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Old 11-29-2007, 03:12 PM   #1
Silviakitty
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Default A Newbie's First Brew

Hi, all.

I'm Extremely new to both brewing and this forum (started my first batch Sunday, and within a couple of days had found this place), so I'll go ahead and throw some information about my setup here (so you guys can snicker. ).

I've started with the Mr. Beer Deluxe kit, which comes with a West Coast Pale Ale starter kit. That's what I've got in the fermenter right now. I was going to make it just as the instructions said for the first batch and start experimenting later, but decided to throw half a cup of honey in there while I was at it. We'll see how it goes.

So in addition to the original kit, which comes with a plastic fermenter keg-thing, a bunch of bottlecaps, and the stuff for the first batch, I picked up a box of the mr beer liter plastic bottles. I then came home and ordered a second fermenter keg, a priming sugar measure, and the stuff for a few more batches. That stuff should be in today or tomorrow.


I'd like to eventually learn to put together my own recipes rather than just buying kits. The more research I do, the more I'm eager to branch out. However, in the little bit of research I have done, it seems that preparing the malt yourself rather than getting extract takes a good amount of space. I'm in a small apartment...has anyone found success in doing this in small spaces?


By the way, this seems to be an exceedingly friendly forum; I'm glad I stumbled upon it.

thanks much,
Silviakitty

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Old 11-29-2007, 03:18 PM   #2
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Welcome to HBT!

There are a few all grain brewers who brew in apartments, so it's definitely doable! It's probably easiest to start off with extract brewing and some steeping grains, though. First, to see if you really like brewing! And then secondly, there might be some limitations with your apartment. For example, can your stove acommodate a 7 gallon boiling pot? Mine can, but most people have trouble bringing even 3 gallons of wort to a boil on some stoves. Here's some great ideas on how to begin: http://howtobrew.com/intro.html

Again, welcome!

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Old 11-29-2007, 03:37 PM   #3
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With great restraint, I'm not going to badmouth Mr. Beer. What I will suggest is that you do not put anymore money into additional Mr. Beer equipment. Play with what you have now. After you've used all the Mr Beer ingredients, hop on over to morebeer.com or austinhomebrew.com or any other major place online and get an extract + steeped grains kit and a 6.5 gallon food grade bucket with lid and have at a full 5 gallon batch. It will change your life.

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Old 11-29-2007, 03:57 PM   #4
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Hey welcome aboard - the best advice I can give to you is to do what you enjoy and whatever makes good beer. Myself I make prehopped kits because it is quick - easy and I like the beer that they make. It suits mylifestyle well. Somepeople perfer extract brewing with steeping grains because it gives them more control over the finished product. Some people like the whole process and result of making an all garin brew. Start out slow and find the process that you enjoy - nothing like having a constant stock of good beer in the closet

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Old 11-29-2007, 03:58 PM   #5
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This is what I've been hearing. I picked up the Mr Beer kit because I wasn't sure if brewing would catch my interest...but I'm so excited about this little plastic keg I can't even tell ya. *grin* so I have a feeling that I'll be picking up a more sophisticated setup relatively soon, and the Mr Beer kegs'll be relegated to smaller batches (maybe mead, which I also want to make...and have found a nice and easy recipe for in the mead forum here. ).

Any advice is appreciated, and as that's about the third time I've seen austin home brew mentioned, I'm going to come to the conclusion they're a pretty good company to work with.

Thanks again.

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Old 11-29-2007, 06:06 PM   #6
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Congrats on the new hobby...I too started with the Mr. Beer Kit, they were on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond But I agree on not buying any more stuff, your money would be better spent on other stuff, and the prices are good if you shop around. I paid 30 bucks for Mr. Beer, that 30 would have gotten me my Primary Fermentor(13 bucks), air lock+stopper(4 bucks), and auto siphon....I also use glass bottles instead of plastic, I dont have anything bad to say against plastic because I have never used them, I just like glass. But about a week ago I got into kegging...SOOOOO sweet Everyone also says they use their old Mr. Beer Kegs to make Alpenwein(sp)...I guess its applejuic wine, or hard cider, gotta do more research, but it sounds like everyone has a batch going ...THis is a great place to learn, I have learned a ton. Im using up all my Mr. Beer kits, and have made 2 5 gallon batches also. Me second one is still in the secondary(rouge dead guy ale clone)....So have fun with your Mr. Beer, and im sure you will move on to bigger stuff shortly like I did....

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Old 11-29-2007, 08:57 PM   #7
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Mr Beer is a cheap way to get into brewing, however very little of the equipment and not much more of the lessons scale to real homebrewing. However an entry kit from an HBS probably starts at under $100 including the first ingredients, and nearly everything will be useful as you progress in your brewing hobby. In addition the beer will be better. I got a kit about a year ago and after a dozen batches I am still using all the equipment despite progressing to all-grain and experimenting with wine and mead.

As for sampling, chances are it will not ruin the beer but you never can tell. Each time you sample it increases the chance of infection but the chance should be small. The hardest thing to learn with brewing is patience. It takes a few days for the beer to ferment, but it takes a few weeks before it is ready to bottle and a few more weeks before it starts getting good to drink. Making beer in a month is a rush schedule, 2 months is better. Big beers can take 6 months or more. Ofcourse that is fast compared to wine and mead.
Craig

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Old 11-29-2007, 11:40 PM   #8
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I think the secret to "patience" is brewing a lot. Its a lot easier to be patient when you're sitting on 4-5 cases of good brew.

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Old 11-30-2007, 12:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutilated1
I think the secret to "patience" is brewing a lot. Its a lot easier to be patient when you're sitting on 4-5 cases of good brew.
Of course then, the "patience" needs to be replaced with "restraint." Especially when you've got 10 gallons of beer in the kegerator, 5 gallons of kegged Apfelwein in the keg-fridge and a few cases bottled and carbed...plus another 25 gallons or so in various stages of fermentation or conditioning. (Plus you've already bought the ingredients for the next 15 gallons!!)

Where does it all end?
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Old 11-30-2007, 12:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutilated1
I think the secret to "patience" is brewing a lot. Its a lot easier to be patient when you're sitting on 4-5 cases of good brew.
This couldn't be truer. Before my hefe was "ready" to drink this weekend, it was all I could do keep from grabbing one anyways. Now I have a milk stout a fermenting, and other than checking up on it twice a day, I'm not going crazy like I did with the first one. Mostly because I am now drinking the fruits of my labor.
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