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Old 02-25-2010, 09:44 PM   #1
Feb 2010
New Jersey
Posts: 144
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I just got a homebrew setup and I'm brewing my first five gallons of apfelwein. I'm 21 so I just recently became legal to drink beer. Prior to that, I was at college, so my exposure was mainly Natural Ice, or, when I was at a classy dorm room, Bud Lite. I've tasted very few "real" beers so far, but thus far I've figured out that I like stouts (I also love black coffee and espresso, so maybe I have a thing for bitterness), but I've scarcely tried any other beers.

What would you suggest I try to get an idea of what's out there, and to get an idea of what my first beer homebrew should be? This is partly to collect beer bottles before my apfelwein finishes up in a month or so. I have a case of bottles and some plastic soda bottles, though, so I'm not in a huge panic to get enough bottles to hold it.

PS: I also don't have a huge budget for this. I don't want to try anything really premium until I know what I like. Also, if it helps for local craft beers, I live in NJ.

Reason: Used HTML tags for italics...

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Old 02-25-2010, 09:49 PM   #2
Half-fast Prattlarian
GilaMinumBeer's Avatar
Jan 2008
Posts: 59,254
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Find a bottle shop that sells singles and try every one.

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Old 02-25-2010, 10:40 PM   #3
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,597
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Find a brewpub and order the sampler.
Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

"I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact." Elon Musk

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Old 02-25-2010, 10:47 PM   #4
Jan 2010
Tucker, Georgia
Posts: 34

I'd also suggest taking some time to get acquainted with different styles.

You could decide for a week or so you're going to try IPAs. Then move on to something else. Get exposure to several brewery's offerings of a certain type of beer. Take some time to enjoy it, understand what you are tasting and why it tastes the way it does.

Maybe go in with a friend or two. Put your money together and buy some singles to share.

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Old 02-25-2010, 10:52 PM   #5
LVBen's Avatar
Jan 2010
Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 1,343
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Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
Find a bottle shop that sells singles and try every one.

Also, it's not a good idea to use plastic soda bottles for home brew...

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Old 02-25-2010, 11:02 PM   #6
MarsColonist's Avatar
Jul 2008
Live Music Capital of the World, Texas
Posts: 384
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Some sort of Nut Brown beer is always a good starter. Kit recipes are typically pretty balanced.

Check out the BJCP guidelines(pdf) for beer styles. Each style has a listing of commercial beers that are good examples of the style; some are harder to find than others. If you like how it sounds, seek it out.

I have a couple of friends that meetup with me once a week and we typically get a 6er and a couple of bombers of stuff weve never had before.. makes for a good night.

"Luck is when opportunity meets preparation" - Seneca

Austin Zealots

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Old 02-25-2010, 11:56 PM   #7
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 6,922
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hang out on the boards and just listen to the commercial beers being talked about.

Also: Guinness, Bass Ale, New Castle Brown Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Pilsner Urquell, Stella Artois...just to name a few easy to find "non-Budweiser" type beers.

Also, try some lambic beers, especially the fruit lambics by Lindemann's (they are like $7 a bottle but utterly unique and interesting)
Primary: English Mild
On tap: Pale Ale, Lancelot's Wheat, English Brown Ale, Steam Beer, HoovNuts IPA
Bottled: MOAM, Braggot, Raspberry Melomel, Merlot, Apfelwein, Pyment, Sweet mead, Cabernet
Gal in 2009: 27, Gal in 2010: 34, Gal in 2011: 13, Gal in 2012: 10

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Old 02-26-2010, 12:06 AM   #8
the_Roqk's Avatar
Feb 2007
Central Florida
Posts: 941
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Go to a liquor mega store and see what they have on their shelves. It might take some trouble in finding these types of places but it will help you out in the long run. Especially if they have a variety of more than 20 brands. Like some have stated try them all. Hell, your 21. You got a lifetime ahead of you. I wish I had been that interested in "REAL" beer when I was your age. Get cracking!

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Old 02-26-2010, 01:55 AM   #9
Mar 2009
Posts: 23

Both Sam Adams and Flying Dog sell mixed 12-packs of their beers. This gets you 2 bottles each of 6 different beer styles to try. And the bottles are definitely reusable for homebrew. That's a pretty cost-effective way to try a variety of different beers.

Although both brewers make some nice beers, not all of their beers are regarded as the "best" in that style by most people. But it should give you an idea what styles you might like to explore in greater depth.

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Old 02-26-2010, 01:58 AM   #10
Mar 2009
Posts: 23

Also, some beer and liquor stores will let you buy mixed 6-packs of whatever beers you pick out for a fixed rate. Sometimes that can save you a little money over buying a bunch of singles.

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