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Old 01-10-2013, 01:57 PM   #1
selwynorren
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Hello guys,

My story is probably similar to so many. For Christmas I purchase a CopperTun Home brewery starter kit, It came with what I hope to be a great German Lager, I brewed, fermented and its now in the bottled stage for two weeks (Followed instructions - )

I purchased the following kit:
http://brewcraft.co.za/kegcraft-prod...category_id=35

I am pretty excited to crack open my first bottle. I have already purchased some more recipe kits from my supplier and a great spiced lemon wheat beer is up next.

Now pouring over all the posts here and the millions of resources all over the net, I find I am pretty overwhelmed at this stage. I would like to take this hobby a little further than just the kit I purchased. But where to next?

How did you guys progress to the full three tierd systems etc.? I would love to hear your advice

Thanks

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Old 01-10-2013, 02:26 PM   #2
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The first step to this hobby is getting all the basics down and fully understanding what is involved in the process of making great beer and trust me, one kit is not going to do that

Try your first beer and get another beer going. When you crack your first, take notes and see how the beer develops over time with flavor. If you notice any issues with it do some research to see what may have gone wrong.

Things to concentrate on in process are:
1. Sanitation and cleaning
2. Pitching the proper amount of yeast, re-hydrating dry or making starters for liquid
3. Controlling fermentation temperatures
4. Proper carbonating and conditioning of your product

The system you use is not what makes great beer, it is the process you follow and using best practice in all steps makes the best beer. I recommend the book :How to Brew" by Palmer, "Yeast" by White/Zainesheff, "Brewing Classic Styles" by Zainesheff as great references for really understanding what goes into brewing great beer.

There are many people that make outstanding beer using very basic DIY components that don't cost a lot of money so don't get hung up on spending a lot of money to think you are going to get better beer for it. As you mature as a brewer and gain better understanding of what goes into making great beer you can then begin to decide what type of system will work best for you.

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Old 01-10-2013, 02:52 PM   #3
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I agree with duboman. You need to take your time with learning the process before you jump in head first. I brewed at least 5 kits and probably 15 total partial grain beers before I ever started with all grain. That being said, I would have never started all grain if it had not been for a new friend of mine that I went to his brew day and watched how easy it was (relatively speaking). If you can find some friends that are more experienced and have made the jump to all grain then it will be much easier for you to make the jump. Read as many books as you can to get the understanding of why you are doing what you are doing. Otherwise you will never understand when something goes wrong or when you get some off flavor in your beer.

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:05 PM   #4
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take it slow... brew some EZPZ foolproof kits or recipes to get you used to the procedures to follow. Starting with Lagers, and a lot of weird difficult beers could discourage you.

Stick with some basic Ales and Wheat beers... then graduate to the other stuff.

Learn how to use and read a hydromter correctly...

PATIENCE! Learn it, live it, love it...

Learn how to pitch yeast correctly... including when to use a yeast starter...

Learn how to areate wort...

Get your sanitation methods nailed down...

Get and learn how to use an auto-siphon... (you'll thank me later)

Learn how too cool wort efficiently...

Learn how to maintain fermentation temps in regards to your setup, and where you live... Depending on the beer, and the time of year, you might have to use a heat source or a cooling source to maintain proper temps.

There are more... but these are the basics that I could dream up with only 2 cups of coffee under my belt this morning.

Also there is nothing wrong with brewing Extract beers. The quality and amount of good extracts out there are plentiful. Move to all grain when you've mastered the brewing process with extracts.

Too many cats have jumped in full bore trying to brew high ABV beers, strange recipes, lagers, etc..., then get a little upset when things go awry. You will be in a constant learning environment in this hobby. Just when you think you have it all nailed down, something will change, or you'll read something that will make you rethink your process.

Go slow... take your time... remember, you got into this to enjoy it, and not curse it everytime you brew. Have fun!

