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Old 07-01-2008, 01:38 PM   #1
Grinder12000
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Default First question from a newbie + introduction

This being my 1st post here I better introduce myself.

Rod Melotte from Columbus Wisconsin. A young 54 years old (meaning I like alternative rock and think my life is great . . .except my left knee clicks a little golfing).

I did not discover beer until actually a few years ago thinking all beer tasted like Miller and Bud and frankly - that taste SUCKED. Until I started trying Micro brews and fell in love with the Brown Ale style of beer. WOW - it's actually GOOD.

So now I'm LOOKING into making beer.

One problem - ALL of our water in Columbus is softened. However here is the odd thing. After letting the water sit for a while, in a blind taste testing, I could not tell the difference between our "good" water and the tap water.

I was totally floored. Can this be?? I've always considered my taste buds better then average.

So here is my question. For a beginner is this a problem?

If I spend $150 to get a beginner outfit, can I make a beer that is drinkable? I have tried wine making in my past and I never had very good luck. Yea - it was wine but who wants to drink something that is only OK.

Will newbie beer be only "OK"? or will I have to serve my time and upgrade, learn the trade and maybe in my 4th or 5th batch have something better then "OK".

One thing I worry about. If I can make good beer . . . I'm a VERY obsessive guy and I can see this being a money pit with books, more equipment and so forth LOL

Comments? Opinions??



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Old 07-01-2008, 01:44 PM   #2
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You can buy a starter kit from your local Homebrew Store, or buy one online, buy an extract kit, and make very good Beer the first time out. Just be sure to read some of the posts in this forum category, and you'll be just fine. Water hardness and pH are more of a factor when doing all-grain batches than with Extract, because the Extract was made with water of the proper hardness and pH.



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Old 07-01-2008, 01:44 PM   #3
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Money pit? Ya definitely!

Water is one of those things you can obsess over or you can just roll with it. The short of it being that if it's good enough to drink, it's good enough to brew with so I say jump in and get started! I do all grain brewing in my apartment and the water in the whole building is softened, my beers turn out great.

Welcome to HBT!

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:49 PM   #4
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Pick up "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" before buying any equipment and get a feel for what your about to get into. Your first beer you make will always tastes great!

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:56 PM   #5
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Go to howtobrew.com and read Palmer's book. It's online and free. It was a great guide for me. I spent about two months online here and reading online before I started I my first batch is great!

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Old 07-01-2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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The first batch I made was a recipe I created for a Northern English brown ale; I was aiming for something along the lines of Newcastle (draft). It came out great -- not identical to Newcastle, by any means, but great. Yes, you can make very good beer from the start and, more importantly, you can adjust the recipe until you get exactly what you want. The only problem for me is that I keep wanting to try something else, so rarely make a similar batch twice. Of course, I'm only a few batches in (I've brewed nine batches), so that could change with time. I expect eventually I'll have a house beer that I keep working to improve and then others where I rotate the style.

As to water, I'm not crazy about the local water supply so I always use bottled water (just Wal-mart spring water); I'm brewing extract with steeping grains, so haven't worried about adjusting the chemistry. If I ever go all grain I might look more into the water chemistry.

Rick

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Old 07-01-2008, 02:38 PM   #7
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I don't think it has to be a money pit. You can get virtually all information online. If you can resist the temptation to buy new toys then you can also keep the cost low. It is very easy to fall into the trap of "I need <x> to improve my brewing" when really you just need to concentrate on your technique more than anything.

My tips to a new brewer (being one myself pretty much) wanting a palatable first brew is to keep the temperature within the correct range (65F to 70F max) and to stay away from the corn sugar and use malt as much as possible.

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:04 PM   #8
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If you made wine, you may have some of the stuff needed to make beer. You can get get by pretty inexepensively. I would buy with a pale for fermentation with cover and airlock, a bottling pale, some tubing and a bottle filler. I have actually used a carboy, autosiphon and tubing only also to fill bottles. Not the best, but it wo

I started with a basic brewers best kit, a brewers best english pale ale kit, and a large canning pot. I had a 5 gallon jug for camping and I bought water in that plus 2 extra gallons at the store.

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:09 PM   #9
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WOW - thanks guys. My plan is to purchase the Deluxe kit here

http://wineandhop.com/CatalogBeer/beerKits.shtml

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:25 PM   #10
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If I could suggest one thing - look into using Better Bottles instead of glass - less dangerous, lighter and cheaper to mail. Just my opinion...



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