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Old 06-03-2013, 12:00 AM   #1
ArizonaGoalie
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Default My top 10 tips for new brewers

Been brewing for 8 months now, with plenty of wins and my share of losses as well. Looking back, I sure was naive just starting out. So I put together these 10 tips for new brewers - things I wish I would have known then but know now. Of course, I have a lot more than 10 tips, but I shaved it down for y'all. Cheers!

(in no specific order)
1. Keep the first recipe easy! I brewed a simple Wit that turned out really good - made my friends say, "you brewed this??" Avoid trying to perfect a double IPA or and Imperial Russian stout right out of the gate. Keep it simple.

2. 1lb hops purchased online save you a lot of $$$$. I still buy my grains, malts, and specialty hops from my LHBS, but my go to yeast and hops get purchased online to save me a ton of dough.

3. Powdered yeast is great. Let me explain: I had several accomplished brewers tell me liquid is the only way to go, so it was they only way I went for months. Then I found Safale 04 and 05. For most of the styles I brew, these two powdered friends simply kick a$$. So experiment with both liquid and powder.

4. Never panic, it's hard to screw up beer. On my first batch my airlock backed up with krauzen and my friends on HBT were here to calm me down. Stuff will happen. It's beer. Relax and have fun.

5. Kits are fine, but get creative with your own recipes! If you have a LHBS with a friendly owner, he/she is just waiting to help you develop your own signature brew.

6. Get the outdoor gas burner. Best $40 I ever spent. Enough said.

7. Spend time here on HomeBrewTalk. Seems simple, I know, but some of the questions I see are easily answered by surfing a few threads. This site and the people on it are awesome.

8. Have spares of the essentials or only brew/bottle when your LHBS is open. We've broken thermometers, ran out of caps, forgotten hop bags, etc. It's key to have an extra thermometer, racking cane, hydrometer, etc. If it can go wrong eventually it will.

9. Experiment with 1 gallon batches. This is one of my big wins. Getting a 1 gallon fermenter and testing recipes small scale has been fun and I don't waste an entire 5 gallon batch on something that's mehhh.

10. Never brew 2 batches of 1 brew before you try it. Really, I made this mistake. Brewed a black IPA that I was so happy with out of the bottling bucket I brewed it again that night. Two weeks later I was shaking my head at 10 gallons of a beer that was average at best and missed the mark of where I was aiming.

Hope a few of these have helped you. Happy brewing!!!!

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Old 06-03-2013, 12:27 AM   #2
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Good points!

+1 on all of 'em

pb

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Old 06-03-2013, 12:45 AM   #3
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Sounds good! I'm at about the same place you are... I just had my first big mistake...

misread instructions and doubled the hops...and they were Nugget...so instead of 2 oz I used 4... and they are high alpha...so made a huge diff... now my RIS seems like an ultra hop...like 100+IBU

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Old 06-03-2013, 02:37 AM   #4
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Excellent post. Thanks.

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Old 06-03-2013, 02:54 AM   #5
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Very nice.

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Old 06-03-2013, 03:01 AM   #6
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Nice advice.

#11 the,Perrier control - spend your money on a way to control fermentation temperature before anything else as an upgrade. Partial boil kit brew can win awards if the fermentation is managed properly. Better upgrade than full boil, better wort chilling, better burner, keg, pretty much anything.

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Old 06-03-2013, 03:08 AM   #7
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Went to bottle last night and found u had 15 or so caps. Cost me an extra 1.50$ or so on priming sugar.

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Old 06-04-2013, 01:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyDoctor View Post
Nice advice.

#11 the,Perrier control - spend your money on a way to control fermentation temperature before anything else as an upgrade. Partial boil kit brew can win awards if the fermentation is managed properly. Better upgrade than full boil, better wort chilling, better burner, keg, pretty much anything.
Good one. I still struggle with temps, especially w/ picky yeast strains.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:57 AM   #9
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great advice all around.

if I might be so bold...

#11) PATIENCE! Slow your roll. Build up a pipeline. Give your beer the time it needs to perfect itself.

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Old 06-04-2013, 02:21 AM   #10
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#12) If using liquid yeast, make starters. Especially for higher gravity beers. With a minimal investment of a 1/2 gallon jug or growler, foam stopper and some DME, you can multiply your yeast population prior to pitching to get your brew off to a healthy start. A stir plate is nice, and will ensure even bigger growth, but is not essential. Simply swirling the starter in a jug every time you walk by it will build up a nice batch of yeast.

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