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Old 01-14-2007, 01:37 AM   #1
texasgeorge
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Default Giving homebrew lessons

I have a friend at work who is interested in learning how to homebrew. He's always been curious since I started brewing myself and talking about it. The interest has piqued after tasting the Pale Rye Ale I made and he wants to come over to my place and help/watch me brew it for him again. He has offered to buy the ingredients.

I want him to take away enough info to feel comfortable investing in his own homebrew setup but not so much info as to overwhelm him and scare him away from the hobby. He's pretty sharp and analytical, but there's a WHOLE LOT of stuff to tinker with in this hobby of ours.

Obviously cleaning and sanitation will be lesson #1.
All-Grain 101 will encompass proper mash temp and conversion process. I'll hold off on Water Chemistry and what the differences in temp rests mean for now.
We'll boil, I'll have him do all the hop additions explaining why you add hops at different intervals.
Cool, pitch (my starter prepared in advance), clean. Explain what happens over the next three weeks (fermentation, secondary clearing, etc.)
Invite him back over for bottling day.

Anything I should omit to avoid confusion? Anything I'm missing that's critical that I just take for granted with experience?

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Old 01-14-2007, 01:54 AM   #2
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Wow, he's taking All Grain 101? I thought Extract 101 was a prerequisite!

I'd explain that people new to home brewing generally start out using extracts, and then explain what portion of the all-grain procedure is replaced by extracts. This way, he'll know that there is an "easier" way for beginners should he decide to try home brewing on his own.

As a brew newbie (brewbie?) myself, I'm hoping to attend one of the local brewouts to watch the all-grainers.

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Old 01-14-2007, 02:10 AM   #3
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To re-phrase your question, "What did we find to be the scarey parts for you to touch lightly on?"

I think had I had a mentor to go through with it one time, I would have dove right in to AG. But that is not my way. After one batch of partial mash from a kit, I read about it for a year. A newbie who has not studied up ought to be too ingorant to be scared. Just don't scare him. So, don't mention infections. Tell him that it is always OK beer, no matter what the screw up. Take him with you to the HBS to get stuff, new places can be intimidating. Both of you, RDWHAHB.

Any waiting time while brewing, go over some of the newbie questions on this site.

Have fun, welcome him for the rest of us.

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Old 01-14-2007, 03:29 PM   #4
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I'd definitely mention extract, steeping, and partial mash.

-a.

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Old 01-14-2007, 03:48 PM   #5
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I have always been a big fan of "let the learner come to me" philoshophy. Don't get too preachy and teachery. It is likely that this guy just wants to hang out, enjoy brewing, and pick up some pointers.

I often have brew parties. I simply brew and hang out. I only explain things when asked. I recommend this approach b/c then it just seems like a bunch of guys hanging out rather than a clinic. If someone wants to learn, they will ask.

In other words, the first thing you should teach him about brewing is this: "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew."

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Old 01-14-2007, 06:56 PM   #6
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I think if I would have had a mentor, I would have started AG right off the bat also... That being said...

Can I suggest you do an extract and/or partial mash to start him off. You have to think back to all the equipment you needed to do AG and if you want/expect a noob to run out and buy all the stuff to do AG, then decide they don't want to do it, loose interest after a short time, or just decide it's not for them, that's a lot of money upfront they are going to take a soaking on because they will probably never get "top-dollar" when they sell it. I also think you'll loose him if you are doing one thing and explaining that he can do it another way. Just show him the way he can get started.

Basic brew kits can be had for ~$70... If you still have your basic stuff, think about taking to his place and doing it on his stove... I think people find an AG'ers stuff "intimidating" when they first see it and think "oh ship".

I have a friend that likes to help, but I can't convince him to get into the hobby no matter how hard I try. When I take the "big jump" into AG in about a month I think he'll be less interested in getting into the hobby. He just likes too help <shrugs> too each his own.

Many people (myself included) have started with Cooper kits and it exploded from there, but it's not for everyone. Start him "cheap" and easy(er) and he'll get hooked and the ball gets rolling from there...

Babbling finished...

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Old 01-14-2007, 09:24 PM   #7
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Other than the initial cost, I would have gone AG to start if I had known more. Starting with extract is good however because it gets the brewer familiar with the basic procedures before adding in the extra steps and time of AG.

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Old 01-14-2007, 09:35 PM   #8
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Let him do the brewing while you sit back swilling beer, he'll learn enough to do his own brew and pick up the rest as he tries to perfect subsequent batches. Meanwhile you get a fermenter full of beer for zero effort

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Old 01-14-2007, 09:39 PM   #9
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I'm teaching my brother-in-law to homebrew in a couple weeks. AG isn't going to be an option for him, at least for a while, but I'm still going to show him the process. I can't stand the idea of dropping all that coin on extract anymore. Figure I can explain the extract version of the process (and things like ice baths) without showing him exactly how to do it.

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Old 01-14-2007, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
I'm teaching my brother-in-law to homebrew in a couple weeks. AG isn't going to be an option for him, at least for a while, but I'm still going to show him the process. I can't stand the idea of dropping all that coin on extract anymore. Figure I can explain the extract version of the process (and things like ice baths) without showing him exactly how to do it.
Bingo!

The same guy came to my apartment while I just happened to be brewing a PM session before I went AG and I kinda pointed and said "This is extract, these are hops, those grains are soaking in hot water to make more sugars for the yeast to ferment later..." etc. He didn't stay long... just dropping off my putter I let him borrow It was no more than you'd find in a book titled "Learn to Make Beer in 5 minutes."

I think I can explain to him the "easy" way while showing him the "hard" way. And I think the "hard" way is pretty easy.... so I'm hoping that he sees the same thing and jumps right into AG if he decides to become a homebrewer too.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions, keep 'em coming if you got 'em, and I'll let everyone know how it turns out!
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6.5 Gallon Primary: Empty
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Bottled & Drinking: Holiday Ale, Pale Rye Ale, Bridgeport ESB Clone project v1.0
Bottled & Conditioning: Michael Richards' NOT Racist Ale
Best of 2006: All Saints' IPA, Six-Malt Amber Ale, McClelland's Irish Red Ale
On Deck: English Honey Bitter, Chocolate Stout, House Pale Ale
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