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PRIVET! (Howdy) from Ukraine

Tnic

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Hi all,

I a US expat living in Ukraine for a while and got bit by the brewing bug recently.  I've been lurking about the forums and Googling brewing info and watching scores of Tube vids.

I WILL have some challenges here.  Searching for ingredients (in Ukraine) on the web is a real crap shoot (with more crap than I can shoot).

With rec hobbies NOT being anything even close to a priority (surviving is #1 here) I'll be forced to learn the ropes by brewing all grain brew.  IF I can find the ingredients.  Pretty sure barley and wheat are available, but not sure if I can find hops.  Suggestions for subs would be appreciated.

The equipment I can pull together though I may have to improvise quite a bit.  I've looked in every hardware shop I see when we're (my hot blond bride & me) walking, but have yet to see copper tubing to make a chiller.  1.5 L bottles (sanitized of course) of ice may have to do that job.  We have two 5 gallon(ish) plastic CBs all ready for fermenting tanks and a large boiling pot is easy enough.  I even found some cool 0.5 L flip tops for bottles I want to use.  Plastic tubing is readily available (used for potable water) for transferring and a make shift airlock.  A cooler and the tubing cam be had for a mash tun also.  Finding a hydrometer (I have 2 of them in Maine, of course), may be a challenge, but I can work around that.

Anyway, looking forward to learning all I can here and hopefully, SOON to start a batch of pivo (Russian for beer).
 

SharpsRifle

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Well good luck with your brewing over there.
I'm sure you can find brewing grains of some sort there.  Grain is pretty much universal.
The problem being that if you can't find grain sold for brewing, you may have to learn to malt and roast grains yourself.

As for plants to use instead of hops, I have no idea of what's available there but the internet is full of stuff.  I know that throughout history there have been quite a few plants used.  You are looking for bitter to offset the sweet so if you can't find something that has a known history, use your imagination.

Do you have spruce trees?  If so, the tender bright green new growth in the spring was used in the past and it's something that I've been meaning to harvest and try.
There are bunches of alternatives out there.  Your beer will certainly taste different than if you use hops, but it can be great.
Logging onto here is a good start.  There are other brewing boards also.  You should check several of them out and draw on the knowledge of all the brewers out there.

Good luck!

David
 

Tnic

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Thanks David!

Yes, malting is a skill I'm sure I'll have to learn as is everything to do with brewing as I'm learning its simply not done here.  Strange really since everyone's babushka (granny) brews home vodka (samogon) and wine from every fruit/berry you can imagine.

I found a hops site here, but need to learn how to navigate it to figure out how to buy some.  Translator programs only take you so far and are not that accurate so...
I seem to recall chamomile mentioned as a hops sub (or adjunct?), but will do some research on that as well.

My other concern is yeast.  Brewer's yeast may not be possible here and I might be forced to use baking yeast instead.


I'll keep reading and watching and soaking up all the sudsy knowledge I can find as I look at the procurement side of things here. 

Any recommendations on other boards?

Tim
 
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