I am brand new to the hobby. I have read a couple of books (not all the way through since they got pretty heavy into it). I have my first batch in secondary fermentation. I am ready to start another batch next weekend and would like to know what the next step is in perfecting this art.
My first batch was kept simple so I could learn a bit. I got a True Brew kit of 'amber' beer with all ingreedients included and a True Brew 'gold' equipment kit which seems to have very nice, all needed equipment...
-I boiled 1.5 gal of water
-added ingredients per instructions
-boiled for 30 mins-
transfered this wort to a plastic pail with another 3.5 gallons of ambient temp water (all equipment was from a kit and made for the purpose of brewing) (I used a s.s. kitchen strainer since the wort consisted of hop pellets from the kit)
-got my five gallons by adding a slight bit more water
-cooled the wort to 77f by putting the bucket over the sink and spraying the outside of the bucket with the sink sprayer
-took a beginning s.g.
-sprinkled the kits dry yeast pack on top of the wort
-waited 10 mins then gently stirred in the yeast (gently stirred per the kit instructions)
-placed ferment lock on and let it ride for 3 days
-moved batch to a secondary fermenter and now I'm waiting.
Everything has been easy and seems to be going great so far. After this batch brewed I have decided to aerate the wort just prior to yeast addition and I intend on bottling this batch two weeks after the brew date. One question about this batch was the fact that the boiling wort did not foam much at all... just enough to cover the surface. I did not consider this a problem since I brought the wort back to a boil slowly and stirred constantly (this o.k.?)
I would like to take one additional step to improve beer quality (taste and clearness in particular) each batch until I have a firm grasp on this hobby. After reading many posts, I am giving consideration to tackling the 'yeast' issues. I believe I will go with a liquid yeast, make a starter pack and POSSIBLY cultivate the yeast after the batch goes to secondary (maybe I will cultivate at a later batch and just concentrate on using liquid this time).
Is this a good 'next step' in the hobby or should I go with other ingredients / techniques? As I mentioned, I would like to change just one thing at this time in my effort to slowly master this hobby. Also, I am thinking of a cream ale or such, any suggestions on an easy beginners beer in this category?
Thanks for reading and replying to a lenghty post