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  1. I placed an order for two barrel taps online the last day before staff went on their Easter holidays - admittedly not for a huge amount, but my fermenter is leaking and I need the order urgently. The site took my payment, promised delivery before Easter and confirmed the order before the 4pm cut-off - but where are the goods? Why is this the only site in the world that doesn't show a "Contacts" page? I think I'll cancel the order and get the items elsewhere.

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    Hi Jan,

    I'm sorry to hear that you have experienced this problem, but I have been unable to track any completed or attempted payment from yourself via either Paypal the Cardsave gateway at any time between the 4th April and our leaving for holiday on Monday 10th April.

    Our system only generates a "completed order" reference number (and places the information) within our Order Management system once it receives the Return code authorisation from the payment gateway provider, so we have absolutely no record of any order having been placed, so it would seem that the payment never "completed" at the payment gateway. Do you have the confirmation details from whichever payment processor you used so that we can investigate it further?

    As you know from all your previous orders from our site over the last 5 years, we are really keen to ship items out as quickly as possible and always offer same day shipping if an order is received by 3.30pm during the normal working week, but can confirm that we didn't ship this order as we never actually received it. (Our cut-off time is 3.30pm not 4.00pm as you state - did you perhaps order these from another site?)

    I'm sorry that you had difficulty finding our "contact details", but as a "Real Shop" our contact details and a contact/comments box are incorporated into the comprehensive "How to Find Us" page which is accessible from the link in the "Opening Times" box on our home page. These boxes have limited space for the inclusion of an all encompassing "Title", but I will amend the contents box to make it clearer to other users that this is where to find the contact details.

    Andy

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  2. Dear Andy. Many many thanks for all your help and patience with questions about the brewing process. Your help and advice is always spot on.
    It is really useful to have such a knowledgeable and helpful local supplier and friend. Regards Mark Carrington


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    No Problem Mark, I'm glad to hear that your brew sorted itself out and that I was able to reassure you. Andy

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  3. I must say you have gone the extra mile on this! Your "How to Brew" guide is a very X-lent, informative and well laid/printed out document. The pics are a huge bonus. I was kind of looking for info on what to expect for the gravity readings from start to finish, you have answered this for me plus much more. You folks have made this easy to understand which is important for someone like myself. Thnx Don.

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    Glad you found it helpful Don

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  4. My wife and I visited your showroom yesterday, and we both left saying what a lovely couple you are!! The experience and advice shared with us will prove most valuable with our future brewing. Your prices are absolutely fantastic, as are your range of products. We cant wait to make the journey up from Dagenham to your showroom again!! Thank you both very much.

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    Thank you for your kind words Martin. If you find that you are pressed for time and can't come up to us, you can always order online and we can ship the kits down to you on a Next Working Day delivery.

    Andy

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  5. I have brewed for a good number of years now but still find it enlightening and getting other ideas . With the lowering of blood alcohol levels I am looking for data on recipes for 1 can kits to produce a favourable 2.5 ABV, Good brewing and Cheers . Charlie

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    Hi Charlie,

    As most of the single can kits require you to add an extra kilo of fermentable material (in the form of granulated sugar, brewing sugar or a sugar/spraymalt mixture) in order to achieve a start gravity of around 1040-1042, it is perfectly possible to ferment one on its, adding a lower amount of additional sugar, or even none at all, if you want a lower gravity beer.

    Unless you are using the sugar/spraymalt mix, the additional sugar will not add any extra body of flavour to the beer, so it should be possible to retain the standard flavour of any beer kit and just accept the lower alcohol content.

    I would suggest aiming for a start gravity somewhere in the region of 1026-1028 and aim for a finishing gravity of around 1006. This can either be achieved by making up the kit to the full 23ltr volume and only adding sufficient sugar to get to the start gravity, or by adding no sugar and only adding sufficient water until you achieve the required gravity. The reduced water method is more likely to produce a richer flavour.

    You may need to experiment a few times to work out where your finish gravity is going to end up (there may be a higher proportion of non-fermentable sugars present in the wort than would be present if you were making the kit up as per the manufacturers instructions) and then adjust your method in order to get a start gravity that is about 20 gravity points higher than the finishing gravity.

    ie, if you find your finish gravity is coming out at 1006, then your start gravity will need to be around 1026-1028, whereas if your finish gravity is 1010, you will need to make the start gravity around 1030-1032

    Hope this helps

    Andy

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  6. Always a pleasure buying from CHS. Very helpful and informative and honest! Nice testing the brews.

