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Old 01-06-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
ducas
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Hi everyone,

I just got my first kit for Christmas, and I'm crazy excited! I'm getting married in July and I want to brew a batch for the wedding party as a gift. But obviously I'd like to get a few brews under my belt before I make it public. I figure I'll do alright, and I'm trying to not over think it. But I'm wondering if you all had any tips for me. Anything would be sweet to hear. (I have a Brewers Best kit of Summer Ale by the way.)

Here are a few things I'm thinking for the future:

1) Brewing with roses - (novelty for the wedding mainly). I saw a thread here about making a rose and vodka 'tea' and putting it in just before bottling to give it a reddish hue and not make it taste like perfume.

2) Brewing with honey - again I saw that the later I added the honey the better (around 150% after flameout) to give it decent flavoring.

Any other tips would be great. I basically just plan on making it step by step from the kit, especially this first one. After that I know I'll get more creative, like when I cook. But I'd love some practical tips.

Thanks guys, I'm pumped to be a part of this new club! haha

-Ducas

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Old 01-06-2012, 02:50 AM   #2
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For honey flavor/character you're better off using honey malt. IF you want a specific type of honey flavor, add it as fermentation is slowing down and/or prime with it (if you're still bottling). I've used honey and honey malt and prefer what honey malt gives the brew most of the time. Unless you want to get a brew to finish drier that is.

Brew often... You have a short time frame before the wedding batch, brew as often as you can to get the experience to make that one great.

Get more primaries. You can never have too many (unless you need to walk around them to get into bed, that might be a bit much).

Read up on the no secondary method for ales and batches using ale yeast. 95-98% of the ales we brew don't need to be racked before they go to bottle or keg.

Be patient. Time is your ally and best friend when it comes to brewing. Give the batch the time it needs to become great.

Learn to use the hydrometer. Take the OG reading, then confirm the FG with two readings 2-3 days apart at the end. IMO, not much point in taking a reading in the middle of fermentation.

The airlock is not a magical fermentation meter.

StarSan is a great sanitizer. Don't fear the foam and use the no-rinse sanitizers.
Fill a spray bottle with sanitizer. You never know when you'll need to spray something really quick to sanitize it.
Have some StarSan mixed up, and on hand, at all times. Even a small amount (2.5 gallons is easy to make) can be very handy.
Use StarSan to fill your airlock.

Use fermometers on your fermenters to see what the wort temperature is while fermenting. Try to keep it within the happy range of the yeast you're using.

Learn about starters. How to make them, when to use them (pretty much anytime you brew, a starter will be of benefit) and such. If you want to make smaller starters (for the batch size and OG) then get/make a stir plate.

Read up on using pure O2 to oxygenate your wort.

There's more, but that's all I'm going to type now. I'm enjoying my maple brown ale off of tap (had my English IPA earlier) so I'm relaxing...

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Old 01-06-2012, 04:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducas View Post
Hi everyone,

I just got my first kit for Christmas, and I'm crazy excited! I'm getting married in July and I want to brew a batch for the wedding party as a gift. But obviously I'd like to get a few brews under my belt before I make it public. I figure I'll do alright, and I'm trying to not over think it. But I'm wondering if you all had any tips for me. Anything would be sweet to hear. (I have a Brewers Best kit of Summer Ale by the way.)

Here are a few things I'm thinking for the future:

1) Brewing with roses - (novelty for the wedding mainly). I saw a thread here about making a rose and vodka 'tea' and putting it in just before bottling to give it a reddish hue and not make it taste like perfume.

2) Brewing with honey - again I saw that the later I added the honey the better (around 150% after flameout) to give it decent flavoring.

Any other tips would be great. I basically just plan on making it step by step from the kit, especially this first one. After that I know I'll get more creative, like when I cook. But I'd love some practical tips.

Thanks guys, I'm pumped to be a part of this new club! haha

-Ducas
Welcome Ducas!

Great place for any questions, and an even better place for research. Being able to ask a question here is really easy but sometimes takes a bit of time to get a response. So use the search function as much as you can to find the info you want right now.
Lots of great information above here, ill just add a little more that I find helpful.
- Get to know your local brew shop (if you have one) Prices on some things may be higher, but most of the things you wont have to pay shipping on and you will have people who should know what they are doing to get input from.
- Get a good hand book - How to Brew by John Palmer is the one I read to get started. But there are lots of them out there. ( Check the Library )
- Have a good place where you can control your temperature ( I think this was said already)
- And for when you get adventurous and want to start fiddling with recipes I like Beer Calculus . homebrew recipe calculator Its free and the info ( OG, FG, IBU, Calories, SRM) seems to be right on.
- BYO - Brew Your Own- is a great magazine that you can get a free issue from thier website. They have tips and articles on how to make equipment and recipes.
- Most importantly Have fun and let us know how it goes


BBS
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