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Old 12-22-2005, 08:41 PM   #1
FrewBrew
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Default N00b Faq

I'm just sitting here, and decided that what this forum needs is an FAQ for the newby's out there. And what better place to post it thant he beginners brewing forum!?

Before you even think about starting, I strongly recommend picking up a book and doing some reading... this was the best thing that I would say, coming from someone who did it, is the most important step. I recommend Charlie Pappazian's "The complete Joy of Homebrewing". It goes through in decent detail whats going on at any given step of the way, and why you should do it.

So, starting from the very begining of the process, the first thing you'll need is equipment and ingredients. Where to get them, you ask? And indeed, I have an answer:
http://homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=701

The linked thread contains links to many different suppliers, some good, some not so good. There's feedback on them as well, Great thread!

As far as which kit to get? That all depends on how deep you want to get into the hobby. The basic starter kits contain a fermenter (generally a plastic 6.5+ gallon bucket. This will work fine for the new brewer. I still have mine now, although Im now using glass.

This brings up another topic: Glass vs. Plastic. They both have their ups and their downs. Generally you're going to be able to get a better seal with glass. The lids on the plastic fermenters aren't perfect, but will suffice. The fewer outside contaminants that can get into your fermentation (through the air or any other way) the more likely you will be to have a good brew. Plastic, on the other hand, doesnt break as easily, and is easier to clean. In the end, this is just a preferencial call.

There are also many ingredient kits available to the home brewer on the sites above. For the new beginner, I recommend doing a few extracts first, they're simple, and generally have good outcomes. Later on in your brewing "career", you can move onto partial mash, and all grain kits, but worry about that later... they're generally more costly setups, and take much more time to start the brew. Get the basics down first, and save yourself from ruining a few batches with the much simpler extract kits.

Once you have your ingredients and equipment, you're ready to brew, right? Wrong. Before you even think about brewing, you want to make sure that you first sanitize ALL of the equipment that's going to come in contact with your wort (beer before its fermented). There are many options out there for sanitation, some easier than others. There's a whole thread dedicated to the different sanitizers, and I recommend taking a look at it:
http://homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=2956

At this point you can start brewing... there are generally instructions that come with your kit, and I recommend reading them top to bottom before starting your first brew. It's better to know what's coming up, so while you're waiting for your boil, you can get everything ready that you need.

----more to come ----

__________________

Primary: 5 gal. Stout
Secondary: 10 gal. Belgian Witbier
On tap: IPA
Ready to brew: 10 gal. Fat Tire clone

Relax, don't worry, Have a Frew Brew


Last edited by FrewBrew; 12-22-2005 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:06 PM   #2
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Once you've got all of youre equipment sanitized, you're ready to start! In the case of an extract kit, you're going to want a brew kettle approximately 2 1/2 - 3 gallons large. You're going to fill it with 1 1/2 - 2 gallons of water (depending on the size of your kettle), and bring it to ~150 degrees. Once you've gotten it to that point, you're going to start the "steeping" phase. This is where we're going to treat the steeping grains like a tea bag. You're going to put your grains into the steeping bag, and steep them in the water for 15-30 minutes. I've found that the latter of the two gives me the best results. While the grains are steeping, maintain the water at 150 degrees. You can poke the grains with your spoon throughout the phase for better results.

Once you're done steeping, try to drain as much of the water back into your brew kettle as possible, and bring the water to a boil. Once it's at a boil, you're going to add your extracts, both LME and DME (Liquid Malt Extract and Dehydrated malt extract) to the wort (at this point, you've now got "wort") and stir them in.

Once your malts are dissolved, and you're water is boiling, you're going to start the boil phase. This is where you're going to boil the water for ~1 hour, and add your hops. Depending on your kit, you're going to add the hops throughout this phase. Read the instructions on your particular kit for particulars. The hops added towards the begining of the boil will be your bittering hops, and those at the end are the "aroma" hops.

While your wort is boiling, add 2-3 gallons of water (depending on how much is in your kettle) to your fermenter, this will make things easier when it comes time to add your wort.

Once the hour boil is up, you're going to want to cool your kettle to some extent. I recommend filling a tub with cold water, and setting the kettle in there to let it cool. Once the wort has reached ~90 degrees, you should be ok to pitch it. Add your wort to your fermentation vessel, and then stir your wort very well. You want to expose as much of the wort as possible to oxygen, as the yeast will require it to reproduce, and make that beautiful beverage we all love (beer, you idiots :P ).

At this point, you can take a gravity reading if you like. This step is NOT necessary, and you shouldn't worry about what the reading says, it will not effect your brew in any way shape or form, just will give you an idea of what the abv and abw will be.
Read this thread if you have any particular questions about why the readings are unimportant:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=212

Now you're ready to start brewing. Add your yeast (there are numerous threads dedicated JUST to yeast, you can search, or this one will outline preferences and has quite a few of the differences: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=643) and seal your vesel with an airlock.

Now it's time to wait! As Charlie says, sit back, relax, have a home brew! There is NO set time for how long you should wait until either a) transferring to a secondary fermenter or b)bottling (if you're not doing a secondary) it's all relevant to your brew, the temperature, and numerous other things.

The next section will start out with when to transfer.

__________________

Primary: 5 gal. Stout
Secondary: 10 gal. Belgian Witbier
On tap: IPA
Ready to brew: 10 gal. Fat Tire clone

Relax, don't worry, Have a Frew Brew

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