our not nearly as nice as ours.

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post #36 of 50 Old 01-21-2010
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I am using 5 gallon soda kegs also known as corny kegs. I have two for beer, one for home made soda (usually orange cream soda) and another for ice to keep them all cool in an insulated box.

when I go offshore I will be sure of local laws where i am going, as to not piss anyone off. in most cases where beer is regulated at entry, it is for import reasons. so if you are not selling it usually having a single keg (equal to 2 cases) is not a problem. if you make more while there, you may want to make sure your supply is low before kegging the next batch.

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post #37 of 50 Old 01-21-2010
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I've used Mr. Beer. Not a bad way to start, because it makes things very simple and can produce a decent beer. But unless you are a real masochist, forget about beer bottling and use plastic 1-liter soda bottles. I know, plastic is not glass, but it makes life real simple and holds a generous single serving in each bottle. Clean new caps are readily available, so there's still less cleanup to do.

The problem with any of them is waiting for the brewing, so you might think in terms of buying two rigs, one brewing while you've been emptying the results of the other. Wouldn't want to run out of beer and have to wait WEEKS for the next batch...
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post #38 of 50 Old 01-22-2010
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my experience with Mr. Beer is more like Mr. Yeast. since you cannot get the beer off of the yeast after primary fermentation, the beer picks up off flavors from it. to make a quality beer, you need a secondary fermenter. the secondary allows for the rest of the yeast to settle out and the flavors to blend and mature without sitting on top of a couple of lbs of sludge. to simplify I was considering a six gallon conical fermenter, this combines a primary and secondary by allowing the yeast to be drained off the bottom without disturbing the beer. it also helps prevent infection by keeping air away from the beer, all you do is connect a co2 line to the top of the fermenter to replace the liquid you drain off. alternatively you could store the co2 given off by the fermentation for this purpose.

another issue is bottling sucks, plastic or glass it makes no difference to me. it takes up too much space and too much time. by kegging in corny kegs you reduce both. you can keep beer in a secondary for a month or longer without spoiling, and you can carbonate 5 gallons of beer as fast as you can chill it. if you cannot fit a 5gal corny into your refrigerator, they make 2.5 gallon kegs too, even though they are pricey. so you have a batch of beer in your conical fermenter ready to bottle. what you do is sanitize your transfer hose and keg(s). open up the valve at the bottom of your fermenter and drain into sanitized keg. Close keg. apply co2 pressure to keg while shaking (rocking). Chill keg. serve. brew new batch and repeat kegging process when keg is empty. if you find that you go through more than five gallons of beer in less than 2 weeks, either you need a two keg operation with a ten gallon fermenter or help with your alcoholism.

this is more expensive to set up than Mr. beer, but the more care you put into your beer, the better your beer will turn out.

plastic conical fermenter ready to go $170
kegging system with two kegs and 5lb bottle of co2 $225
propane burners start at $40 for cast iron and $100 for stainless
20 Qt stainless steel pots start at $12 and go up

the rest of what you need are usually found in your galley.


for a 5gal batch of beer the ingredients run between $20 and $40 depending on what style of beer you are making


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post #39 of 50 Old 01-22-2010
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50# of grain usually goes for $35-$55 here. I found a place that sells same for $30. Two five-gallon buckets with sealing lids will hold 50#. I then buy small batches of specialty grains for flavoring up my beers, along with various liquid and powdered yeasts and hops. The grains and hops keep well in the freezer. I do my own grinding of the grain.

For sterilization purposes, there's a quick and easy product I use called StarSan. Minimal rinsing required. Never had a contaminated beer, yet. The stuff is fantastic. When I used to bottle, before kegging, I'd sterlize my bottles in the dishwasher, using no soap. I clean my kegs and lines with PBW, another quick and easy product.

If you shop around, you can get used corney kegs for around $40. O-ring kits are about $3.00. Good idea to replace the rings once a year. CO2 is around $16 nowadays.

Think I'll brew tomorrow. A nice pale ale sounds good. I cook my wort on a large propane burner hooked to a 50 pounder that I use for brewing and/or heating my workshop.

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Last edited by carl762; 01-22-2010 at 02:37 PM.
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post #40 of 50 Old 01-22-2010
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You guys have convinced me to go to kegs. I've had 2 in secondary for over 6 months from putting off bottling.

Also, any risk in leaving a batch in secondary for that long?
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