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  7. Always a very helpful and knowledgeable service.
    Thank you!

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  8. I've visited your shop several times and always found great advice and a friendly atmosphere. I encourage all my brewing friends to visit your shop whenever they get a chance. I have been looking over your website and enjoyed the info on Beer brewing using liquid malt extract. can I purchase all the ingredients at your shop or online?

    Thanks again
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    Hi Peter.

    All of the ingredients for Malt Extract brewing are available both online (in the Ingredients section of the website) and in store.

    You will need a recipe, so unless you have one in mind, it might be worth having a look at Graham Wheeler's book "Brew Your Own British Real Ale" which is in the Equipment section of the website, which, in addition to giving advice on how to brew, provides around 100 recipes designed to match well known commercial beers. I've brewed a scarily large number of them (both as Grain and Malt Extract) and have enjoyed them all.

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  9. Always a pleasure to shop here. Very helpful, friendly staff that enjoy helping their customers to get the most out of their hobby. A refreshing change from the normal 'push as much stock as you can' attitude of other stores. Andy has a wealth of experience which has helped me out on more than one occasion. If you live nearby, you are very lucky, if you are visiting the area, take time to make a visit; you'll be glad you did!

    Many thanks for ensuring a very clean premises and pleasant shopping experience. Long may you prosper!

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    Thank you for your kind comments Alastair.

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  10. I have yet to order from Andy using the online site, but every time I have been to his store I have been provided with excellent customer service and sound advice from an experienced "home brewer". I will only be using Colchester homebrew in future. Wilkinson's might be marginally cheaper but you do not get to draw on a vast pool of experience. Keep up the good work!

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    Thank you for your kind words. We always try to offer the sort of service that we would want to receive if we were the customer.

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  11. Is their any reason why you don't stock Wyeast?
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    Of the four main UK distributors/wholesalers to the homebrew trade, only Brupak ever stocked liquid yeasts. About nine months ago, they decided to reduce their range due to the short shelf life, very specific storage conditions and high wastage rates brought on by having to wide a range. As a result, they now only regularly hold around 20 types, so many of the more esoteric ones are not readily available.

    We don’t hold them because every time we get them in other than as a “special order”, they have to be held in the fridge (so are thus not on display and visible to the shop customers), they are 3-5 times the price of dried yeast strains, they have a relatively short shelf life and we often end up wasting them.

    There are plenty of people that say that the cost can be justified provided you “harvest” them and re-use them, but unless you are making the same beer time and time again and want consistency of flavour, it’s an expensive way of brewing.

    If you have a specific variety that you are looking for (and for which there isn’t a suitable dried yeast alternative), I can always add it on to our next Brupak order if it is one of the ones they stock.

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  12. Thank you. My wife lost the brewing instructions and your page was a great help. Have a good day. Buzz

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  13. Could you please tell me if there are any locally grown malts available and which is the best?
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    As far as I am aware, whilst the malsters may keep traceable supply records for their own purposes, they are more interested in maintaining consistent quality supplies to their customers and will generally combine grain from several sources within the malting bed.

    I suspect that if you were to contact the technical team at Muntons (Stowmarket) who produce most of the grain I stock (and most of the grain supplied to the homebrew trade) or any of Fawcetts of Castleford, Warminster Malt or Bairds Malt (Maldon) who generally supply to large breweries, micro breweries, members of the Craft Brewing Association and several of the smaller “Home/Internet” based grain retailers, you may be able to discover whether they can supply precise details of which grain goes into which 25kg sack via their batch/production codes.

    As for “which is best”, then it depends on what you are brewing. Many of the recipes in the commonest UK brewing books suggest Pale Maris Otter as the best base malt for English Ales and Golden Ales (though Extra Pale Maris Otter is preferred if you want a really pale colour), but varieties called Halcyon, Optic, Golden Promise and Pearl are also available. Most share the same basic potential extract rates and will thus produce similar strength beers, though I am led to believe that each has a slightly different flavour profile. I have only breed using Maris Otter and have had consistently good, malty results from it.

    If you are making Lager or Pilsner, then you would need a specific Lager or Pilsner Malt and may have to treat it differently during the mashing stage depending upon whether it originates from England (which will tend to have low nitrogen content) or Europe (which tends to have higher nitrogen content and need “step mashing”/”decoction mashing” in order to prevent the formation of hazes).

