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-   -   I'm new to brewing what kits would you recommend? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/im-new-brewing-what-kits-would-you-recommend-384126/)

fearlessbanana 01-24-2013 04:41 AM

I'm new to brewing what kits would you recommend?
 
So the first videos I stopped upon was the craigtube series. I later read that all canned brewing results in a garbage product. I don't have the money or space for all grain brewing.. so my question is what would be an easy and efficient way to produce a quality batch? What style of brewing? And are there any kits or guides you could recommend me for that style. Forgive me if my terminology is off. I'm very new to all of this. Thanks

-Anthony

f0xtr0t 01-24-2013 11:36 AM

FYI while I would not recommend the canned kits although, there are some who make good beer from them. You don't have to go all grain to make good beer. You can make excellent (award winning) beer with extract. The key is ingredient selection i.e. making sure they are fresh. If you have a local home brew shop I would go there first. If you don't I would try an major online retailer as there stock should move pretty fast. It has been my experience that the things most likely to be stale are liquid male extract and hops. I would use Dry Malt extract and when you buy hops store them directly in the freezer. Technically you don't have to do a 1 hr boil when using Malt extract. It's already been done at the malting facility.

Remember when people mash grains they are trying to accomplish the same thing that a maltster does when they make extract. When we boil wort to make beer it needs to go through the 5 'ions' thats:
Carmalization - To add colors and flavor (done by maltster)
Volutization - so the unwanted flavors are boiled off (done by maltster)
Sanitization - so all the unwanted organisms are killed and we don't have infections
Concentration - so that we concentrate the wort and hit are desired Original Gravity very important in high gravity brews like barley wine
Isomerization - So that the alpha acids from the hops are delivered to the beer for taste and preservative function

I personally use austinhomebrew.com but that is because it is one day shipping for me. Try northern brewer, more beer, rebel brewer to name a few.

Sorry if I clubbed you over the head with too much info. There can be an almost overwhelming amount of information on this hobby. Might I suggest, Relax Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew. Also if you're a podcast fan there is a great show called Basic Brewing Radio It's on weekly and has past shows from 2005 archived all for free.

You might want to try this recipe for your first:
Title
15-Minute Late-Hopped Simcoe Ale* (you could sub simcoe with almost any 'C' hop (Chinook, cascade, centennial, columbus), amarillo, citra or maybe a 50/50 combo of amarillo/citra.)
Description
This is a perfect beer for a quick brew day. There's no need to boil extract for more than 15 minutes, and adding lots of hops near the end of the boil give bitterness and loads of flavor and aroma. Hopheads rejoice! (Five gallon volume)
Ingredients to add as water is heated and removed when temperature reaches 170F
1 lb. 60L Crystal
Ingredients to add at the start of the boil (malt extract, bittering hops, etc.)
6 lbs. Light Dry Malt Extract (total boil time = 15 minutes!)
Ingredients to add fifteen minutes before the end of the boil (flavoring hops, etc.)
2.5 oz. Simcoe Pellet Hops
Ingredients to add five minutes before the end of the boil (aroma hops, etc.)
1.0 oz. Simcoe Pellet Hops (5 min)
.5 oz. Simcoe Pellet Hops (Flameout)
Add after wort has been cooled to pitching temperature
Safale 05, White Labs California Ale Yeast, or Wyeast 1056
Instructions
Dry hop with 1.0 oz. Simcoe Pellets in secondary
OG 1.055 FG 1.014
ABV 5.4%
(Your mileage may vary)
Submitter
James Spencer
Rating

cageybee 01-27-2013 12:44 PM

ok, my first attempt is a disaster.....I was interrupted while brewing and left out the LME. do I trash it all and start over or can this batch be recovered? thanks

RM-MN 01-27-2013 01:40 PM

Since the LME is already extracted you should be able to recover this batch. Is it in the fermenter already? If not you can just bring the wort up to boil, turn the heat off an stir in the LME as the wort should be hot enough yet to pasteurize it.

I your wort is already in the fermenter with the yeast pitched you can use a bit of water with the LME and bring it to 160 F., hold it there for 10 minutes and chill it back to near the temperature of what is in the fermenter and add it. This isn't the best but it might be the best option you have now.

