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Old 12-16-2010, 02:15 AM   #1
wizardofwoz
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Default Recommendations for 1st extract brew

I'm planning on brewing my 1st batch ever over the holidays this year (extract) as "all I want for Christmas is my 1st homebrew kit"

My favorite type of beer is the Belgium Trippels, Quadrupels, and most winter ale (Scaldis and Great lakes Christmas ale for commercial beers)

Considering the Belgiums typically take 9-12 months to ferment properly (from what I've read) I was wondering what the experts recommend for a good 1st extract kit... Other commercial beer that I love are arrogant bastard and Newcastle brown.

Also, whats the consensus on using the 1% alcohol boosts?

Thanks for the help everyone!


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Old 12-16-2010, 02:23 AM   #2
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do a pale ale for the first, to just get a feel for it. those can be ready to bottle in 3 weeks, and ready to drink 2 weeks after that. don't do the boosts; they make the beer harsh, and make it burn. the 1 time some1 slipped 1 in on me, i didn't like it. a hefeweizen isn't supposed to be harsh, and it was.


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Old 12-16-2010, 02:26 AM   #3
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I'm a noob myself with less than a dozen batches under my belt, BUT...

If you like Newcastle, do a brown ale kit. One of my first batches was an extract brown ale that I did here with a friend and it was awesome.

As for the alcohol boost :shrug: I usually wind up throwing an extra pound or so of extract in my brews, but that's just me. I can't say I would recommend it.

For your first few batches, just focus on following the recipe (unless it says ferment for 5-7 days and bottle. Ignore that part and use your hydrometer after 2 or 3 weeks to tell you when it's ready!) and getting used to the process.

You're right to be leery of big beers to start off with, everything takes longer, fermentation, conditioning, bottle carbing, all. takes. longer.

Have fun!
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizardofwoz View Post
Considering the Belgiums typically take 9-12 months to ferment properly
I'm pretty sure you can brew a belgian abbey ale or something in a lot less time than that.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:35 AM   #5
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The Belgian beers and winter ales you like will be a little hard to do properly in an all extract recipe. You'll need to at least steep some grain, if not move to a partial mash to really have the flexibility for that.

A nice brown ale could be pulled off all extract though.

Really big Belgian beers can take a long time, but there's plenty of them that you can brew in a much shorter amount of time and have them be great.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:38 AM   #6
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Chshre, I'm glad you're on. Please check my post in Brandon O's graff thread.

Wizard, for your first brew keep it simple. An all extract Hefe is good or try one of the kits from Williamsbrewing.com (ie. Brown Ale) as they are all extract.

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Old 12-16-2010, 02:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D0ug View Post
I'm a noob myself with less than a dozen batches under my belt, BUT...

If you like Newcastle, do a brown ale kit. One of my first batches was an extract brown ale that I did here with a friend and it was awesome.
Also a noob with only 3 brews... but my first was also a brown ale. I'd vote for this too, since subtle off flavors won't be as apparent as with a pale ale. The brown might take a week or so longer before its really good, but I think you'd be pretty happy with it. Especially if you like maltier beers like dubbels and tripels, but don't want to wait an eternity to taste your first beer (trust me you wont!)

Happy brewing, if your first one goes well i'm sure you'll get addicted like the rest of us!
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizardofwoz View Post
Considering the Belgiums typically take 9-12 months to ferment properly (from what I've read) .
Who told you that. They are in the commercial beer business. You can get a decent Belgian in the bottle within a month. Lambics and Flanders (Sours) will take a year+, and are best left until you have a little experience and some understanding of what you are doing, but a Blonde, or Belgian Strong Ale is relatively simple. FYI: Chimay is a standard beer. I would not recommend a Belgian for a beginner as you need to use liquid yeast and control temperatures higher than normal. If that is what you want to brew, it will not take long to get to them.

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Originally Posted by wizardofwoz View Post
Also, whats the consensus on using the 1% alcohol boosts?
Don't mess with it. Start with a Pale Ale (or a Brown ale) and just follow the instructions. Don't add any extra sugar or booster. These are a couple of simple beers to start with.

The only thing I would recommend is get a decent yeast for the kit. Nottingham, or S-04 are good for English Ales, US-05 is good for American (they can be interchanged, but do have slightly different characteristics). If the kit has Windsor, Muntons, Coopers, or a no-name yeast, get a different yeast. Those 3 are low attenuators and you will be back asking why the beer finished so high.

As noted earlier. Ignore recommendations to rack to secondary. Unless you have a reason to rack to secondary, the beer will happily sit on the yeast for a month. The less you touch it, the less you can screw it up.

Once you have an idea of what you are doing, you can 'boost' the alcohol by using extra malt extra, but why boost the alcohol? If you want to boost the alcohol of a Pale Ale, why not do an IPA and increase the hops to compliment the increased malt.

Good luck.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:02 AM   #9
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Pale Ale, Porter or Stout imo
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:52 AM   #10
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NB American wheat...4 weeks from start to drinking and its a nice beer


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