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Old 10-23-2009, 04:00 PM   #1
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Default True Brew Instructions - WTF???

So I'm giving a class on Home Brewing 101. Basically showing 17 people how to brew beer and talk beer and so forth. Nothing REAL technical.

The Liqueur store putting this on sells kits and are donating a kit for me to demo.

A True Brew Nut Brown Ale. Not needed instructions as I've done any brews but I thought I would look at them anyway to see what newbies were being towl.

WHAT THE F*CK??

What horrible instructions in that kit!!!!

Bring water to boil and add grains and steep for 20 minutes!! WHAT???

The 1 oz of hops are added a the 2 min mark - no bittering hops at all.

Pitch yeast when temp gets below 90.

Bottle in 1 week after brewing!

I think these were written by Anheuser Busch to make sure there there are no future home brewers!

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:01 PM   #2
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Those directions are the bare minimum as they hope that the brewer brews more quickly and buys more kits.

Frightening instructions though, huh?

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:04 PM   #3
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You can make beer with those instructions. Not the best though. I think they figure telling someone who has never brewed that they need to make a yeast starter, cool thier wort to 70*F, temperature control, steep at 150, and all of the other stuff we know to do, it might scare them off.

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:07 PM   #4
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The True Brew kits have hopped extract.

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:10 PM   #5
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I actually helped a client of mine make some wine yesterday and the kit came with instructions from True Brew, needless to say they were terrible. All these miscellaneous packets with numbers on them and the instructions just said something like: if your kit contains additives, add them now. I knew we didn't need to add the potassium sorbate, but she might not have known that! It could have been a disaster if I didn't help, but still- the directions were terrible.

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Old 10-23-2009, 05:03 PM   #6
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Yea - I see now it's hopped Extract - I've never dealt with this! O'well, it's the process, not the kit that I'm teaching these guys!

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Old 10-23-2009, 05:11 PM   #7
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I have used True Brew the first two times. To be fair their instructions aren't all that bad. The only main offender is the bottling instruction. Never followed it. For the rest of the instructions I tried to follow to the "T" on my first one (Oktoberfest Ale) and on the second one (Porter) adapted more common practices with boil times and what not.

They say to bring the water to just a boil, turn off, and then steep grains.

Anyway, out of the two I did I love the Porter and tolerate the Oktoberfest ale (though that was my own fault).

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Old 10-23-2009, 05:16 PM   #8
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First thing you do in your class, while you are in front of everyone and openning the box is that you dramatically tear the instruction sheet in many pieces, like Sinead did to the Pope's picture on Saturday Night Live.

The reason is pretty simple, generally speaking kit manufacturers, especially kit an kilo manufacturers, are concerned with selling more and more kits NOT with the brewer making the best beer possible. They know that if they say in the instructions to wait, they may loose some people to hobbies that have more instant gratification.

They also know that the time that a homebrewer will remain buying kits is relatively short...they know that after a few kits, the brewer will either give up, start brewing extract batches from recipes in books and places like this, formulate their own recipes, or go all grain...so they want to sell as many kits as possible to the new brewer before he moves on to bigger and better things.

SO they know that even their beer will taste better if you leave it longer...but they know that in the time you wait you will be reading and learning and be less likely to buy another kit...They can sell three or four kits to you if you follow their directions in the same time frame that listening to us and waiting a month and bottle conditioning for another 3-4 weeks.

But Even Palmer says you should wait with kits...

Quote:
Originally Posted by How To Brew
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.
The thing about it is, [i]at least True Brew adds some flavor/aroma hops to "spice up" the pre-hopped extract.

The two hosts of Australian Craftbrewer Radio (the FIRST beer podcast, with hosts with a combined 60 years of brewing no-how and 10 years on radio or podcast) have a couple of interesting pieces to improve kit beers...

There's this multi-part article (with sublinks in side the article.)

Improving Your Kit

And this...

Quote:


April 22nd, 2007

The guys get “Down and Dirty” for the Kit and Kilo brewer with the simplist yet method of making a kit beer that tastes great. They also taste the underpitched beer experiment, and follow up on a brewers problem with under-atttenuation. Our beer superhero tries to save the love of his life - and Wonder-Mole, while we look into a beer belly experiment. More on how to say beer words, drink driving, beer laws and a quiz question will fill out the program, with a typical Aussie beer tale sung at the end.

Clicky to listen.
http://radio.craftbrewer.org/shows/April2-07.mp3
You have the opportunity to show them how to step it up a notch.

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Old 10-23-2009, 05:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
First thing you do in your class, while you are in front of everyone and openning the box is that you dramatically tear the instruction sheet in many pieces, like Sinead did to the Pope's picture on Saturday Night Live.
thus ends Grinder's homebrew teaching career just like Sinead's singing career!

good luck with the class and let us know how it goes. The local community college teaches homebrewing 101, and I though about taking it just to see how it's taught - but I'd probably be "that guy" that sits in the back and is constantly questioning his process
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:40 PM   #10
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There's value in True Beer style beer making in terms of making it easy to get into the hobby and then gradually add techniques that improve the quality of the beer. I am a big fan of lowering the barrier to entry into this hobby as low as possible because I firmly believe that once people get a taste of making beer successfully, they get sucked in and want to do it better next time. I, for one, welcome having more brewers to talk to.

I think you might want to consider teaching the instructions as printed, but note in the class (not in too much detail-- one doesn't want to confuse new students with too much detail) how there are ways to improve the quality. However, one thing you could do is work with that liquor store to set up a 2nd class where you teach some more advanced brewing to make better tasting beer.


You could end up with a whole series of classes and maybe start charging a little to cover costs.

Brew 101 - True Brew: Beginner's Guide to Making Beer
Brew 150 - Non Hopped Extract Brewing
Brew 175 - Extract brewing and Steeping Grains
Brew 185 - Additives, preservatives and flavor profiles.

Brew 201 series--- All Grain
Brew 300 series--- Advanced bottling, kegging and storage
Brew 400 series--- Sanitation, troubleshooting and problem identification courses.
Brew 500 series--- Recipies, Clones and Competitive brewing

Maybe you could even have a few certificates people could earn by taking certain classes.

I'm just saying --- with some hard work you could end up with a 'University of Beer'.

For the record: where and when is this class. Columbus isn't THAT far away. I might have the time to stop by.

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