200 Post For Jay’s Brewing…Actually 201

I thought it was going to be today, but it was yesterday actually – 200 post.  It’s a pretty monumental number for the blog.  We finally did it!  I actually thought that this was going to be the 200th post but then I looked, yesterday’s post was 200 and this is 201.  Story of my life…very non-climatic.


I wanted to give a big thank you for every one that reads this blog and also all the customers that shop with us. Thank you for your support! I’ll be finishing up our current series pretty soon and be moving on to the next which I will keep you in suspense for.  The one hint I do have though is, it’s all about a new product line that we are carrying at the shop – very exciting.






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New Website For Jay’s Brewing!

So this has been an idea that we’ve had for a while, now it’s a reality.  Our website and our blog are now one – amazing!  The purpose of this was simply because it was becoming pain to switch from one to the next.

With this done, we will be moving forward with some other projects that we’ve wanted to do for sometime now and that have been in the pipe line.  All of these were were held up with merging the websites.  So with that said, make sure to like us to join the conversation, like us on facebook and sign up for our e-mail list.

Blog post will now resume to the normal frequency.


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Getting Into Homebrewing – 2cnd Stage – The FAQ

Before I get into any hobby I like to do some research.  Maybe you are the same way, but I hate dropping cash before I know what to expect and what is needed.

When someone is just beginning the hobby of homebrewing there are some common questions that are asked. This post is here to try to get those questions out of the way and get them answered.  Really when you walk away from this post you should feel pretty good about yourself, if you decide that homebrewing is the hobby for you, you’ll be able to walk into a homebrew shop comfortably looking like you know what you’re talking about.

Should I Go 5 Gallons Or Get  A Mr. Beer Kit?

When getting into homebrewing there are many things to consider.  One is, should you go cheap or all in? For me one there is one thing that I would not recommend, that’s getting Mr.Beer.  With Mr. Beer, they kinda set you up for failure.  The reason is this, they don’t have an airlock (I’ll get to explaining what that is later in this series) so bacteria will most likely spoil your beer.  Your beer will turn out rancid unless you get lucky.

When making your first recipe what can you expect as far as flavor?

Honestly, it’s going to be the best beer that you ever had.  Almost all homebrewers will tell you that when they made their first batch of beer, it tasted better than anything that they ever had.  The reason is, you are using the freshest ingredients and making beer in a way that involves the love of the craft, not dollars and cents.  Also you are not putting in preservatives or things to help increase the shelf life.  It’s an all natural process.

What to expect as far as cost?

I’m just going to go off of what we have here at Jay’s Brewing, starter kits normally cost about $115.  That includes everything you need minus the pot, bottle, and a recipe.  Recipes that we sell go for about $20-$65.

If you are looking at  getting into brewing to save you money on beer, I think that your motivation is a bit off or you’ll be in for a rude awakening.  This is just like any other hobby.  The point of a hobby is to do something that you enjoy, not necessarily to save you money.   It’s gonna come out to be about $10-$35 per case of beer.  On the upper end it’s the Belgiums or big IPA’s – more ingredients means more expensive.

If you are looking on a way to save money on beer,  I would just suggest buying cheaper beer at the store.  Home brew can’t really compete with prices of Coors or Budweiser, at the same token it’s on a different scale as far as flavor goes.

How long does it take?

Generally, it will be about 2 hours on the stove and then a few weeks in the fermenter, and a few weeks in the bottle.  At the end it’s about 1 month from start to finish before you can start drinking it.  If you are kegging your beer it’s a bit faster.

Do you need a burner?

If you plan on doing extract with specialty grains then no.  With extract with specialty grains, you only need a pot that is 5 gallons.  You work with 2.5 gallons of wort (beer soup essentially) on the stove at one point in time.  If you are thinking about going into all-grain then yes you do need a burner.  We have a whole series on all-grain brewing if you are interested.  It’s worth reading if you plan on going that route. All-grain has a few extra steps.  But don’t worry, it’s not any harder – just takes longer.

