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T40ORA

Original Poster:

4,728 posts

107 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
...something that has increasingly been on my mind for a fair while now.

I've searched the web somewhat for resources that will help me make an informed choice, and there are a fair few hits. But some of the main guides seem to be North American and I'm guessing that both health and safety issues and the market are very different out there.

Anyone got any top-tip sites/guides/handbooks on starting a microbrewery?

TIA...

AndyAudi

1,837 posts

110 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
OZ and James series on Great British Drinks visited a couple

skoff

1,298 posts

122 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
There are usually job lots of microbrewery equipment offered for sale in the CAMRA members magazine. They seem to start from £1500 and go up. I reckon a CAMRA meeting might be a good place to start for some contacts.

As a very keen home brewer (from scratch I might add, none of this 'kits from Boots' nonsense), I'd love to do this as a day job, though I am sure running it as a commercial reality is far less fun than one would imagine...

T40ORA

Original Poster:

4,728 posts

107 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
Skoff, you're one step ahead of me as I've only ever brewed with my dear ol' Dad - many, many years ago. But I love the stuff, and get annoyed at both beer that I don't like and poor quality beer.

So I intend to start with homebrewing to get some beer to my taste (and to that of friends, collegues etc) then think about it as a part-time moving to full time career.

I'm a member of CAMRA so a local meet might be a good idea. I was also thinking of seeing if I can get some pointers from an exsiting micro, but I'm not sure how competitive the industry is, despite all the SIBA stuff.

BTW Any good resource you can point me at for starting the from-scratch home brew would be appreciated.

And yes, it would probably be more like hard work than fun but I need to look into it....

CR0X

1,704 posts

87 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
chaps, if you need glass bottles and crowns, drop me a PM, happy to offer some preferential rates.
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skoff

1,298 posts

122 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
Well, I got most of my gear from:
http://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/

But there are plenty of online places to buy the gear from - take your pick.

If you haven't done a brew on your own before, let alone a 'from scratch' brew before, it's a reasonable outlay for the gear (well a couple of hundred), so if on a budget I'd advise doing one of the quality kits first, just to get your head around it - the Woodfordes ones are a great way to start, are all malt, and give a pretty good result, plus kit investment is minimal to start with, so risk free.

I started from scratch brewing by following the advice in the CAMRA Guide to homebrewing, it gives plenty of advice on kit required, how to use it, and some really good recipes, I think it's about £10 on Amazon, though as a CAMRA member you might get a discount. It also goes into some detail about the chemistry of it all, and things like what hop has what quality which is invaluable advice when you start making up your own recipes / copying your favourite commercial beer.

I have considered a Brewlabs course, which might be of real use if you want to go into it commercially, and I still might treat myself one day.

I have found that the worst bit about homebrew beer is the relentless cleaning regime. I gave up using bottles ages ago as it takes so much effort to sterilise them all. It looks cool and professional, but it's a lot of effort for 5/10 gallons of beer which will get drunk really quickly if you are sharing with friends and family. Though it is nice to find a couple of bottles of a brew you did a year ago hiding away somewhere smile

The second worst bit is the patience required, just because a beer is 'ready' doesn't mean it's reached it's full potential, but the temptation to drink it is hard to resist.

Keep me in mind if you ever need a brew partner for your microbrewery...


skoff

1,298 posts

122 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
CR0X said:
chaps, if you need glass bottles and crowns, drop me a PM, happy to offer some preferential rates.
Cheers CR0X, but if I get any more homebrew kit my wife will bury me under the patio...

(Thread bookmarked for future reference)

CR0X

1,704 posts

87 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
I was in NZ last week at their big beer festival. All craft brewing and was an eye opener.

There were some mighty fine beers on offer. Including one Rye Beer (40% rye) which was delightful

casbar

907 posts

103 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
I started doing All grain Brewing about 4 months ago. Its a steep learning curve. The kit is quite expensive, depending on what you buy/make. Try this forum, its a great font of knowledge

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/index.php

There are loads of places to buy your ingrediants from, but the difficult bit is sourcing ingrediants cheeply, as this obvioulsy effects your pint price directly.

T40ORA

Original Poster:

4,728 posts

107 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
Thanks all! Will process this stuff....

bloater27

76 posts

89 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
With the area of the country your in (which just happens to be the same as me) theres a selection of decent micro breweries.
most are fairly helpful and I'd imagine would be more than willing to offer you advice.
I've just helped run a charity beer festival so have visited a fair few micro's lately, and they do differ greatly in size and quality.
Dorset brewing company are a good example of a micro that is doing well
sherborne and isle of purbeck pubs that have started brewing there own beer
art brew are the new kids on the block

T40ORA

Original Poster:

4,728 posts

107 months

[news] 
Tuesday 8th September 2009 quote quote all
Thanks bloater. I'm hoping to visit Bowmans in Hants for some advice next month; I'd like to think that all the craft brewers are supportive of each other. Good old quality spheres principle....

bloater27

76 posts

89 months

[news] 
Wednesday 9th September 2009 quote quote all
Bowman's are an excellent bunch, spent a fair bit of time chatting to them recently, although not as much time as I did trying to find the place

T40ORA

Original Poster:

4,728 posts

107 months

[news] 
Wednesday 9th September 2009 quote quote all
bloater27 said:
Bowman's are an excellent bunch, spent a fair bit of time chatting to them recently, although not as much time as I did trying to find the place
Ah. I hope to be going with a publican who knows them well. And has offered to drive, so that I can do some, ermm, market research. Despite the fact I've tried and enjoyed all of their beers I find I have to accept the offer biggrin

stepej

328 posts

128 months

[news] 
Thursday 10th September 2009 quote quote all
Friends of mine are in the process of setting one up.

