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Old 08-25-2008, 12:20 AM   #1
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Default My first brew. Expectations vs. results.

Back when I boiled up my first batch (it was the Brewer's Best Red Ale kit) I expected to make beer. I didn't think I would make some outstanding beer that would blow my mind, but I at least hoped it would be drinkable.

While reading these forums and looking at the reactions of the other first time brewers I somehow got this idea that my first brew would be outstanding, that I would somehow be overcome with how great it is.

Now, some 6 weeks I've actually had what I think of as my first really bottle from the batch (I've had a few bottles throughout the whole fermentation and conditioning process to see what it tastes like at different points.)

The beer is good, but at first I was a little disappointed because it didn't live up to the over-inflated expectations that I got from reading other first time brewers' reactions. Now, after a little thought, I realize that the beer definitely lives up to my original expectations, and maybe even passes it. Yes, I've had much better beer, but I've also had much, much worse.

This beer is drinkable, I enjoy drinking it and would definitely choose it over the bmc that somehow ends up in my refrigerator after my parties (which usually ends up being used to cook brats or make bread.)

I actually wonder about the other first brews that the people making it rave about. Is their beer really so spectacular, or is it just their first time having a decent beer.

Oh well, guess it's time to start thinking about my next batch.

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Old 08-25-2008, 12:28 AM   #2
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In a place like this, you have people all over the beer drinking spectrum. There have only been a handful of beers I've made that I would consider great, but I am a total beer snob. My drinking of really good beer is sort of great in a way though, because I strive to make something I'm really proud of.

That said, I still think I am making decent beer and I don't expect anything out of it. I really think it all depends on what you were drinking before you started.

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Old 08-25-2008, 12:38 AM   #3
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I think that most people that brew for the first time are just happy with something that tastes like a beer. So when they succeed they like to say how awsome it is. And besides Your own beer is like your own kids. Your own kids are always better than other peoples kids, you know what I mean. It took me about 3-4 batches of beer when I firs started to be able to say that it was truly a good beer. It is always much better to see what your friends have to say about your beer also. Use them as your sounding block. BUT make sure that they know a little about beer before you really take what they have to say to heart. Good luck brewing, and remember you are always your own worst critic; if you are like me a perfectionist.

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Old 08-25-2008, 12:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loup View Post
I actually wonder about the other first brews that the people making it rave about. Is their beer really so spectacular, or is it just their first time having a decent beer.
I am man enough to fess to the fact that if I hadn't already started my second batch before I tasted the first one, my brewing careerer would have ended with the second or third beer I tasted from that batch. It was an "American Ale" kit...not good at all....and back then I didn't have all you guys around that keep pushing and prodding and forcing me into meaner leaner more interesting things.
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loup View Post
The beer is good, but at first I was a little disappointed because it didn't live up to the over-inflated expectations that I got from reading other first time brewers' reactions.
Do you have any friends whose kid is taking clarinet lessons? And they rave about what a talented player the kids is? And then one day your hear the kid play and he/she sorta stinks?

Homebrew just might be a little like that. Everyone probably has a higher opinion of their own than someone else might. Now I'm sure that there are some really talented homebrewers making some seriously good homebrew. But I have to admit that I've NEVER tasted a homebrew that I'd mistake for a Three Floyds Alpha King or a Two-Hearted Ale. There's always something a little off that to me says homebrew.

Now my first batch in 12 years is 3 weeks in the fermenter and I'm thinking of kegging it and giving it a week to carbonate. I'm anxious to taste it, but honestly I'm not expecting a Stone IPA. I'm expecting something that I can enjoy drinking (because it's mine after all) and that maybe a good friend would drink if he was in a polite mood. Any better than that will be icing.
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:44 AM   #6
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I cannot speak for everyone else, but my first batch was not a kit but a recipe recommended by the LHBS owner. It was a very simple Extract + Steeping Grains Pale Ale. I think the really good taste of my first batch had to be attributed to the steeping grains, and the freshness of the extract. I don't want to knock kits, because I'm sure there are good ones out there, but sometimes I wonder about the freshness of these kits that sit on shelves or in warehouses for months...or longer. In addition, if you don't use steeping grains you're not going to get as much of that malty/grainy taste that you get with commercial micro brews.

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Old 08-25-2008, 01:00 AM   #7
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I wasn't expecting much from my first homebrew and maybe that's why I was quite shocked at how good it was. Looking back, I know it wasn't that good - there were fusel alcohol, but I was quite proud because I made it with my own hands.

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Old 08-25-2008, 01:05 AM   #8
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I think my first batch was really good. It wasn't great- but it was really good. I liked kind of "blah" beers then, though, and my first was an English Brown ale. (I'm totally not counting the Beer Machine beers!) I only made one batch I didn't like and that was from a recipe here that I found and some people bragged about so I tried it. It was definitely not my style of beer! I gave it to my friend, and she drank it.
After a while, though, I learned to make much better beers and I've also become more open to different styles. I can honestly say that my beer probably isn't great, but I like it better than about 80% of the commercial beers I could buy.

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Old 08-25-2008, 03:54 AM   #9
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I have two bottles of my first batch I've been saving... a PM kit I picked up along with the starter kit at Austin Homebrew. It was one of my best so far, actually, despite an incredible chill haze.

Come to think of it, now that I've done 12 of 'em I should go back and re-do the first one (AG now instead of a PM) and see how it comes out.

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Old 08-25-2008, 11:01 AM   #10
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I'm pouring my first brew down the drain. My 2nd brew is OK for me and I bottleed my 3rd brew last night and it tasted GREAT out of the bottling bucket!

1st brew I new would need a miracle which did not happen. LHBS gave me a bad "tip" and ruined it with burning and scorching. 2nd brew I over corrected on the boil and I feel is a little weak and 3rd brew was the first of my last 3 do be done perfectly.

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