I like Lagers can I do them?

Most homebrewers don’t do lagers at first, they stick with ales.  The reason why is that lagers ferment at lower temps then ales so you need to a different style of fermentation.  Ales ferment at room temp and are more forgiving.  Now don’t worry, there is ale yeast that taste like lagers, but still they would not be a lager, it would be an ale that taste like a lager.

I’ve read some stuff on cleaning, do you need to worry about cleaning?

Yes, brewing is 99% making sure everything in clean and 1% following directions.  But the thing is, today homebrewers have figured out better ways of cleaning.  Now we have no rinse sanitizers that only need 2 min of contact time and then it’s sanitized.  Also there are tricks in speeding up the process with sanitizing bottles quicker

How hard is it to make beer?

It’s not hard at all to make beer.  Honestly today there are so many free recipes  on the internet, there are beer kits (which I have a rant on) and recipe books.  If you can follow instructions you can make beer.  Or as I tell people, “If you can make chili you can make beer”.  It’s a bit more than boiling water, but not by much. So don’t worry.

I’m thinking that I’m going to do this and then start-up a brewery, sound reasonable? 

It may be over reaching at first, but if it makes you feel any better most craft brewers were once homebrewers.  In fact there is a nano that is starting up right next to us.  I personally know the head brewer, he’s been brewing and shopping at Jay’s for quite some time and brewing for even longer.  So it can happen, but it’s more reasonable to fit that into a 10 year plan; not one that is going to happen over night.  Don’t feel alone though, about all homebrewers have toyed with the thought before.

How long does it take to get good at homebrewing?

Most people will start making really good batches off the bat.  Know your process well, understand why you are doing the things that you are doing, and you’ll get good batches.   Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t getting the results that you want, everyone gets into slumps.

Shop online or local?

I must admit, I have some skin in the game so my answer will be skewed to some degree, I would shop local.  Even before I owned a homebrew shop, I shopped local.  The reason is, it’s good to learn how to do this from someone, at a shop you can ask questions, talk to other customers see products, smell products and really understand it all.

It’s a craft, a skill and one that you need some direction from other people.  If you want to get good at it, you have to learn from someone in one way shape or form  (books, blogs, magazines), it’s not learned in a vacuum easily. The easiest/fastest way to get much better is to buy local and experience the full spectrum of the hobby.  The hobby is more than a cake mix box.  With that said, some people don’t have the luxury of having a homebrew shop in driving distance, so the option is obviously a false option and online is the way to go.  But if you can, support your local homebrew shop.

5 Gallon Batches Or Smaller

I would dive right into 5 gallon batches.  It’s a bit of labor and if you are only getting a gallon out of it you’re most likely going to burn out.  5 gallons sounds like a lot, but really 2 cases goes pretty quick once you start giving it away to people.  Also most prepackaged ingredients are designed for 5 gallons, so you don’t really save that much money when you go the smaller route.

I like Stouts, Are Those Easy To Make?

A stout is an ale, they are pretty easy to make.  Darker beers for your first beers are pretty forgiving in general.  There are certain beers that you want to stay away from making at first, stouts generally don’t fit that mold.

What Type Of Beer Should I Make For My First Batch?

There are few beers that I would stay away from for your first beer.  Simple is the way to go.  I would stay away from bigger beers.  What I mean by bigger beers are ones that have a high ABV.  You have to let those sit way to long in order for them to taste right.  I would stay with something in the ball park of 4%-6.5% alcohol.  Also don’t do a lager, those go through a different fermentation process where you need a refrigerator.  I normally recommend people trying a brown ale, pale or wheat for their first ones.  If you hate all of those, then you want to try something that you’ll like, but, the thing about brown ales specifically  is that they have a lot of flavor not crazy hoppy and generally cheap to make.

Do I Need A Carboy?

You don’t NEED one for your first batch, maybe later on. With carboy’s there is plastic and glass carboys, both have there advantages.  We’ll be getting into more technical things in later post.

