Back in the day brewing... How did you do it?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Cranky_Joe, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. Cranky_Joe

    Cranky_Joe New Member

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    Hey everyone,
    I'm new here but not to brewing. Been making fermented libations for many years. In my introduction thread Myndflyte asked if there was anything I would go back to doing, and how things have changed. Thinking about it, I recall more and more how easy it is these days (compared to what I used to do).
    Today, most supply shops have a powered grain crusher, so you can crush your adjunct grains right there. Back in the day, I had to crush my own at home. The first few times, I used a peanut butter jar and a cookie sheet. Later, I purchased a granite rolling pin, which worked a lot better. I still have the rolling pin, but I haven't needed it in years.
    So what do you all recall about brewing back in the day? What are the best improvements you've seen? Any horror stories?
    Have a good one.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    I'm talking 25 plus years ago so well back in the day you just took what they gave you and trusted who sold it to you, I bought everything from the feed store and hops were a no name bag of hops and yeast was probably bread yeast and bought a sack of what they called malted grain which who knows if it really was, because we didn't know what we were doing a 50 pound bag of grain which was about $14 only made one beer and about 8 gallons lol
     
  3. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    My first home brewings took place in the early 90's. One thing I remember most? Bleach. Lots of bleach. I was also laughing at a thread just the other night on another forum on the zapap lauter tun. Used one as well. Not pleasurable times lol. The quality I produced back then was usually blah at best. My brother in law and I made some good brews every so often, but most were just not great. At all!
     
  4. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    My back in the day is well yesterdAy it seems but even in the 5 years I've been brewing I've seen big improvements in the quality of products in brew stores more verietys more hops and more selection of malted grains.
     
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  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I brewed a little back in the mid 80's, though I didn't get back to it again until just a couple of years ago. All I remember is buying cans of extract and steeping grains from a specialty store that sold wine- and beer-making stuff, ordering things by mail from catalogs, getting necessary info from books and magazines, making calculations with a pencil and paper.
    I think the internet is a big part of the reason that craft beer as a hobby and then as an industry really took off within the last 20-25 years and ease of access to information and supplies has really elevated the art of homebrewing.
     
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  6. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Gotta agree with technology. Recipe calculators, water calculator, mash calculators and so on. I just started in 2011 but back in the 60s dad did it way different.
     
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  7. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I started brewing in the mid 1990s, and mostly brewed Coopers kits. The beer improved when someone told me to substitute DME for the sugar the kit called for. The biggest advancement for me was discovering online brewing forums. Being able to get advice and instruction from more experienced homebrewers was what got me brewing all grain, and now my beers are as good as anything I can buy in the store.
     
  8. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Won’t be long, they’ll be better! ;)
     
  9. dfj

    dfj Active Member

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    In the 80's used a 2.5 gallon pot on stove. Beer got way better when i stopped buying pre hopped LME kits. Buying LME and dry malt not hopped. Soaking up to a 1.5# of grain.
    First all grain was using a Bruheat ( David Line) plastic electric boiler. Mashed right in the brew heat and spray sparged to a bucket. Had to clean out the bruheat then pour the wort back into the bruheat to boil. Bruheat took a long time to heat to a boil. I was a 8 hour process.
     
  10. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Back in the late 70’s I had access to a good LHBS for equipment like a bucket, carboy, racking cane, etc.
    But everything was extract back then and not as good as these days. I remember ending up with sediment in my bottles and having to pour very carefully.
     
  11. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Are saying you can bottle condition with no sediment now!? If you are, and are willing to share your secret, I am all ears! :)
     
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  12. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    My wife's cousin picked up the homebrewers companion by Charlie papazian, published in 1994, at a yard sale for me. Very interested to see how they did it in ye olden times
     
  13. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Better yet, I keg now and all my pours are clean. No more bottles to mess with. Sure, if I were bottling these days I imagine there could be some sediment. However, I still rack to secondary, cold crash and don’t get too greedy when kegging. If I need a bottle, there’s always a growler or fliptop close by.
     
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  14. Leglesswondercat

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    I was pretty young when I got started, dad said he wouldn't buy me alcohol but he would let me make it. The farmer next door used to tell us when he had picked his quota of what he was allowed to sell on his strawberry fields and let us have at it. Made awful strawberry wine, it was that bad that, in a party of teenagers I was the only one drinking it. Used to make your spine lock up lol. Made one of the prohabition cherry brandy kits which turned out well and hard ginger beer too. Gave me a taste for brewing although I have moved away from hooch these days haha!
     
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  15. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    My first foray into brewing was in late 90s , just kits and a kg of raw sugar fermented in ambient sub tropical temps ....it was nearly always awful !
    I had bottles exploding , fusels and several infected batches but my mates and i still drank it .
    I stopped mixing beer for years and came back to it determined to do it properly this time so now have a bank of fridges , buy malt by the pallet ( group buy ) and hops by the kilo and these days am rather proud to produce a brew of commercial quality
     

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