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Old 12-27-2008, 04:38 PM   #1
I-Hop
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Default New to homebrewing

For Christmas, my wife just got me a True Brew Maestro kit (beginner's brew kit) which comes with a Basic Brewing Book, 6.5 Gallon primary fermentor with lock and lid. Bottling bucket w/spigot, bottlefiller, adhesive thermometer, Rack and Fill Kit, Hydrometer, capper, bottlebrush, auto syphon and santizer. She also got me a 20 quart stainless steel brewpot and an ingredient kit for a Hophead IPA. I also already have plenty of 22 oz. bottles.

I have been brewing at a "Brew Your Own" type of establishment that provides you the equipment, recipes, and ingredients to brew a 15 gallon batch at their facility. The employees at this facility walk you through the brewing process and do all the clean up. Not a bad deal at all, and the employees & owners have always been excellent. But I thought I'd like to tackle brewing at home for the convenience as well as the ability to tweak recipes or come up with my own recipes altogether. There are a few clones that I am dying to try out too.

My questions to all of you are:
Is there any more equipment I might need to start brewing at home?
Does anyone have any tips for a newbie?

Thanks in advance for your help. I am chomping at the bit to get started here. I've got 4 cases from the BYO place in my beer fridge which I am feverishly consuming to make room for my 1st batch.

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Old 12-27-2008, 04:44 PM   #2
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I have never brewed extract... but it sounds like you are ready to go! My only advice is to ask a lot of questions, search the threads here for information, and relax.

Welcome to brewing, Happy Holidays

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Old 12-27-2008, 05:51 PM   #3
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I would say to read as much as you can.
There are a couple good homebrewing book on the market, John Palmers is a good one and like the above post, ask questions.
I would add a stainless steel slotted spoon to your list for lifing the hop/malt bags and for stirring your wort.

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Old 12-27-2008, 07:38 PM   #4
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Welcome....

A good online book....

How to Brew - By John Palmer

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Old 12-27-2008, 07:43 PM   #5
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This is a good thread with info (and some opinions, by those who don't necessarily know the difference between advice and opinion)

This is pretty much stock full of NEWBY TIPS...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ston...-advice-54362/

Also you will find a huge amount of info at the top of each section, in the form of stickies...just about every nervous new brewer question has been covered in there as well...

And our search function is a decent resource as well...More than likely the same basic question has been answered several times alread...so You might find the basic answer covered..you can always bump one of the old threads with a further more deeper question after you've read that.

Welcome to your new OBSESSION...

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Old 12-27-2008, 08:34 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick responses.
I have been reading many different threads here in HBT. This place is a wealth of information. I also have a couple of books on homebrewing that I received for Christmas. I plan on buying a s.s. slotted spoon to use only for brewing.

As I mentioned in my 1st post, my 1st batch will be a Hophead IPA. It is a DME kit theat came with the dry extracts, grains, hops, yeast etc. How do I prepare the grains for steeping? Do I need a mill or can I just roll them with a rolling pin or something to that effect?

Also, the kit came in a box that my wife hid from me till Christmas. The yeast was in this box and remained un-refrigerated for a couple of weeks. I have refrigerated it once it was in my possession, but fear it may have spoiled. Should I still use this yeast or just purchase a new vial?

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Old 12-27-2008, 08:58 PM   #7
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You can roll them with a rolling pin, but be prepared...it's pretty tiring if you have much there.
I don't know the answer to you yeast question... is it dry or liquid?

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Old 12-27-2008, 09:00 PM   #8
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If you were planning to make a yeast starter you could certainly do that and see if the yeast is viable, but if you were planning a direct pitch then I would definitely replace it first. I'd probably get another one anyway in case the starter didn't work.

Other than that the biggest mistake I think newbies make is trying to rush the process. It doesn't look like you have a secondary fermenter (and it's not necessary anyway) so I would suggest leaving your beer in the primary fermenter for 3 weeks before bottling (after checking the FG of course).

Good luck with your brew and welcome to HBT.

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Old 12-28-2008, 03:43 PM   #9
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The yeast is a pitchable liquid White Labs British Ale yeast. I think I may just pitch it in the trash. LOL It is only around $8 for a new batch of yeast, so I think it is worth the $8 for piece of mind and a quality beer.

As for the grains, I may try to place them in a ziplock freezer bag and roll them with a rolling pin. It may take a while to roll them all, but like many of you have said - it's better to take your time.

Thanks for the advice. I look forward to gaining experience in my new obsession.

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Old 12-28-2008, 06:22 PM   #10
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Start drinking-heavily- You are going to need the bottles. I like sierra nevada bottles.

Look on Craigslist. I searched beer, and found a lot of gear for sale from people that have
stopped brewing.

My next brewing purchase is going to be a turkey fryer, so I can brew outdoors. much better than stove top.

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