Gary

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:14 PM   #5
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While I agree with what everyone above has said I don't think that's necessarily a good enough reason to not BEGIN your progress to a fancy all grain system.

I started brewing in Dec of 2011. By Dec of 2012 I was brewing on my new fancy all grain stand. Keep in mind this thing took me 8 months to build! All the while I was honing my skills and practices. I bought supplies for yeast starters, got a freezer for fermentation control, began buying all my pots and burners and books etc! But I still brewed simple partial mash extract kits from my LHBS.

Yes, work on honing your skills, but don't think you can't start planning and building for the future!

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrshotshot View Post
While I agree with what everyone above has said I don't think that's necessarily a good enough reason to not BEGIN your progress to a fancy all grain system.

I started brewing in Dec of 2011. By Dec of 2012 I was brewing on my new fancy all grain stand. Keep in mind this thing took me 8 months to build! All the while I was honing my skills and practices. I bought supplies for yeast starters, got a freezer for fermentation control, began buying all my pots and burners and books etc! But I still brewed simple partial mash extract kits from my LHBS.

Yes, work on honing your skills, but don't think you can't start planning and building for the future!

Attachment 93393
That's a great looking rig! To clarify, I am not trying to discourage the OP about jumping in and going all grain but a lot of newer brewers think that if they up their equipment they automatically make better beer and as you stated in your post, you worked towards the items I mentioned to improve your brewing AS you built your rig and moved to all grain. That is the key!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post

That's a great looking rig! To clarify, I am not trying to discourage the OP about jumping in and going all grain but a lot of newer brewers think that if they up their equipment they automatically make better beer and as you stated in your post, you worked towards the items I mentioned to improve your brewing AS you built your rig and moved to all grain. That is the key!
I know. Wasn't trying to come across like that. Just wanted to show you can do both at the same time. And thanks for the compliment!
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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A lot of good information posted here. I'm a new brewer myself and will say I am glad that I began with Extract brewing. You can get your start without investing a huge amount of money into it, and upgrade cost to all grain are much easier when you have the basic equipment. It will help you build your basic skills like everyone has stated and nearly all of them will transfer over to what you need to do in all-grain brewing.

When you were first learning to drive you don't want to jump with busy rush hour traffic before you know the basics... Same type of thing here, learn the process in steps and once you be come more comfortable with it jump to what you want to do next. Many people do extract brewing and have no want to move up to all-grain for various reasons. You can make quality beer using either by perfecting your other practices (Yeast Pitching!!!) but you can gain more control over your final product when you get into the AG.

For me, I'm ready to have a system like mrrshotshot, that thing is awesome, but I don't have the time, space, or money to build one at this point...

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Old 01-10-2013, 05:19 PM   #9
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I'm a new brewer as well. I have done 2 Mr Beer recipes, then bought carboys, fermenting buckets, siphoner, 30 quart kettle, etc. I then did a LME IPA, that I just bottled the other day. I just did my FIRST partial grain, LME, DME, etc Irish Stout kit the other day and that is sitting in my carboy. I also did my first wine kit the other day that is still sitting in a bucket fermenter.

I personally still think I have a long way to go before i'll upgrade, so take it easy I will probably do 1 more partial grain kit, before I attempt an all grain recipe, just to get my skills up better.

After I do 2 - 3 ALL grain/hops recipes, and assuming they turn out well, THEN I may upgrade to 10 gallon equipment. That is my path i'm personally thinking about.

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Old 01-10-2013, 05:29 PM   #10
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You also dont hvae to have a 3 tier system like the one pictured, though it is badass. I use my truck bed a chair and the blacktop on my driveway. Mashing and lautering usually takes place in the same 10 gallon cooler.. Its simple, relatively inexpensive and runs on gravity. I started in April 2011 and have an easy 20 brews under my belt. It only took me two extract batches before going all grain. If its somethi g you plan on doing for some time to come, jump right in. It steepens the learning curve and youll have fun doing it.

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