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Old 07-04-2011, 11:54 PM   #1
stevefromga2000
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Default brand new to this, please be gentle

i have always been interested in making my own beer. i know a few people that do it already, but none of them are close to where i live so that i can ask lots of the dumb questions and/or see how the actual process works. i'm military, so i kind of rely of forums for a lot of information.

please help me get started.....i just went and bought a starter kit. it's a 2 stage kit, i got it so that i can make stronger beer in the future. the guys at the store seemed like he knew a lot of information, and he was pretty friendly, but he was busy. so he couldn't help me out with explaining how to start up. as far as i know, i have all of the necessary equipment, but before i start cooking everything up i was hoping somebody could explain a few answers.

mainly, i have 2 buckets, one for fermentation and one for bottling, but i also have a 5 gallon carboy. what is the carboy for? i thought that i would do all the fermenting in the bucket, then when it was ready i would transfer it to the second bucket for bottling. am i correct or am i missing a simple step?

again, all information is helpful and i am very excited to start this hobby.

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:04 AM   #2
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All of your fermentation will be done in the bucket. You can use the secondary (carboy) to transfer your beer to after primary fermentation is done to maybe help clear your beer (lots of debate about this), or you can use it as a step to add fruits or whatnot to flavor your beer. Lookup 'dryhopping' or 'racking your beer onto fruit'. Truth be told, carboys are fine, I use them when I am TRYING to get a beer I can see through. Otherwise, I don't use them much anymore. Fear of dropping one and hacking off an appendage gets to me...

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:06 AM   #3
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first off welcome to the most beneficial hobby out cause u get to drink your accomplishment.

Im sure everyone is gonna ask for a little more information on your buckets like sizes and what material they are made of i.e. glass or plastic.

And i also dont know much with only two beers and a cider under my belt but ill try to answer to the best of my knowledge

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:10 AM   #4
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The Carboy would be your secondary fermenter. Which can be optional. If you are doing a beer with a quick turnaround say 2-3 weeks you can just leave it in the bucket the whole time. Or you can use the Carboy for primary fermentation if you choose, just make sure there's enough head space. If you are doing a beer and expect to let it ferment longer, lagering or for whatever reason you will want to transfer to secondary generally somewhere between1 and 3 weeks after sitting in primary. You don't want to have it sitting in primary too long. Seconday will let the remaining yeast continue to do it's job and also help with clarity.

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:13 AM   #5
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What kind of beer are you brewing? Or what kind of beer are you planing on brewing? Eventually that carboy can come in handy depending on what your brewing or what your trying to accomplish.

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:18 AM   #6
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You've already taken two excellent steps along the path: First, you bought a decent kit (you'll be adding to it as you go along, don't expect it to have everything); Second, you have reached out to a group of experienced brewers for advice. Stick around, learn a lot, enjoy your brew!

Here's my advice: buy a decent book, such as Palmer's How to Brew, and you'll always have it for reference.

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:22 AM   #7
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Welcome to the hobby! When I first started brewing, I found a couple books to be invaluable to building up my foundational knowledge. This site is great for learning, but sometimes you want to be able to get to answer fast. Those two books are Homebrewing for Dummies and Joy of Homebrewing.

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:28 AM   #8
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Umm, I don't really want to be discouraging, but....

You list your location as Moody, AL, homebrewing is illegal in Alabama. The consensus seems to be that you will generally be left alone, but you also say your are military and if you are on a base I don't know what sort of stricter law enforcement you might be subject to.

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:33 AM   #9
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Steve - I'm guessing you got a beer kit to go with the equipment, to have something to brew. that should give you pretty decent directions to brew that.

Basically once everything is boiled, cool it off. (A useful trick I did my first batch, freeze a gallon of distilled water. Boil to get 4 gallons or whatever the instructions say of wort, and pour onto the ice (break it up, with something sanitized) This pouring/cooling should go into your fermenting bucket. Once it is at the right temp (for the kits, using dry yeast, the instructions probably just say "below 90....shoot for 70 if you can, but its fine) then pitch your yeast.

For your first batch, I'd leave that alone. Let it sit for 2 weeks, then use the bottling bucket, bottle, and let that sit for 3 more weeks. No need to use the glass carboy for your first batch.

FYI - opposite what alot of others do, I only use 5 gallon glass carboys now, as opposed to the 6.5 gallon glass primary carboys. I use a blow off tube, and let it sit there for a month.

So..some general directions for you. Lots more in the beginner forum. Everything you want to know is here, just use the search bar and check the stickies.

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:41 AM   #10
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Welcome to the addiction.....ummmm....hobby. Former Army here, thank you for your service.

If you have a home brew store near you, you are a step up on most new brewers. Ask them about brewing classes and brew clubs.

My local store has brewing 101 each month, cost me $25, most likely saved me hundreds of dollars in mistakes.

As a former MP, the only real rule on beer was you gotta be old enough to drink in the state you are stationed in. You are in a federal jurisdiction, so I do not think state laws will apply here. Check with your SJA if you are worried.

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