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Old 06-05-2011, 12:35 AM   #1
jskinner10
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Default First Brew Day Ever. Suggestions??

So I'll be doing my first brew sometime this coming week. A Nut Brown Ale extract kit from Northern Brewer. Any suggestions, tips, words of wisdom for a newbie?

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Old 06-05-2011, 12:43 AM   #2
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Read the stickies, especially in the beginners section, and my blogs....everything on here is a tip, and/or word of wisdom for a newbie. No need to reinvent the wheel, it's already here.

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Old 06-05-2011, 12:45 AM   #3
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If the instructions call for X days in primary and then to rack into 'secondary' ignore that part. Leave the brew in the primary until it's ready for bottles.

Use the hydrometer (you have one, right?) to get the OG...

Confirm the FG with two readings 2-3 days apart before even thinking about bottling.
Taste the sample to see if it's ready. If there are any off flavors (other than ones from chlorine, or infection) give it more time on the yeast.

Use StarSan and don't fear the foam...

RDWHAHB (or good/craft brew)...

Remember, sanitation is critical post boil. If you have some StarSan mixed in a bucket already, a simple dunk of an item does it well. Many of us also have a spray bottle with StarSan in it to use at any time.

Once you're hooked on brewing, you'll start thinking of what to brew/ferment next. You'll also probably start spending more than maybe you should on more gear to make the brew day easier, faster, or just better (for you)... If you're handy, you can make a good number of things yourself...

Oh, and it's never too early to have a wort chiller. I started with immersion chillers (that I built/made) from 3/8" OD soft copper. I've recently upgraded to a 40 plate chiller (Rebel Brewer Chillhog 4000) and am itching to use it. Just a bit more to do for the fittings (water in side) and it will be ready to rock and roll... I also finally busted down and picked up a 10 gallon Blichmann kettle. I got tired of using a stick to check the wort/water levels. Now, I have an accurate method for cheching the water/wort level, as well as temps, without anything more than a glance. Looking forward to using that next batch.

Oh, and listen to Revvy...

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Old 06-05-2011, 12:58 AM   #4
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Just brewed for the first time as well, exactly the same kit. I hit the expected 1.044 OG right on the nose and she's fermenting now. My advice would be: if you can't find an answer to a small question (more of them will come up as you brew for the first time than you think) just make a decision and go with it, it'll be fine. Northern Brewer has excellent instructions, just follow them to the T.

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Old 06-05-2011, 01:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauljmccain View Post
Just brewed for the first time as well, exactly the same kit. I hit the expected 1.044 OG right on the nose and she's fermenting now.
It's an extract kit--unless you spill some extract you're going to "hit" your OG right on the nose every time.

Still, congratulations on your first batch!

OP, just follow the instructions included with the kit--they look good. Did you get liquid or dry yeast? If you got dry, search around for yeast rehydration steps and follow those.
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:11 AM   #6
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Thanks, I was more concerned with boiling off too much water or measuring things wrong or something like that. And I've heard of hydrometers being slightly off, so when it rang up that 1.044 I was pretty happy. You never know when it's the first time.

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Old 06-05-2011, 02:54 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. Golddiggie, I've already started thinking about making an immersion chiller. I'll be looking through the stickies and whatnot in the next few days.

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Old 06-05-2011, 07:03 AM   #8
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There is nice brewday checklists (not to forget something), you can copy it to Word (or scan it with abby) and modified it for your purpose:

http://www.brewersfriend.com/brewdaysheets/

Organization is more than 1/2 of the job.

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Old 06-05-2011, 08:44 AM   #9
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With my first brew bottled, I gotta say that as long as you follow the instruction sheet you got with your kit and sanitize fanatically, you should have no problem. My beer tasted amazing as I bottled it. Can't wait to crack one open when it's done.

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Old 06-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #10
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We just bottled my wife's 1st batch yesterday,The BB summer ale. I had her follow the instructions to the point of fermentation. That's where common sense & reading on here took over. Can't wait to see her crack the first one. I even bought us two German crystal/pewter steins for the occasion.
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