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Old 03-24-2011, 07:33 PM   #1
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Default totally new to homebrewing - feeling overwhelmed

I'm new to homebrewing. I haven't even bought a kit yet. I have been a big beer girl for a long time yet and want to take my hobby to the next level. But I'm already feeling overwhelmed with all the details. How can I begin in the shallow end and not feel like this is all hopelessly over my head?

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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How can I begin in the shallow end and not feel like this is all hopelessly over my head?
Buy a kit. Throw out the directions and find new ones here. If it were difficult, I wouldn't do it.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:37 PM   #3
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Most LHBS have brewing demos that they put on from time to time. Attending one of those is a great way to see the brewing process and realize that it isn't all that scary of a process.

The Complete Joy Of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian is a good book that will explain everything step by step.

I promise you that if you can boil water and keep things sanitized (not as hard as it sounds) you can make beer.

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:40 PM   #4
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IMHO, I think you should get a kit and buy Palmer. Read the sections in Palmer that are necessary for a kit (which isnt much). Then brew according to that.

Once you do this, then come back to this site to read and post.

Otherwise it would definitely feel overwhelming.

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:42 PM   #5
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Always on my mind. Catalina....seek and you shall find.....Catalina.....you were always so kind.....I'll be there for you.........

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:45 PM   #6
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Watch videos on YouTube. There are some crappy ones out there, but there are also a lot of good ones. Once you see it, you'll realize its really no big deal. You can also purchase "how to" vids from a lot of places online and probably at your LHBS

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ayoungrad View Post
IMHO, I think you should get a kit and buy Palmer. Read the sections in Palmer that are necessary for a kit (which isnt much). Then brew according to that.

Once you do this, then come back to this site to read and post.

Otherwise it would definitely feel overwhelming.
I read How to Brew before I did anything else. You won't understand a lot of it, but after a batch or two bells will start going off
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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First and foremost, relax. It's really hard to screw this up. Besides, this is a hobby, it's supposed to be fun.

Next get a kit of a beer you like, but stay away from high gravity beers that may take months to carb and condition, nothing is worse than making a batch of beer that won't be ready for 6 months or more.

Third, throw out the instructions and read this sticky in the beginner's section.

Fourth, read this thread to realize just how hard it really IS to screw this beer stuff up.

Fifth, see instruction number 1

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:53 PM   #9
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Have you looked into finding a local homebrew club? I learn best by watching and doing. My club often does a "teach a friend to brew day"...

If that's not an option, then buy a good starter kit from your local shop, buy an extract ingrdient kit, follow those directions and you'll get a good beer. Once you've done that once or twice, start reading and asking question to refine your process.

Brewing is fairly forgiving as a whole but there is ALWAYS room for improvement...

Things you'll want to focus on are:
- sanitation... Once you're done boiling the wort (the stuff you're gonna ferment), you have to be careful to not introduce anything that'll grow and infect your beer (spores, wild yeast and bacteria). I clean my stuff with PBW and then sanitize with StarSan (follow the directions for both). Just clean and sanitize anything that is gonna touch the wort/beer.
- fermentation... Try to keep your temperatures ~68 degrees and stable. If you're in San Fran and don't use a/c to cool your house, then consider putting the fermenter in a second bathtub (if you have one) because the water mass changes temp slower than the day/night temp fluctuations there. You can add a bit of ice or warm water if needed.

Those two things, if done correctly will produce good beer. If you've bought an ingredient kit, then it's a proven recipe that'll probably be good.

If you want a good starter read, look here: http://www.howtobrew.com/ no need to read the whole thing now, just read about the beginner stuff.

If you want to listen to some good podcasts, go here: http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong and listen to as many as you can... I just downloaded ALL of them and listen to them on my commute too and from work. I've learned a bunch and it's easier for me to digest than simply reading about it.

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:59 PM   #10
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I bought a kit from Northern Brewer - the cheapest one with buckets and everything. The best part was, the instructions were clear and concise, and there's a DVD right there in the box.

It really is hard to screw up. My first beer wasn't great, but I found that if you drank enough of them, you cared less. The second was better... the third is conditioning while numbers 4 and 5 ferment.

Oh, btw, it's addictive.

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