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Old 09-21-2006, 04:11 PM   #1
defiant74205
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Default Starting out questions

First time poster here. I'm debating about getting into homebrewing and just wanted to pick everyones' brains.

1) How well do the extract kits taste and is that the best thing for a beginner to start with?
2) Most starter kits I have seen come with a primary fermenter and a bottling bucket. Do you recommend a glass secondary as well (I'm thinking I would like to have 2 batches running about a week behind each other).
3) Also has anyone tried the Brewferm kits (specifically Diablo). I'm on Belgium style beer kick right now and would like to possibly try that for my second batch.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 09-21-2006, 04:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defiant74205
First time poster here. I'm debating about getting into homebrewing and just wanted to pick everyones' brains.

1) How well do the extract kits taste and is that the best thing for a beginner to start with?
2) Most starter kits I have seen come with a primary fermenter and a bottling bucket. Do you recommend a glass secondary as well (I'm thinking I would like to have 2 batches running about a week behind each other).
3) Also has anyone tried the Brewferm kits (specifically Diablo). I'm on Belgium style beer kick right now and would like to possibly try that for my second batch.

Thanks in advance.

1. THey taste great! Personally steeping grains in a grain bag isnt hard at all, and will only benefit your brew. Steeping is letting the grains sit at ~155* for 45 minutes or so in a gallon of water. Then adding that to your boil.
2. If you can afford another glass fermentor I would definitely go that route. Plus in the secondary, not much CO2 is produced, and some may say plastic buckets arent the best way to go for a secondary, due to O2 getting in.
3. Im not sure. But there are many Belgian kits out there. Try you local homebrew store, or someone online.

Heres Northern Brewer's Belgian Ale list
http://www.northernbrewer.com/belgianales.html

And welcome to the site
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defiant74205
First time poster here. I'm debating about getting into homebrewing and just wanted to pick everyones' brains.

1) How well do the extract kits taste and is that the best thing for a beginner to start with?
2) Most starter kits I have seen come with a primary fermenter and a bottling bucket. Do you recommend a glass secondary as well (I'm thinking I would like to have 2 batches running about a week behind each other).
3) Also has anyone tried the Brewferm kits (specifically Diablo). I'm on Belgium style beer kick right now and would like to possibly try that for my second batch.

Thanks in advance.
1. Yes. I like the Brewer's Best kits, there are other good ones though as well. Make sure it comes with specialty grains, and avoid the pre-hopped extract "kit" cans. The BB kits and others like that give you extract (dry, liquid, or a combo), grains for steeping, hops, dry yeast, and everything else you need. Great way to learn the process and not have to stress too much about ingredients.

2. Yes. Secondary fermenter - glass carboy or PET Better Bottle, your choice - will have a dramatic impact on your brew. If you're doing a brew per weekend, you may want a couple. Generally, you ferment one week in the primary, then two in the seconary (can be more), so you may want to have a couple around. Bigger beers will often want some more-extended conditioning, so it's nice to have be able to leave a brew along in a carboy and not have to worry about needing it for the new batch.

3. I have not, maybe someone else has.

The hobby's awesome, more habit-forming than the end product, IMHO. Stick around here, there are a lot fo people a helluva lot smarter than me who are more than willing to help you out.
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:18 PM   #4
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I'm a new brewer myself, but after doing 1 batch without a secondary, I went out and bought a 5 gal. carboy to keep the production line moving (I'd get another if the wife would let me).

As for extract taste, there seems to be some mixed feelings about that but it's definately the way to go when starting out as you can get a feel for the process without worrying about the extra steps involved in all-grain. I for one plan on moving to all-grain once it's feasible for me to do so.

Anyway, welcome to the board, there's tons of great info here, and good call ditching the Mr. Beer.

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Old 09-21-2006, 04:24 PM   #5
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1. They are great. Get one with some specialty steeping grains and bittering/finishing hops. The process is straightforward and you will be amazed how good your first will taste
2. A secondary will only help your brew. I did not do one for my first batch, but did it for every batch after. If you have the scratch, picking one up is not a bad deal, and gives you an excuse to "F" around with your creation a little more than just watching it.
3. I have not tried Brewform, but Northern Brewer has a bunch. I have ordered kits from them before, and I was happy with the product, shipping, and overall quality, meaning that I would use them again if I ordered online (I have a homebrew shop near me

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Old 09-21-2006, 04:34 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick replies. So from your answers I'm assuming that I would be better off to choose the extract kits with crushed grains instead of the extract kit alone?

Can anyone recommend a good kit for first run (one that would be ready in a couple of weeks)? Also does the ready time on the Northern Brewer kits stand for the amount of time in Primary (~ 1 week) and secondary or how long you should wait after bottling?

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Old 09-21-2006, 04:45 PM   #7
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you make want to give your beer the 1,2,3 method.

1 week in the primary
2 weeks in the secondary
3 weeks in the bottle.


SO 6 weeks is about as fast your going to get. Ive drank beer after 4 and they are pretty good, but get better with those extra two weeks.

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Old 09-21-2006, 04:45 PM   #8
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I'm new also but I put a lot of thought into my equipment purchase. I have a 6.5g bucket primary, 6.5g bottling bucket, and a 5g better bottle secondary. I don't think you want batches running a week apart and here's why.

batch 1 does one week in the primary, then two in the secondary, then it goes into the bottles for 3 weeks.

If you brew batch 2 one week after batch 1, batch 1 will still be in your secondary when batch 2 wants to be. You may have the same issue with spare bottles even if you buy an additional secondary. That is, if you only have enough bottles for one batch, don't think you'll have them all drained and free a week after they're ready.

The tightest schedule I can think of with beginner equipment is two weeks. Batch 2 gets brewed on week two. After a week in the primary you can bottle batch one and rack batch 2 to the secondary that has just become available.

You can also wait until week 3 of batch 1. That is, brew next batch on the same day you bottle batch 1. Of course, this is a lot of work, but at least all your gear is out and being sanitized at once.

I like option two myself, but it may change.

Bobby

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Old 09-21-2006, 04:49 PM   #9
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For my first batch, I did the beginner's recipe in Palmer's How to Brew. I did a 2 week primary, and then bottled, conditioning for 2 weeks. I drank my first after the first week in bottles, maybe another 1 or 2 in that last week, and then the rest shortly after it was 4 weeks old. It was great! I did save a bottle to age for a couple months, and it was fantastic.

Moral of the story- it is ok to be in a rush for your first batch, but patience pays off. I have used secondaries for the rest of my batches and tried TRIED to let them age.

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Old 09-21-2006, 04:52 PM   #10
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i think everyone rushes their first batch though.

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