    If you want to know about the various properties of different malts, I would suggest reading Graham Wheeler’s books “Brew Your Own British Real Ale” (a book containing simplified explanations followed by recipes for 100+ named popular commercial British Real Ales) or his CAMRA sponsored “How to Brew” which has a much fuller explanation of grains and processes and then contains recipes of his own that match most of the standard commercial beer styles.

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  14. Why don't you start teaching classes for all grain brewing? Charge about £30 per course I would be interested and I know others too that would be.
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    Hi Craig,

    I did, at one point, consider running such courses but the Health and Safety (and insurance) implications of having upwards of 25 ltrs of boiling liquid near members of the public made me reconsider. The only safe way to do it would be to run it on a Sunday but as we run the shop 6 days a week as it is, the thought of then giving up our one day off a week to run brewing courses doesn't really fill me with joy.

    If you are interested in All Grain Brewing, it may be worth tracking down your local branch of the "Craft Brewing Association" and see if any of the members are interested in allowing you join them on one of their personal brewing days.

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  15. I really enjoyed reading the review and well done young jo for helping ya dad and this read was very helpful as some of my beer kits have been failing but I have put it down to adding yeast at wrong temp and ambient temp was changing to rapidly other than that I cured temp drop by rapping a quilt around ferm bucket problem solved and I have been more careful when adding yeast all good now
    tho yum yum hick up!
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    Glad you found it helpful Craig

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  16. I would just like to say what a nice shop Colchester
    home brew is,fantastic service,placed an order thursday afternoon.delivered 9.30am next day,and they are very helpful on the telephone,and you cant touch them for prices,what you see is what you pay unlike other sites when you go to check out vat is added, will use Colchester home brew from now on
    well done andy and sam
    regards fred

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  17. Very helpful when I was in to pick up my King Keg. They always seem to give very good Advice. I one hundred percent recommend this shop to the novice or advanced home brewer. 10/10

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  18. Thanks to Andy for all his advice to a novice homebrewer. Andy gave great perspective on brewing and is clearly knowledgeable about his craft. Also an excellent and informative website, much better than many others. Highly recommended.

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    Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad that found the advice useful.

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  19. Never heard of the 'two tin method' before but will be trying it very soon! Thanks.

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  20. Excellent home brew shop in Colchester. I will be getting my cider yeast and advice from here from now.

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  21. Goods ordered over the weekend were shipped Monday and arrived safely on Tuesday.

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  22. Sorry not paying £6.50 postage for an inlet rubber and 2 packs of crown caps. Thanks but no thanks. I can get to St Leonards (my nearest brew shop) and back (25 miles) in my camper van for £7.00
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    Hi Trevor. If you choose the 1st Class postage option rather than the Next Day Courier option, the carriage charge is £3.29. Unfortunately, because of the thickness of the crown cap bags, it would have to travel as a "Packet" rather than a "Large Letter" in order to meet the Royal Mail's size guidelines.

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  23. Great seller! All fine fast dispatch. 1000% recomended! thx

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  24. These are some of the reviews we have received via Google over the last 3 years:

    • 5 / 5
    • Absolutely first class, no hassle, delivery superquick, everything I wanted
    By Shopper - Jul 21, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Good service, prompt delivery.
    By GrahamT - Jan 7, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Dear Colchester Brewing,
    Thanks for the first rate service and excellent technical advice on cider brewing. This may have saved life and limb quite literally.
    Best wishes,
    Joe

    PS. The actual Google Checkout online system is pretty limited! If there was a way around this, I would have preferred it! I changed the option for a cheaper delivery and the order didn't update automatically, and there was no way to refresh it! For this reason I would have been charged an extra fiver on a £10 order. I rang and Colchester brewing sorted it out immediately.
    By Shopper - Oct 24, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 1 / 5
    Although they were prompt; they used an entirely inappropriate courier, which cost me almost as much as the goods themselves. Their own website says that they will use Royal Mail for orders of less than a certain weight, and this was, in fact, the despatch method I chose. However, they overrode my choice, without consulting me. I contacted them by e-mail shortly after the order arrived; but they have yet to reply, almost a week later. I will not use them again.
    By Shopper - Aug 1, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    *This customer actually selected the default carriage option (courier) rather than postage when placing their order. The carriage charge is displayed prior to completion of the checkout process and opportunity is provided to cancel the order if the postage is too high. They did not query this shipping method when they received the confirmation email, nor did they question it when we sent the “Despatched” email. They did not contact us on receipt of the goods as this review states, either by email, phone or via the contact form on our website and instead simply posted this review on the Google review section.

