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-   -   Advice for someone about to start brewing (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/advice-someone-about-start-brewing-89414/)

avaserfi 11-19-2008 03:51 AM

Advice for someone about to start brewing
I have been hobbiest chef/baker for a while and am very comfortable in the kitchen loving to create and eat (see some of my work today with a loaf of Challah). Recently, when discussing beer with some acquaintances one recommended I look into home brewing suggesting the Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Home Brew Kit and two books The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition and Clone Brews: Homebrew Recipes for 150 Commercial Beers.

I started researching the kit, primarily, and it seems Mr. Beer is popular for beginners, but many quickly outgrow it. I take my hobbies fairly seriously and would rather spend a little extra money now and save it in the long run as well as getting higher quality materials. So I was wondering if there was better out there, within reason as I have not set up a budget, yet.

I have done some searching on the forum and seen some recommendations, but was wondering a little bit more. As of now I have technically purchased nothing for this hobby, but do have an array of kitchen tools, if that would help at all?

My current favorite commercial beers are: Dogfish Head - 60, 90, 120 minute; Stone - Arrogant Bastard and other high IBU/gravity IPAs. Can't get enough of those :D.


BlackTieBrewing 11-19-2008 04:02 AM

I started off roughly the same way as you, I went for the canned kits which are similar to Mr. Beer. I quickly realized that they do not produce the best beer and are not very challenging or entertaining. I immediately upgraded to all-grain skipping both extract and partial-mash brewing. My advice to you is if you have the money, buy large enough equipment to do all-grain batches but start with extract or partial mash to get a feel for it then you can upgrade. It's not much more difficult but requires extended periods of free time and some patience. The only downside is it is extremely addictive and you will quickly find yourself obsessing over your next batch... well at least I do. The bottom line is to consider how much money you can spend and the time you have. The finished product from all-grain is without question far superior, and with the right recipe, can match almost any brew.

Gordie 11-19-2008 04:15 AM

Check out Austin Homebrew Supply and NORTHERN BREWER: Beer Starter Kits

Can't really go wrong. You may want more stuff but for the most part the equipment that comes with the kits can generally be useful in one way or another for the life of your hobby. I'd probably stop just short of the kegging stuff and get what your budget seems to allow.


IPAthetic 11-19-2008 04:21 AM

If you want to get started quick and not spend a bunch of money on stuff you don't need, start with buying a copy of Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Read it, THEN buy stuff. Don't bother with Mr. Beer; the results are a novelty, but you won't yield satisfying brew. As Alton Brown says, "Your patience will be rewarded". Your kitchen may have several items you'll need to BYO, such as stockpots and stainless spoons, a digital thermometer, etc., so read first, spend money later. Amazon has the book cheap and you will be glad you waited before buying a bunch of junk you may not need.

wvrnnr15 11-19-2008 04:29 AM

I agree, read the book first, it's fantastic. He reminds you constantly to have fun brewing and relax. After you read it, then decide how you want to start.

Jaybird 11-19-2008 06:00 AM

Don't do it man!!!! Just buy your beer!!! It's a conspiracy man I'm telling ya.....Just buy your beer :D

Saccharomyces 11-19-2008 06:05 AM


Originally Posted by Jaybird (Post 963238)
Don't do it man!!!! Just buy your beer!!! It's a conspiracy man I'm telling ya.....Just buy your beer :D

+1. You don't want to become obsessed like me, and end up having your friends and neighbors lined up around the block to worship your beer, do you? Huh?? :D

Kauai_Kahuna 11-19-2008 06:30 AM

I have to agree, don't tell your friends about how great your beers are, you will never get them out of your stash after that.
How to Brew - By John Palmer
If you still feel the desire, you can buy an advanced brewing kit and a couple of recipes from many great online or LHBS, and then feed your new addiction from there.
Best of luck, but note: you have been warned.

ifishsum 11-19-2008 06:32 AM

As another one who takes their hobbies seriously, you won't learn a lot from Mr. Beer. While my first batch of Mr. Beer was fermenting I started learning more about making beer and quickly realized that I was basically making the brewing equivalent of boxed macaroni and cheese - it tasted OK and made beer, but with a little more equipment and effort I thought I could do better. Of course I was right.

You don't even really need a kit - I scrounged up a couple of clean food grade buckets with good lids from a grocery store bakery, bought a couple of airlocks, hydrometer, racking cane, hose and bottle capper from the LHBS. I found a 3 gallon kettle at Goodwill for a couple of bucks and went straight to partial mashing in a 2 gallon drink cooler. I learned almost everything here at HBT so you're on the right track already. It is a consuming hobby indeed! (pun intended)

Jaybird 11-19-2008 06:51 AM


Originally Posted by Saccharomyces (Post 963243)
+1. You don't want to become obsessed like me, and end up having your friends and neighbors lined up around the block to worship your beer, do you? Huh?? :D

I just had some "friends" leave the house here and its 11:30 on a Tuesday WTF They don't love me... Oh no!!!! they LOVE the BEER!!! Ya know they even left w/ some of my beer.......
**** Why don't I serve them the crap??? note to self****

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