Twist Off Bottles Or Pop Top Bottles?

You really can’t use twist off bottles, they don’t make the correct seal.  I actually just recently sliced open my finger because someone bottled a beer with a twist off.  When I popped the bottle, the whole neck of the bottle broke off in my hand – fun times.  So don’t use twist off, save your pop-top bottles, you’ll be able to reuse them.

Am I Going To Enjoy This Hobby For Years To Come?

It depends, do you like beer?  If you do the answer is most likely yes.  If you are going to drink beer, might as well make a hobby out of making it too.  I have a ton of customers that use homebrewing as an excuse to meet up with there buds on the weekend.  To me I’ve been doing it for so long, I could never see myself stopping – it’s just a lot of fun and a great way to spend my Sunday’s when the weather gets a bit cold outside.


When you compare the price of this hobby to other ones, this is a relatively cheap hobby to get into.  One mentality to have with it is, if you are going to drink it anyways, might as well make it.  People that like to cook, want to be a creative, want a hobby that you start with some raw ingredient and turn into to something, want to impress friends and family  this is the hobby for you.  I wouldn’t get into the hobby because it’s going save you bundles of money, or that it necessarily going to be a way to make money in the future – it may end up happening but not the motivation I would take.  I personally enjoy this hobby because making beer is something that I can share, and it’s not an inclusive hobby.  I invite friends over, I share with family, and there are always people around.

Let me know if you have any other questions about homebrewing and I’ll be more then happy to answer them!




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New Website For Jay’s Brewing

If you’ve gone to our website  you might have noticed that it has changed a bit.  We are no longer doing online orders and will just be doing sales with our physical shop that is located in Manassas.  I want to personally thank all those that ordered from our website and we appreciated all the business that you gave to us.  The website doesn’t have too much on it right now and it’s a work in progress for building up content on it but it will start getting tightened up this month.


One of our plans is that we will have a downloadable catalog for it with all of the items that we carry in our store.  This will get updated when ever prices change some new items come it.  Beyond that you can contact us by e-mail or by phone if you have any questions on what we carry.


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New Video – Russian Imperial

The guys from Proper Hops came by shop and did a Russian Imperial.  Super nice guys and truly was a treat for me to work hang out with them.

Part 2

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Pictures From New Location

I’ve been taking pictures ever since Jay’s Brewing has moved so that we could look back on the progress of Jay’s Brewing because so many changes have, and will happen.  Quite honestly the design that we have and are still going after has been almost 100% influenced by customer suggestions.  So please keep up with suggestions we really do take them with heavy consideration.   I wanted to put together a quick timeline of Jay’s Brewing from the time we moved from our old shop.

Before I start I need to give a special thanks to my family/friends for helping me out  with the move.  First to my old man for his help with the building and giving ideas for designs.  Then of course to my mother for her, “IF YOU THINK IT YOU CAN DO IT!” cheerleader mentality.  My sister for helping we with the back room and bringing me food when I was here until 2am working on many nights.  Pat my mead making bud and excellent fisherman for helping with the staining of the wood and just about everything that went down at the shop.  Josh my partner in crime and brewing buddy for helping with the late nights.  Also Sean for the incredibly awesome beer Steins from Germany – can’t wait until your state side.  And of course for everyone that offered to help and stopped by to visit when I was moving (specifically I’m talking about customers – you guys rock).  I honestly think that customers of Jay’s Brewing are some of the coolest people out there.  And thank you for all of the excellent ideas!

I tried to pick some monumental pictures for this.

(The Place Being Empty & Looking Out)

(Uhh Yea, I’m Opening When?!”)

(Late Night Working On The Place After Carpet And Painting)

(It’s  Coming Together!)

