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Old 06-11-2012, 05:36 PM   #1
bedub
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Default Noob needing help to upgrade....

Ok so I have a Premium Homebrew Starter Kit, which I have brewed about 5 batches with. I have given a lot of beers out to people for feedback, which, for the most part, have come back with pretty positive remarks. Now I would like to upgrade my system a bit. I am asking for help as to what I should upgrade too. Now all of my recipes have come in the form a a kit, (1 extract, and 4 partial mash) so I guess what I am asking is...should I keep the course or upgrade?

Any help would do....

Thanks

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Old 06-11-2012, 05:38 PM   #2
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Partial mash seems like a great way to experiment with various grain combos while still using some extract malt for the backbone. Maybe experiment with that a while longer till you learn what combos work well with your own recipes. Or tweaking kits you like.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:37 PM   #3
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You could easily start doing recipes based off online recipes, or those from a book like "Brewing Classic Styles," or, "Clone Brews." There are plenty on this site as well. There is nothing wrong with a kit brew, they make buying materials easy, and you don't need storage for leftover ingredients afterward. But learning how to make your own recipe based on what you want to drink ... extremely rewarding.

As for bumping up difficulty or your system, you could do a few things. Perhaps try partial-mash like Unionrdr recommends. A lot of folks have been happy with brew in a bag (BIAB) as a step up, since it introduces them to full-grain. Full-grain brewing equipment could be purchased as well.

You could also approach things to help your brews become more consistent, like temp controlled fermentation, the equipment to make yeast starters from liquid yeast, a wort chiller, an aeration system, etc. And further you could approach things to help you store/serve/carbonate more easily, like a keg system.

For what it's worth, keep browsing here, and pick up a book or two on some more advanced brewing techniques (or check out the videos of the same.) You'll get more ideas about which thing you want to do first.

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Old 06-11-2012, 07:44 PM   #4
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I would hone your skills on things that will remain the same even after you "upgrade" to all-grain, like making yeast starters, getting a wort-chiller, carefully controlling pitching and fermentation temps, getting familiar with brewing software and how all of the numbers work and affect the recipe/process.

Once you've got those things down to a tee, making all grain recipes is a breeze. Coming up with your own recipes will be easy too once you understand the software inside and out. It's really just simple math, proportions, subtraction, etc.

For now, experiment with steeping grains/partial mash and different hops. You can tweak extract recipes by changing these things and the yeast. Once you get used to how those things affect your beer you can introduce a new process, all-grain brewing.

I WOULD recommend going BIAB to start. Get a large kettle, 10g. minimum is my recommendation, and a voile curtain or fabric sheet. If you have a blanket and can boil 6g. (turkey fryer or straddle two burners on stove)...you're all-grain with minimal equipment.

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