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Old 06-04-2006, 04:36 PM   #1
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Default Brand new brewer questions

I've been making wine, and I think I have most of the stuff I need for beer. A couple of questions, though- I've been reading about wort chillers. Is this absolutely necessary? An extra refrigerator? I've got carboys, buckets, racking hoses, etc, a cold basement (55 degrees) and cool-ish house (temperature wise!).
Also, I found some great websites for winemaking. Are there any good step-by-step websites for new brewers? Is it better to start with a kit?

Thanks!
Lorena

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Old 06-04-2006, 04:56 PM   #2
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1. A wort chiller is not necessary, instead you can use an ice bath or other method of rapidly cooling the wort. The wort chiller is just faster.

2. You definitely don't need another refrigerator, but your basement may be a little too cool (unless you're planning on making lager). Most ale yeast likes temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees depending on the style of beer you're making (around 70 is pretty good).

3. "How to Brew" by John Palmer. The website is one edition behind the print version, but it is a great resource. http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

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Old 06-04-2006, 05:22 PM   #3
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On the other hand, while your basement is a bit cool for ales, you have a very nice temperature for making lagers, which most of us don't even attempt for the lack of that kind of ambient temperatures.

But GF above is dead on - neither is an absolute necessity. When I want to get a nice "cold break" (in order to minimize chill haze, basically what the wort chiller is for), I empty my ice trays into my kitchen sink and put in several inches of cold tap water. My just take my whole boiling pot and put it in the cold water until the ice has melted. This drops the wort temp pretty well. The results have been good.

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Old 06-04-2006, 08:15 PM   #4
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You are lucky to have such a cold basement as you can make lagers. I probably wont even attempt a lager until winter. As far as the wort chiller goes, I do not use one. I just dump all the ice I have in my freezer into the kitchen sink and fill it up with water. Put the pot in that for approx 20 min. To chill faster you can stir the wort briskly in order to create a whirlpool type effect (like a toilet flushing). This will cool it off a bit faster.

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Old 06-04-2006, 09:26 PM   #5
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Default Thanks for the encouragement!

I'd like to start my beer soon. As a newbie, is it better to order a kit in a type of beer I like, or to find a recipe and order the ingredients? I'd like to start with something fairly simple, but something that I like.

Thanks again,
Lorena

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Old 06-04-2006, 09:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM
On the other hand, while your basement is a bit cool for ales, you have a very nice temperature for making lagers, which most of us don't even attempt for the lack of that kind of ambient temperatures.

But GF above is dead on - neither is an absolute necessity. When I want to get a nice "cold break" (in order to minimize chill haze, basically what the wort chiller is for), I empty my ice trays into my kitchen sink and put in several inches of cold tap water. My just take my whole boiling pot and put it in the cold water until the ice has melted. This drops the wort temp pretty well. The results have been good.
If you add salt to your ice water bath it will cool it even faster
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Old 06-04-2006, 09:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenae
I'd like to start my beer soon. As a newbie, is it better to order a kit in a type of beer I like, or to find a recipe and order the ingredients? I'd like to start with something fairly simple, but something that I like.

Thanks again,
Lorena
I started off with kits, but I'd say take the plunge and go for a recipe and ingredients. Your beer will be much better than kit-beer.

We could help you with a good simple recipe, too, if you tell us what kind of beer you want to brew.
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Old 06-04-2006, 09:49 PM   #8
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just hunt around for a recipe you like.. the first brew i did was a partial mash.. and i thought.. omg what have i gotten myself into..now that im drinking it.. im brewing again today.. so we shall see.. its pretty addictive and NO beer tastes as good as your OWN!

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Old 06-04-2006, 09:57 PM   #9
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Kits are nice and easy to start but they often have some weaknesses (like, substituting sugar for malt or using hpped extracts). If you have a good HBS (home brew store) locally, you can do better by asking for help with your first try. They should be able to suggest a recipe based on what kinds of beers you like, plus they should be able to give some tips and hints for surviving the first try at this.

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Old 06-04-2006, 10:12 PM   #10
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There aren't any LHBs locally at all- at least 2 hours away. I was going to order from Austin homebrewers (free shipping over $60). I like ALL beer, but my husband likes nut brown ales especially. I thought an amber ale, nut brown ale, or anything not like a porter. (My husband does not like stouts or porters). I particularly like Mai Bocks, but again I'm not really fussy about types of beer.
I'd LOVE an easy recipe to start with, if anyone has one that a newbie can handle.
Since I make some wine, I have carboys and fermenting buckets and the like. I have a hydrometer, siphoning tubing, etc.

Again, Thanks!
Lorena

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