(It’s The Simple Things In Life…)

(Building The Grain Shelves – The Bell Will Go Up Soon & It Will Be Awesome)

(H.F.H – You’re Amazing”)

(If I’m Not Brewing Or Salsa Dancing I’m Fishing – Killer Stein)

(So Legit)

(This Is What The Place Looked Like After I Just Had Moved From The Old Location.  Panic Is Setting In…)

(Looks Just As Bad In The Light Of The Morning)

(First Shipment Coming In, Better Bottles Off The Yin Yang)

(The Grain Shelves Are On The Way!)

(Josh Trying To Look Busy. And Watch Out For The Wall Of Bottles, You Break You Buy It Josh)

(Believe It Or Not, I Didn’t Need A Ladder For Anything.  Being 6’4 Is Amazing When It Comes To Changing Light Bulbs And Stacking. )

(Front Room Is Starting To Take Form)

(A Mill Would Look Amazing Here.. OH WAIT A MILL IS GOING TO BE THERE!)

( Starting To Really Look More Like A Homebrew Shop)

(Time To Meet Your Maker Grain… The Mill)

(And That’s Why I Needed To Build  A Box.  Didn’t Want Any Missing Fingers.  It’s A Beast.)

(Self Service Is Amazing, Thanks For The Suggestion!)

(Bulk Malt Extract – 180 lbs Each Container. )

(The Fridge Of Heavens Breath – Thanks For The Help With The Art Tina!)


(Getting Those Wine Kits In Slowly & The Place Is Coming Along!)

And that’s where we stand right now! More to come also.  Our webpage is going to get updated soon, we have more in  the store then what is reflected on our website. Don’t worry I didn’t forget about getting WYEAST.   Once I get what is referred to as Molasses Gates our kits will be ready and you will start to see things change on our website and then WYEAST to come.

Also if you are suffering from some nostalgia of our old shop you can check it out in a video that was done there before we moved.

Hope you enjoyed and thank you for telling your friends about Jay’s  Brewing!

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Being Absent

Sorry for the long delay on writing on the blog, we just got internet over the weekend, still trying to get our phone # transferred over.  Things are moving a long though.

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We Have Moved!

Yesterday was our last day in Clifton and now we have moved to to Manassas.   Our new address is 9790 Center St. Manassas VA.  We will be closed Monday and Tuesday but we will be open on Wednesday (Feb 29th 2012).  Wednesday Feb 29th we will be starting our new hours which are 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday.   Google maps kinda worked on the update faster than expected. So I apologize for everyone that made the trip over to the Manassas prematurely.  To check out our hours of operations just check out our website.

I could not end this with out giving a huge special thanks to a few people, Dan T and Bobby in the warehouse.  These are some of the most honest men I have met in my life that have been advisers, a helping hand and most importantly great friends.  My father owned a small business as well and once told me,  it takes people who want to see you succeed and a bit luck to keep a business up.  Meeting these guys checked off those two in the beginning for me, and that’s without a doubt in my mind.

I truly believe that at Jay’s Brewing we have some of the coolest, most interesting, positive, and friendly customers that anyone could have.  I am truly blessed to have met so many genuinely friendly people.  With out you guys, there would be no Jay’s Brewing.  I can not end this without a HUGE thanks also to a surprising amount (any at all truthfully) that offered to help me move supplies. Thank you for all of your support.

So we will be back up and running Feb 29th and shortly afterwards we will be getting some more blogs up with some great content.

Until then.


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A First For Jay’s Brewing

This is a pretty exciting moment for Jay’s Brewing, we got a sign for at our new location!  9 days till opening at our new location, or better put, “It’s the final count down!”

For those that don’t know, our new location address is:

9790 Center St.

Manassas VA 20110

Last week in Clifton, if I don’t see you at the Clifton shop – looking forward to see you at the Manassas location.




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Jay’s Brewing Got A Video!

A few weekends ago grad students came into Jay’s Brewing and wanted to ask some questions about home brewing.  They came up with this video but also check out their website that they put up.  Pretty legit.

Since then we have moved.  Here are some pictures from our new shop!

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