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Old 11-12-2009, 05:48 PM   #1
PatientZero
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Default Beginner Beer Recipes!

So, as a fairly new companion to the site and the brewing world, I decided that everyone could pitch in with some of their favorite "beginner" brew recipes! I just wanted a quick reference for some new ideas and for other beginners to have a quick, down-and-dirty way of finding something that will help get them started on the beer they'd most like to make. With everyone's help, this could be highly useful for beginners (like me) who don't quite know what to do or where to go from one batch to the next.

It's not necessary to post crazy technical things, but ingredients and times would be greatly appreciated. If need be, a person can just contact you or other people about specifics.

So, what are some simple recipes?
What was your first brew and how did it turn out?
Can you give a time frame?

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Old 11-12-2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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Pale Ales are not necessarily simple as far as the recipe goes, but they are some of the more difficult beers to screw up. In other words, while it's difficult to make an outstanding Pale Ale, it's even more difficult to make an unpalatable Pale Ale.

My first brew was a Mr. Beer kit - some Pale Ale, if I recall correctly. It was drinkable, but nothing to write home about. After four mediocre Mr. Beer kits, I switched to Austin Homebrew extract kits, which turned out much better. My favorites are Pale Ales, Witbiers and Koelsch, the latter of which is a pain to get "just right".

I started brewing about two years ago - the first year was hit and miss. Now I brew all-grain or partial mash beers with as little extract as possible, and most turn out great.

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Old 11-12-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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You ought to take a look through the recipe database and see what tickles your fancy. I am glad to see that you are looking to keep it simple. That's a great way to learn.

If you are looking for your first batch, an extract (unhopped extract) recipe with steeping grains is a good start. There is enough complexity there to give you something to do and to give you a little flexibility to play, but not so much as to overwhelm you. Keep to mid-range OG beers (say, no more than 1.055, or maybe 1.060), so that you don't have as many concerns with fermentation, and so your beer is ready to drink earlier, as well. You can go a little lower on the OG, if you like, but most beginning brewers prefer not to, as they want some "bank for their buck."

If you like them, an English Pale Ale with an OG 1.045-1.055 is a very nice way to start. The recipes are simple (with a little crystal malt and a couple hop additions), the appropriate yeasts are reliable, and the beers are ready fairly soon.

Of course, if you prefer the "American" styles, there's nothing at all wrong with mid-range American Pale Ale or American Amber. Again, keep the recipe fairly simple,for your education's sake. Just be aware that you probably will not produce something like you can find on the shelves, so don't be so hard on yourself if you don't. Enjoy your beer, and keep developing.

Brown ales and stouts also are good, as they tend to be simple. However, if you plan on sharing with your friends, just be aware that many folks out there are still scared of "dark beer," and many are even more afraid of homebrew, on top of that. You may have to do a little arm-twisting. My pat response to some guy who waffles about drinking a "dark beer" is along the lines of: "What's the matter? Are you afraid it'll knock the flowers off your panties?"

My first brew was an APA that clocked in around 1.055 or so. It was extract with a bit of crystal malt for steeping, pellet Cascade hops, and dry yeast. I didn't really know what the hell I was doing, and the guy at the store just handed me the stuff and a piece of paper to follow. It was okay. Nothing I would sing songs about, but I drank it with pride and without choking. My next batch was MUCH better, just by learning some stuff from the first go-round.

Your time frame is roughly six weeks from brewday to your first good beer. Fermentation probably will take a total of around three weeks, and bottle conditioning will probably take around another three. Yes, that seems like a terribly long time, but it will pass. While you're waiting for those bottles to condition, you can certainly start another batch to keep your mind occupied. Besides, you wouldn't be the first brewer to pop a top too early on his first batch, should you do so. Just don't come back around here and say "why isn't my beer carbonated?!?!"

Have fun!


TL

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Old 11-12-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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I am a relatively new brewer, and I am finding the learning process so much fun!! This is a great hobby, with great results. I started on Coopers kits, and we all know they are not always Ideal. However, if you use them as a base you can produce some awesome tasting beers as I am sure many will agree.

Just do not follow the included instructions. Use Dry Malt Extract(DME) instead of sugar/dextrose, and boil your malt extract according to standard brewing procedures. Do not boil the Kit can though, add it to the boil after you turn off the heat so you do not destroy the aroma hops in the kit. To get started, buy some DME & some hops, and some coopers kits and experiement.

Now, however, I do like to do partial mashes and I am going to start doing all grain in 2 gallon batches as that is the biggest my equipment will allow. I find grains just allow more control. I would definately reccomend starting with Coopers kits though, as they are cheap and can be very good if you do it right.

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Old 11-12-2009, 10:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexLaw View Post

Brown ales and stouts also are good, as they tend to be simple. However, if you plan on sharing with your friends, just be aware that many folks out there are still scared of "dark beer," and many are even more afraid of homebrew, on top of that. You may have to do a little arm-twisting. My pat response to some guy who waffles about drinking a "dark beer" is along the lines of: "What's the matter? Are you afraid it'll knock the flowers off your panties?"



TL
Hah, no worries...most of my friends and I are dark beer snobs. None of us are very big fans of lagers and Weizens and wheat beers...not really our thing. Hence, our first attempt was a porter that, after tasting the hydrometer sample, is quite delicious so far. Next will probably be a extract Oatmeal Stout.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:08 PM   #6
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Most extract + steeping grains kits have the same level of difficulty; you're going through the same steps, just with slightly different ingredients to make an extract pale ale, stout, or amber. This changes if your alcohol percentage creeps over 7% or so. It's different territory if you're making imperial stouts.

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Old 11-12-2009, 11:16 PM   #7
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This is about as easy as it gets all grain wise. Otherwise substitute lme or dme for the grain.

5 lbs 2 row
1 oz Cascade
US-05 Yeast
Makes 2.5 gallons.

I have a variation of this in my fermenter right now. It is a great beginner first batch also. Just to get your processes down. Kits from Austin Homebrew or Mr. Beer kits are also an easy way to start. My first batch was a disaster but have since learned from my mistakes. I use BIAB variation to mash in a 20 qt pot and have one 5 gal fermenter, AutoZone bucket with homemade lid. Its as easy as it gets. I can do one batch a weekend which keeps my neighbor and my bellies full of homemade man juice.

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Old 11-13-2009, 12:22 AM   #8
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I agree that looking through the recipe database here is an excellent place to start. I really like the idea of starting with as few ingredients as possible. The fewer ingredients in the recipe the better you can see what each ingredient is bringing to the party. Think of it like a scientific experiment, the fewer things you change each time the more you know about what each change in recipe or technique does to the end product.

So, pick a type of beer you really like and find a basic recipe that you can try and then change a little at a time for a few batches to learn for example, what biscuit malt does to change the recipe. Then you can do the same beer again, or revert back to your first recipe and try it with a different yeast to see what changes that makes. This is a great way to learn about the ingredients and a great excuse to brew more often.

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Old 11-13-2009, 03:58 PM   #9
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bigin, never use this phrase again: "full of homemade man juice"

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Old 11-13-2009, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craven_morhead View Post
bigin, never use this phrase again: "full of homemade man juice"
You prefer store-bought?
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