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Old 06-06-2009, 02:23 PM   #1
paradoc
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Default Introducing a friend to brewing - Any tips?

Greetings,

I have a friend who has never brewed who is going to come over this afternoon and we are going to brew a batch for him. This is his first time brewing, and I'd like to give him a good intro. We picked out an extract kit for him that looks pretty straightforward and also something he will like. I'm relatively new to brewing myself, and this is first time I've coached someone. Any tips from the pros out there (or noobs who had a good mentor) on things to do (or not to do!) to make it more enjoyable? Of course.. we will sample several of my own brews , and fire up the grill for some buffalo burgers RDWHAHB

Cheers!

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Primary: Pliny the Elder, Smoked Porter
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:30 PM   #2
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Have a few beers on hand, and a couple books if you have them.

I just had a (re-scheduled) big brew day last Sunday, and we had a good 8-10 people who knew nothing about brewing. They asked lots of questions, I let them read a lot of books and tried to explain everything as plainly as possible. I think many of them have overcome the mystery/fear, and one has asked to come back and watch another brew day in hopes of getting started himself.

I think the biggest thing you have to get across is that there are many ways of doing things, and all of them work. I spent a bit of time trying to explain all the equipment, and how you can do a lot of the things I was doing on the cheap without having to invest a lot in equipment up front.

If he stumps you with any questions, send him here. Most of all though, have fun!

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Old 06-06-2009, 02:30 PM   #3
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All's good except for INFORMATION OVERLOAD!!!

Practice the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method...especially once you start on your 3rd/4th brew of the day...

We all know there's more than one way to skin a cat.

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Old 06-06-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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In my job I have to train people on how to make new products. I think one of the most important things when training someone is to explain the reasons you are doing something in a particular order or method.

What makes sense to us (sanitizing, using a certain amount of water, siphoning rather than pouring) will not make sense to a beginner. It's human nature to try to find a easier or faster way to do a project but somethings should not be short cut.

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Old 06-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #5
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I'd emphasize that this process takes time. More time than most people believe. Many people think that they can have their beer in the primary for a week and then bottled and be drinking after week two or three. Essentially I try to encourage people to add at least another week to their expectations. Very hard for a first brew, obviously.

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Old 06-06-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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Hey,

I see your in Jackson, I'm just down the road in Star Valley. We might be the only homebrewer's on this side of the state.
I taught one guy how to homebrew and he went to school and became a brewmaster. He now works for a brewery in Denver.
Good Luck with your brew day.

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Old 06-06-2009, 05:47 PM   #7
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Only advice I'd give is to keep the beer consumption moderate until you have that batch in the fermentor. Then go barmy, of course.

I went to a couple of brew days at Bobby_M's (thanks dude) when I was getting started - he was very patient with the noobs and really helped me to understand what was going on. Fair play to you for getting someone started on the road to AG, kegs, yeast harvesting, basement bar convertions etc. etc. Most of my friends are more than happy to taste the product but no-one yet has shown much interest in getting into the hobby.

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Old 06-07-2009, 11:50 AM   #8
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Have a everything you need cleaned and set up so you can talk about the equipment used in the brewing process. But, don't get to distracted i've learned the hard way what happens and cleaning it up is a nightmare.

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Old 06-07-2009, 01:47 PM   #9
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Good thread. I have a friend coming over next week to check out a brew session to see if she wants to get into it as well. Great tips.

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Old 06-07-2009, 02:25 PM   #10
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Update: Brewday went very well. We had fun, and brewed what looks like a great beer. He enjoyed it and says he is going to order up a kit and start brewing! My tips for making it successful:

-I helped him pick an extract kit from AHS that fit his preferred taste and looked like a relatively straightforward recipe. Avoid the ones with 10-hops additions for the first go.
-I figured it was way easier and faster to do an extract kit the first time. I've only done a couple of all grains, so it was both faster and more enjoyable for both of us.
-I got all the gear setup ahead of time so we didn't have to mess around with setup and could talk about what the essential gear was for.
-I used dry yeast for the first time... Not sure why, but I've always used liquid yeast before. I figured it was easier to hydrate and pitch dry yeast than to deal with a starter. Fermentation was booming this morning. I plan to use dry yeast more often from now on.
-While we were boiling and cooling, I showed him a couple of the brewing websites, including this site, and gave him a few recommendations on starter kits if he decides to start brewing.

Most importantly, I found brewing with a friend to be more enjoyable than brewing alone... and will definitely do it again!

Cheers!

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Primary: Pliny the Elder, Smoked Porter
Secondary: Apfelwein
Kegged: Bee Cave Pale Ale, Belgian Dubbel, Apfelwein
Bottled: Vinnie's Blind Pig IPA
Next up: Pliny the Elder, my own IPA, Sake, homemade ginger ale

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