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Old 04-16-2009, 05:49 AM   #1
nitestick
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Default Just contemplating my first brew

hi, i got a ~50L keg of my grandad today and i've got a few questions as to how to start...

1. i understand i have to sanitise it first, what would be most effective/cost effective to do so (i live in Australia)?
2. any reccommendations on what type of beer i should start with. i seem to usually drink lagers or ales and my mate seemed to imply lagers are easy to brew, is that true?
3. the keg i got is ~50L. would i have to brew near the full volume? or can i brew a smaller batch? if i have to i guess i might invest in a smaller keg.
4. can anyone point me to a good dead simple resource for reading? someone told me to look for a book called "the joy of homebrewing", or something like that.

thanks for your time and patience. if i've missed something obvious and it annoys you, help or don't post, i'm a total noob.

edit: from what i can gather i need a form of air lock, a tap for the base (i believe the top and side are already threaded for these), a hydrometer and some sanitiser in the way of equipment. is that right?



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Old 04-16-2009, 06:13 AM   #2
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How to brew: How to Brew - By John Palmer



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Old 04-16-2009, 06:17 AM   #3
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thanks for the quick response. can you shed any light on the other questions, particularly number 3?

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Old 04-16-2009, 01:43 PM   #4
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You can boil whatever amount you want, but im not sure I would do a gallon brew, evap loss would be crazy.

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Old 04-16-2009, 02:21 PM   #5
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You got good advice from the person that suggested the "complete joy of homebrewing" by charlie papazian. This book is like the bible of homebrewing and you should pick one up. The link above is also a great resource though, and will do a good job until you can get your hands on a copy of the book.

As far as what equipment you are going to need, take a look at this website. NORTHERN BREWER: Beer Starter Kits

They sell starter kits and you basically need the stuff they have in their basic kits. You don't need to buy the kit, but you need to be able to do everything the kit can do.

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Old 04-16-2009, 02:25 PM   #6
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All beers are either lagers or ales. From what I've read, ales are easier because you don't need refrigeration.

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Old 04-16-2009, 02:47 PM   #7
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First off, both 'how to brew' and 'the complete joy of homebrewing' are good. How to brew is probably a bit better and has the advantage of being an online resource.

Ales are definitely simpler to brew. They can generally be brewed at room temperatures, unless your 'room' is unusually warm or cool - ale yeasts generally prefer 65-70 degrees (farenheit). Lagers work best at much lower temperatures. Also, for true lagers they require lengthy lagering periods. An ale can be ready to bottle (or keg) to 2 - 4 weeks. I'd recommend starting with an ale just to get the hang of the process and the quicker completion time.

As for your keg, I'm used to US measures, but I think 50 liters is a lot. Most brew kits and recipes are for 5 US gallons which I think equates to 19 liters.

But don't let any of this scare you off. This is a great hobby with the benefit of producing pretty good beer, mostly.

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Old 04-16-2009, 03:08 PM   #8
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50 liters is about 13.2 gallons. That's a pretty good sized kettle. Most brew kits I have seen are to make 5 gallons(18.9 liters) of beer. This is of course in the States, I don't know if your planning do brew using a kit or make your own recipe, also, I don't know if there is a homebrew store in your area but if there is they will proabably have some kits for you to choose from.

As far as styles, that depends on what you like. If you like hoppy, or mildly hoppy beers, maybe try a simple IPA, or a Pale Ale.

Something else to consider is whether you will brew with extract or partial mash or even all-grain. Extract is the easiest (generally speaking). These are the extract kit instructions frmo my local homebrew store, take a look at the whole thing but especially the section about "on brew day".

Good Luck!

http://docs.northernbrewer.com/general_beer_kit_instructions.html

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Old 04-16-2009, 03:13 PM   #9
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Ahh they like noobs , but only if they are well done
What is your intent for the keg, "a keg does not beer make
+1 on looking at whats in a starter kit. a lot of the items needed can be found by scrounging around, which is half the fun as youo have found out just by getting the keg. and you have already foudn the best site to answer any and all of your noob questions wit tons of experianced , and not so experiance help
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitestick View Post
hi, i got a ~50L keg of my grandad today and i've got a few questions as to how to start...

1. i understand i have to sanitise it first, what would be most effective/cost effective to do so (i live in Australia)?
2. any reccommendations on what type of beer i should start with. i seem to usually drink lagers or ales and my mate seemed to imply lagers are easy to brew, is that true?
3. the keg i got is ~50L. would i have to brew near the full volume? or can i brew a smaller batch? if i have to i guess i might invest in a smaller keg.
4. can anyone point me to a good dead simple resource for reading? someone told me to look for a book called "the joy of homebrewing", or something like that.

thanks for your time and patience. if i've missed something obvious and it annoys you, help or don't post, i'm a total noob.

edit: from what i can gather i need a form of air lock, a tap for the base (i believe the top and side are already threaded for these), a hydrometer and some sanitiser in the way of equipment. is that right?
1. Check out One Step or Starsan. Sanitizers are pretty cheap compared to the rest of the brewing cost. Both of those are "no-rinse" sanitizers. I like "no-rise" because it saves the step of rinsing them off.

2. True Lagers are more difficult because you have to keep them cold while fermenting. This also causes the yeast to work mores slowly making the fermentation take longer. BTW, isn't winter a few months away for you guys? Winter is a good time for lagers if you have a cold basement. Also some kits sell you "Lagers" with Ale yeast. These aren't true lagers, they are just beer with a "lager" style taste. If you do one of these you need to follow the temperature recommended for the yeast.

3. Are you talking about using a keg for boiling your brew or for kegging?


You may want to check out the Coopers kit. That's how I started. Coopers is from Australia, so maybe you'll save on shipping costs. It's an easy way to start and you can use the same equipment as you advance to more complicated styles of brewing.


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