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Old 08-10-2012, 01:41 AM   #11
xMalachi
 
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I think the best recommendation I can make is to do as much prep work as you can. I think reading some experiences that others have had can be extremely beneficial as well. I read through the first chapter of John Palmer's book before I even decided if homebrewing was for me. My wife will tell you that I get a little bent out of shape when things go wrong during my brew but I try to let the mistakes go because I can't change them. I like to get the sanitizing process going before I even start brewing. Homebrewing is supposed to be a hobby and fun so don't get stressed over it.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:06 AM   #12
Gitchigumi
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Aug 2012
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Thank you, thank you all. Perhaps a bit of perspective is in order, I agree. Home brewing looks like a lot of fun and the rewards, I expect, are truely gratifying. I will take all your recommendations to heart and sally forth. My first kit is an off season Irish Red Ale. I will post how it turns out. Thanks again and cheers!

 
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:33 AM   #13
dkwolf
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Best advice I can offer is read the directions. Then read them again. Go do something else. Come back, read them again. Set all of your equipment and ingredients (still sealed in package) out on the table, and do a dry run, mentally walking through the process. If any point doesn't make sense, or you're not exactly sure what to do, come back and ask here.

I'm not much farther along than you, my second batch is fermenting in the basement right now. The one thing I will say, is I've noticed the directions in the recipe kits tend to be kind of lax. One thing that I've noticed on both kits is, while the directions are fairly decent for 95% of the steps, they kind of drop the ball immediately post-boil; they don't really tell you what to do between shutting the heat off and putting your wort in the primary fermenter. This batch, I cooled the boiled wort in the kettle down to around 120F (had ~1.5 gallons hot wort, directions said to pitch yeast at below 90, knew I would be mixing with 3.5 gallons of water at around 75...) Let the wort sit in the kettle for a few minutes to settle out some of the bigger sediment particles, and then left 1/2" or so in the bottom of the kettle when I siphoned.

And I understand exactly what you're talking about... going into that first boil, I was nervous as heck (especially after a buddy stopped by 20 minutes into it and wanted to grill a pork loin for supper.. so at least I had company). Looking back, it was a piece of cake, and now this batch isn't even out of the primary fermenter and I'm planning the next one. Good luck!

 
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:49 AM   #14
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I only get anxious when I'm doing expensive brews. When I'm using a lot of honey or maple, coriander, oranges that I zested myself and other crazy things. For MOST brews that are just extract + some grain + hops + yeast, what's going to happen will happen.

Sanitize, clean as you go, watch your times and temps, always use a blow-off bucket, put it in a cool dark place...wait 3 weeks, take some FG readings and you're probably good to go...if things have off-flavors, off-colors or other weirdness, relax. There's always next time.

One thing I've noticed is that majority of beers I brew are still better than Bud Light. If you're making a beer that tastes as great as 90% of the beer sold in America, you're gonna be alright.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:39 AM   #15
zeg
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Don't worry. It won't go perfectly, but it will almost surely go well enough. "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

Several people have suggested writing a checklist. Do this for sure. For my first brew, I wrote out a checklist for every step. This included things to measure out, when to sanitize various pieces of equipment, as well as the obvious additions and "cooking" steps.

For the hops and boil-related steps, I also wrote down the times when they needed to occur, noting both the total time since the start and the time since the previous step. I have found that it works best for me to time from one step to the next, rather than just watching the clock from the start of the boil. It does mean you have to check your numbers to get the total time to add up correctly, but having an alarm go off when I have to do something makes sure I don't forget a hop addition or something crazy.

 
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:42 AM   #16
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Read through all your steps one...two...three times. Visualize what you'll be doing. You'll do great!

 
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:06 PM   #17
dkwolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeg View Post
Don't worry. It won't go perfectly, but it will almost surely go well enough. "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

Several people have suggested writing a checklist. Do this for sure. For my first brew, I wrote out a checklist for every step. This included things to measure out, when to sanitize various pieces of equipment, as well as the obvious additions and "cooking" steps.

For the hops and boil-related steps, I also wrote down the times when they needed to occur, noting both the total time since the start and the time since the previous step. I have found that it works best for me to time from one step to the next, rather than just watching the clock from the start of the boil. It does mean you have to check your numbers to get the total time to add up correctly, but having an alarm go off when I have to do something makes sure I don't forget a hop addition or something crazy.
If you don't have one already, a small digital kitchen timer can be picked up for about $5. Worth it.


And I was going to comment earlier... I have to wonder if anyone else catches the irony of telling someone "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew"....when they're getting ready to make their first batch and thus don't HAVE any homebrew yet

 
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:31 PM   #18
HeadyKilowatt
 
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As everyone else has said, just relax. Making beer isn't hard- you almost have to try to screw it up for it to come out bad. It's definitely not something to get stressed out about- it's beer. I think most of us brew not just because we like beer, but because we actually find the process relaxing.

You've already taken a lot of the worry out of your first brew day by brewing from a kit. I always recommend kits to new brewers for their first couple of brews because since the recipe is already done and ingredients pre-measured, it allows you to really concentrate on your process, which is the most important thing at this point. Figure out stuff like how you're going to set up your brewspace, how long it takes your water to come to a boil, when to do this and that, etc. Once you've got all that down and know what to expect, it really becomes easy and relaxing.

Remember- it's just beer! And even if you make a mistake or two- it's still gonna be beer! And because you made it, you're going to love it.

Welcome to your new hobby/obsession!
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:32 PM   #19
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Dkwolf. I thought of that and almost said ... Have a micro but decided against it. At least the op learned a new hbt phrase!
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:40 PM   #20
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Welcome to the addiction. Be ready to pour countless hours and more money into your brew set up. I am very lucky that SWMBO allows me to get the things I do for my beer set up.

My advice to you is to just relax. Go through your process. When I made my first coupe beers I wrote it out step for step. Heck, my first beer my wort chiller didn't attach properly to my sink and I didn't own a home with a hose at the time. I had to hold it onto the faucet and battle spraying water.

I forgot to put a blow off valve ln a dilerium tremens clone, resulting in the bung exploding off while I was at work and wort was everywhere, and that still turned out.

To this day If I get a perfect brew day it's rare. Forgot whirl flock in my pumpkin. My first lager is too dark because I sparged too much water (all grain) and had to boil my wort down to get rid of water, turning it darker.

It's frustrating a times but ou earn. You'll do fine. Watch some YouTube videos to help you get ready o know hat to expect. Follo your recipe.

And again, welcome!

 
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