They've just done a course run by David Porter who has set up many micro-breweries his website is Here Plenty of tips & advice there

There was also an article in today's Yorkshire Post about Micro-breweries and the 71 that have started up in the last year Here it is

Good luck.... I find the problem with a lot of micro-breweries is that they have trouble brewing it so that is doesn't taste of homebrew!!

casbar

907 posts

103 months

[news] 
Thursday 10th September 2009 quote quote all
stepej said:
Good luck.... I find the problem with a lot of micro-breweries is that they have trouble brewing it so that is doesn't taste of homebrew!!
I think a lot of that is down to perception. There are many home brewers who win prizes at CAMRA real ale festivals, and I have read reports which suggest the beer home brewers are making is in fact superior to the main brewery stuff. If of course you are used to drinking keg bitter then real ale won't be your choice op tipple smile

stepej

328 posts

128 months

[news] 
Saturday 12th September 2009 quote quote all
casbar said:
stepej said:
Good luck.... I find the problem with a lot of micro-breweries is that they have trouble brewing it so that is doesn't taste of homebrew!!
I think a lot of that is down to perception. There are many home brewers who win prizes at CAMRA real ale festivals, and I have read reports which suggest the beer home brewers are making is in fact superior to the main brewery stuff. If of course you are used to drinking keg bitter then real ale won't be your choice op tipple smile
Keg bitter? nono How very dare you sir smile
I can't remember the last time I had a pint of the stuff....

Not sure it's down to perception though.... It either tastes like homebrew or it doesn't. I suppose there are good micro-brewers and bad ones and in West Yorkshire we've got more than our fair share of good ones. For that I am thankful.

CAMRA do many good things but I don't take too much notice of their awards, especially those given at a local level.

I thought that The Great British London Beer Festival was very good this year - I just wish it could be moved around the country to give those who don't fancy the trek to London a chance to sample real ale at such a large event.

T40ORA

Original Poster:

4,728 posts

107 months

[news] 
Saturday 12th September 2009 quote quote all
Disagree about the GBBF. It should be centralised so that the logistics can be planned with a degree of certainty, and forecasts can be based on a stable set of metrics.

However, additional events as large would be nice. The Peterborogh one, which I haven't managed to attend, is supposed to be a stonking event.

The thing about micro brew beers is that if they taste like homebrew, they don't survive. Natural selection. I hope that if and when I start I will be a survivor!

thegavster

6,032 posts

150 months

[news] 
Sunday 13th September 2009 quote quote all
The Beer Oracle (well, that's what we dubbed him) at my brewing shop nearby is an awesome guy. We went in there earlier in the year to look at some stuff to start brewing with, what we didn't expect was a 45 minute lecture on the history of beer, the intrcacies of brewing and how to go about getting the best results first off. His best bit of advice to us was that "the beer wants to be made, don't worry if things don't quite go to plan, the beer will find the way" laugh.

He also runs a course every few months called 'practical mashing' which might be a good course for you to look at doing, especially if there's a similar one local to you.

http://www.cheerswinemakingandbrewing.co.uk/evmash...

Gravy

1,927 posts

122 months

[news] 
Monday 14th September 2009 quote quote all
skoff said:
Well, I got most of my gear from:
http://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/

But there are plenty of online places to buy the gear from - take your pick.

If you haven't done a brew on your own before, let alone a 'from scratch' brew before, it's a reasonable outlay for the gear (well a couple of hundred), so if on a budget I'd advise doing one of the quality kits first, just to get your head around it - the Woodfordes ones are a great way to start, are all malt, and give a pretty good result, plus kit investment is minimal to start with, so risk free.

I started from scratch brewing by following the advice in the CAMRA Guide to homebrewing, it gives plenty of advice on kit required, how to use it, and some really good recipes, I think it's about £10 on Amazon, though as a CAMRA member you might get a discount. It also goes into some detail about the chemistry of it all, and things like what hop has what quality which is invaluable advice when you start making up your own recipes / copying your favourite commercial beer.

I have considered a Brewlabs course, which might be of real use if you want to go into it commercially, and I still might treat myself one day.

I have found that the worst bit about homebrew beer is the relentless cleaning regime. I gave up using bottles ages ago as it takes so much effort to sterilise them all. It looks cool and professional, but it's a lot of effort for 5/10 gallons of beer which will get drunk really quickly if you are sharing with friends and family. Though it is nice to find a couple of bottles of a brew you did a year ago hiding away somewhere smile

The second worst bit is the patience required, just because a beer is 'ready' doesn't mean it's reached it's full potential, but the temptation to drink it is hard to resist.

Keep me in mind if you ever need a brew partner for your microbrewery...
My housemates and I did exactly as you say in our final year at uni with kit and advice from The Home Brew Shop. The cleaning is relentless but as we had unburstable enthusiasm to make our own brew it didn't really matter and we were desperate not to let beer fly take hold on our first effort.

Despite all precautions we made 2 mistakes. We added 6x too much yeast and I came back to a bedroom carpet with bubbling hops all over it after one lecture......
Neither detracted from a crakcing good first effort and there is nothing like the pride of supping your first brew with your mates after the hours of time and patience that went into making it!
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