    • 5 / 5
    Excellent service!! Even though I ordered in the pre-Christmas rush, the brewing kit arrived within a couple of days. The kit itself is great and refers to instruction videos on the website to help beginners. I would definitely use this company again.
    By Shopper - Dec 30, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Excellent service, I always use Colchester Homebrew Supplies Ltd for all my home brew supplies, and because the site, uses Google checkout which I find safe and a secure payment system.
    By Paul - Nov 1, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Smooth payment process and very quick service, ordered at 4pm, item was dispatch the same day and arrived the next! By Ian - Nov 9, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    quick delivery, good price
    By Nick - Jun 30, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    the best ever traders
    By Shopper - Oct 28, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    A great service and item arrived the next day even though I did not order it till about 3 p.m. the day before. Amazing service - Thank you
    By Shopper - Apr 9, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Great service, very friendly. Even contacted me to make sure that my (somewhat illogical) shipping decision was correct- and changed it with no hassle what so ever. I will definitely continue to buy from this seller.
    By Kira - Nov 18, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    I have no hesitation buying from this seller. They have always had fast deliveries, as well as a customer service second to none.
    By DuncanH - Feb 13, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Easy to use website, ordering system, descriptions well phrased. Goods arrived next day as described, no problems at all. Excellent service.
    By Shopper - Nov 12, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Very good. Very quick delivery. :)
    By LisaD - Jul 15, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Always excellence
    By DuncanH - Feb 13, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Fast delivery. Keen pricing. Good range. Will definitely these folk again.
    By Pete - Jun 5, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Friendly and efficient!
    By William - Apr 27, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Fantastic delivery. I would definitely buy from them again.
    By Chris - Apr 29, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Very Good I have used them for the past 2 years and I've had excellent service,good products, excellent delivery times,An excellent all rounder.
    By Paul - Sep 21, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Everything was so simple, order placed and paid, advised that order was in process, then advised that order was despatched and when to expect it. Order arrived as stated, and the whole thing took 3 days.
    By Shopper - Nov 24, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Fine as usual
    By JohnB - Apr 18, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Very quick delivery (the next day) and good prices as well as a good range of products. Free delivery would have been nice, but delivery costs were quite reasonable anyway.
    By AO - Aug 2, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Very good experience
    By auldapd - Oct 15, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    very good seller quick delivery no problems
    By Shopper - Oct 9, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Excellent service ! I ordered the product at 4.30 in the afternoon, the parcel was on my doorstep the following morning! The item I ordered was exactly as described on the website.
    I would certainly recommend Colchester Homebrew Supplies to anyone wanting speedy service and a good product. And, I will definitely order from them again in the future
    By Shopper - Jun 23, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Product as described and made it next day in the post. Quick work.
    By dcmulford - Sep 18, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Many thanks!
    By Chris H - Sep 6, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This store is very good for shopping for wine making products I personally recommend this company.
    By Belonga Mick - Feb 1, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Hassle free, no problem
    By AndrewH - Jun 7, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Quick delivery good seller would buy again
    By Shopper - Oct 17, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Very Good
    By Shopper - Oct 10, 2009 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Shopper - Jun 9, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    excellent very quick delivery. items were well packed I will use these again
    By Shopper - Sep 19, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Very good service, items arrived very quickly
    By LarsJ - Jan 26, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5 excellent company super fast delivery excellent coms
    By tonyj - Nov 9, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5 This is a 5-star review.
    By alanc - Jun 19, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5 This is a 5-star review.
    By DuncanH - Jan 21, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews


    • 5 / 5 This is a 5-star review.
    By MarkH - Oct 26, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews
    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By SamuelC - Jun 20, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By MartynP - Mar 4, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 4 / 5 This is a 4-star review.
    By Elliott - Oct 25, 2009 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Paul - Apr 13, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Mikey - Nov 29, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By PatrickR - Jul 21, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Shopper - Mar 30, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Shopper - Oct 7, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Tom - Feb 3, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Shopper - Jan 3, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Shopper - Jul 29, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Shopper - Oct 22, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Chris H - Feb 28, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Dave - Nov 8, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By MarkH - Nov 3, 2010 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Pete - Aug 25, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Shopper - Jul 20, 2012 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By Paul - Jul 31, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    This is a 5-star review.
    By BryanY - May 28, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

    • 5 / 5
    Excellent !!
    By NenadU - May 26, 2011 - Google Checkout Reviews

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