If you are willing to be a bit gutsy, you could just pour the LME into the fermenter. You chance getting an infection but I think the chance is small.

DougK 01-27-2013 01:46 PM

Here is the kit that I bought:

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/brewers-starter-kit-bundle.html


There is currently a Groupon for this kit for $62


http://www.groupon.com/deals/midwest-hydroponic-and-homebrewing-supplies-llc


With it, you can do extract brews and partial mash brews, and the only additional thing you need is at least a 16 qt kettle. You can also scale it up as needed. If you look at some of the other videos online, many of the all-grain brewers are still using ale pails (plastic buckets) for fermentation. There are a few that have gone to conicals, but a bucket will serve for a long time. Going to do 10 gallon batches? Get another fermenter bucket. Want to start doing secondary fermentation? Get some carboys. Want to keg instead of bottle? buy the kegging equipment.


For the most part, there seem to be very few things that you can buy for "real" brewing that become worthless if you graduate further along. If you primarily keg, you are still going to find use for the occasional bottle. If you have a conical fermenter, you still may use the plastic fermenter from time to time. Etc.

cageybee 01-28-2013 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RM-MN
Since the LME is already extracted you should be able to recover this batch. Is it in the fermenter already? If not you can just bring the wort up to boil, turn the heat off an stir in the LME as the wort should be hot enough yet to pasteurize it.

I your wort is already in the fermenter with the yeast pitched you can use a bit of water with the LME and bring it to 160 F., hold it there for 10 minutes and chill it back to near the temperature of what is in the fermenter and add it. This isn't the best but it might be the best option you have now.

If you are willing to be a bit gutsy, you could just pour the LME into the fermenter. You chance getting an infection but I think the chance is small.



thanks! I did in fact do as you suggests and heated the lme with some water. cooled it and added it slowly. fermentation is going great guns!

DaNewf 01-28-2013 12:22 PM

fearlessbanana,

You can produce very drinkable beer using canned kits. I've been brewing for a little over a year and every batch of beer I've made (except a couple of one gallon batches) has been based off a Coopers canned kit.

The instructions on the canned kits are usually geared towards turning out the beer quickly so that potential new brewers aren't turned off from it. If you make some small changes like replacing all/some of the sugar with DME or LME and fermenting longer at a lower temperature (I like 3 weeks at 18C) your beer will come out pretty good. Some people suggest buying a better yeast but so far I like the results I get with Coopers yeast. Who knows? Maybe I am really missing out by not ponying up for a different yeast. Some day I might experiment a little and find out.

That's just the very basic stuff you can do. You add hop teas to your kit or use it as the LME in a partial extract or a mini-mash. The kit is already hopped so this either reduces or eliminates a bittering hop addition which might reduce you boil times.

There is a lot of information out there on how to improve canned kits. You can make it as simple or complicated as you like.

You said you are restricted by money and are looking for an easy way to brew beer. A canned kit and some DME might be a good first try. You don't even need a brew kettle for this, you only need a way to heat up a couple of litres of water to dissolve the DME. A stove-top or electric tea kettle would do the job just fine.

Whatever you decide to do I wish you success. I started out brewing beer to save money and now I enjoy making it almost as much as I like drinking it. It's a fun hobby.

JimRausch 01-28-2013 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fearlessbanana (Post 4819838)
So the first videos I stopped upon was the craigtube series. I later read that all canned brewing results in a garbage product. I don't have the money or space for all grain brewing.. so my question is what would be an easy and efficient way to produce a quality batch? What style of brewing? And are there any kits or guides you could recommend me for that style. Forgive me if my terminology is off. I'm very new to all of this. Thanks

-Anthony

My 1st two brews, over a year ago, were 'Truebrew' kits which were Munton extract based with specialty grains steep. Turned out some pretty decent beer. I've expanded my horizons some, but am still using at least some extract in all my batches.
I think that most new brewers have similar learning curves. Start with the extract kits getting the basics down, then expand to partial mashes, and eventually to all grain. And above all, have FUN!
And pick up John Palmer's "How to Brew". Explains pretty much everything.


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