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Old 08-31-2006, 03:22 AM   #1
mojopt
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Default Really confused

Hi all. Newby here.

Considering making some beer. Any advice would be appreciated. At this point in time I am becoming confused by such items as kits that let you merely boil some wort, pour it in a plastic keg, let it set for about aweek, bottle it, put it in the fridge and your drink.

I cook as a hobby. I am of the opinion that if I go this route I will be limited to beers offered the manufacturer. I like to experiment.

Then I research kits that I would call more traditional. The carboy, specific gravity, etc. I believe these kits would give me more flexibility.

Then again, I don't know how involved I will care to get, Would a plastic keg kit be a smart move to see if I really am interested, or will my results not be a true representation of a good home brew and turn me off?

Best regards...

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Old 08-31-2006, 03:29 AM   #2
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Well, I'd make an educated guess to determine if this is something you'd like. If you like cooking and you like craft beer, it seems like a pretty good bet that you'll like brewing.

I'd suggest that you buy a decent equip kit from Midwest or Northern Brewer and give it a shot. If you HATE it, you can sell it on ebay and recoup most of your costs.

Also, read Palmer's online book. Version 1 is free online and you can get the 3rd edition from Amazon for about 15 bucks if you like it.

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Old 08-31-2006, 03:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojopt
Hi all. Newby here.

Considering making some beer. Any advice would be appreciated. At this point in time I am becoming confused by such items as kits that let you merely boil some wort, pour it in a plastic keg, let it set for about aweek, bottle it, put it in the fridge and your drink.

I cook as a hobby. I am of the opinion that if I go this route I will be limited to beers offered the manufacturer. I like to experiment.

Then I research kits that I would call more traditional. The carboy, specific gravity, etc. I believe these kits would give me more flexibility.

Then again, I don't know how involved I will care to get, Would a plastic keg kit be a smart move to see if I really am interested, or will my results not be a true representation of a good home brew and turn me off?

Best regards...

First and foremost, welcome. You'll find the people here, not only amazingly friendly, but more importantly knowledgeable about this hobby/sport/way of life...

Reading your post, you like to experiment. Cool. But reading the rest to me anyway, (IMHO) do you like beer? And what types? To me, THAT will determine how far you get into this...

In reality you can go the small Mr. Beer kit route and be happy, or, stick with extracts, or, go all grain, and put the larger brewers to shame. Regardless as long as YOU like what YOU create, that's all that matters...

In the end, it's really all in what YOU want to do....

my .02

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Last edited by Ize; 08-31-2006 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:37 AM   #4
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Kits like Mr. Beer or the Beermaster 2000 (I think that's the name) won't limit you necessarily to their proprietary kits, but they will limit you in their versatility, quality of components, and batch size (3 gallons give or take a little).

Kits that come with 6.5 gallon buckets, some hose and siphoning equipment, a bottle capper, and a hydrometer will allow you some more flexibility with a more "standard" homebrew batch size without breaking the bank. You can always add equipment later as you learn more how you like to do your brewing.

There are more deluxe kits out there with kegging equipment, glass carboys, and other gadgets, but they are much more expensive, and you really don't NEED them to brew. As long as you have a big pot (at least 3 gallons) and a closed container with a means of expelling gas buildup (an airlock), you can brew almost any beer you can imagine (with some creativity of course). $69 to $100 is about right for a basic setup - try it for a while, add bits and pieces as you see fit, and happy brewing!

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Old 08-31-2006, 07:03 AM   #5
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Previous posts ask good questions. Once you start brewing, you can get great info here. However, you need to start. Buy a book. Charlie Papazian's "Joy of Homebrewing" is the homebrewer's bible. There are other great books out there also. Alot of homebrewers are stuck on making "authentic" brews. I, like you, who love to cook, love to experiment. I just tasted my second batch of smoked pepper ale (the first was awesome), which is still "green", and just brewed a cherry chocolate ale. Start small, figure out what works for you, and who knows, a pumpkin ale, a spicy winter warmer, or something no one has tried before. But don't be scared. Making beer is easy, with a little education.

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Old 08-31-2006, 12:47 PM   #6
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mojopt:

I just started brewing in July, first time ever. Since then, I've brewed 50 gallons of beer. I'm constantly surprised by the quality of beers that come from someone who, less than two months ago, had no idea in the world what "racking" or "pitching" meant (well, I did: they meant, to put stuff on a rack, and to throw a baseball towards home from the mound ) The crazy thing is, through 10 batches of beer, I've yet to have one that I didn't like. I love the freedom and the chance to be creative. Now, as for someone who is just starting out, I think the following things are helpful:

  • Buy Charlie Papazian's book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I'm sure you can get it from half.com; if not, Amazon has it for low-teens. Read the beginners section of that book before you order equipment and ingredients.
  • Buy a complete equipment starter kit. You can even get an upgraded kit if you have the money. I am lucky; I have a friend whose been brewing for many years, so I've been able to hit him up for whatever I didn't have. But either way, Austin Homebrew Supply is quick to ship, and their selection is great.
  • Instead of starting out with kits that limit your creativity, go online to the beer recipator or use Papazian's recipes, and buy the all the ingredients you need. You can doctor those recipes as you see fit. The very first beer I ever brewed was a Papazian recipe for pale ale, but I added fresh basil from my garden, and it turned out to be a truly amazing beer. I've never bought a kit, but that might just be my creative stubbornness.
  • As Papazian will tell you in his book, Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew. I am living proof that you can make excellent brew on the very first try. It's not as difficult as you may think.
  • Lastly, and Papazian will drill this into your head, as will everyone else, but, never forget it: sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Keep it clean, keep it sanitized, keep it sealed. Your biggest enemy in brewing are the creepy-crawlies that you can't see without a microscope, but are everywhere.
  • Last but not least, good luck.
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ize
First and foremost, welcome. You'll find the people here, not only amazingly friendly, but more importantly knowledgeable about this hobby/sport/way of life...Ize
Speak for yourself... I'm incredibly grumpy, ignorant of brewing, and about as handy as a birthmark.

My suggestion is to buy an equipment kit from Midwest or some other repuatable homebrew supply place. It provides all the equipment you need to produce great homebrew, and the components can be easily integrated into a larger system if you decide to stick with it and expand. The expendature isn't too bad when you consider what some people spend on their hobbies. (and you get to drink the results!)

Good luck and welcome to the madness.

(Ok, maybe I'm not so grumpy.)
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:39 PM   #8
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You will find a range of opinions. I wouldn't buy one of the "Mr. Beer" setups, the beer they make is ok, but just ok. Get a simple starter's kit from one of the companies mentioned. Most people should do a few kit beers before they start working from recipes, but since your other hobby is cooking you are likely to succeed with something more complicated first try.

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Old 08-31-2006, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andre the giant
Speak for yourself... I'm incredibly grumpy, ignorant of brewing, and about as handy as a birthmark.

Yeah RIGHT, I've seen pictures of your basement! Better than I could have done that's for sure! Oops... (now back to your regularly scheduled thread)

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Old 08-31-2006, 05:29 PM   #10
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And get the free DVD of how to brew from midwest supplies when you make your order! You can read and read, but sometimes unless someone shows you the basics you'll never get it.

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