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Old 01-05-2013, 05:18 PM   #1
Ricochetbrew's Avatar
Dec 2012
Orangevale, California
Posts: 52
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I am a fairly new member to HBT but am amazed by the beginning brewer forum. I wished I would have known about it when I started brewing 8 years ago. I truly enjoy reading the questions posted and get a chuckle when I come across someone who made similar mistakes in their first brews as I did.
That being said I wanted to touch on two common mistakes new brewers make when starting out. I think even the seasoned brewers can agree that they either fell into one of these two categories or at least dabbled with them.
Before I launch into my theory I want to say that I am in no way targeting any single brewer on this thread. I am simply making an observation based upon reading numerous threads and my own experience/mistakes.
Here. Goes. New brewers, myself included typically make two major mistakes when they start brewing. These mistakes are trying to make incredibly high gravity beers right out of the gate and trying to get mad scientist in the Brew pot by creating crazy recipes or messing with adjuncts.
When I started brewing I wanted to make beer with a crazy high ABV. While this can be a fun way to impress your friends, without a sound understanding of what makes beer alcoholic your recipes will suffer. I added everything from honey to boiled corn sugar to my wort just trying to make high gravity beer. I didn't know anything about extracts or grain bills, and much less about brew house efficiency and the conversion of starches. This led to beers that I simply couldn't be proud of. Off flavors and odd mouthfeel was the signature of my first brews.
Secondly new brewers want to shoot right out of the gate playing mad scientists and creating crazy unique recipes without the basic principles of brewing mastered. Everyone wants to make a triple cherry upside down stout with a twist without the knowledge of how different ingredients effect the finished beer. I tried cinnamon, molasses, peach pulp, and some crazy stuff I am too embarrassed to mention in order to create the coolest new recipe around.
All of this to say I wish I would have had someone sit me down and say " hey stick to the basics dummy". I am not saying don't experiment or don't try to expand your recipes. All I am saying is take awhile when your starting out to learn the principles, read books talk to seasoned vet and most importantly brew. Build a foundation based on a sound understanding of brewing principles and take very detailed notes on your processes. This will lead to great beer that you can be proud to share with family a friends. There will be many future brews to create your masterpieces and when you perfect that triple cherry upside down stout with a twist I hope you will send one my way!
Good luck on future brews

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Old 01-05-2013, 05:25 PM   #2
Jan 2013
, NY
Posts: 9

I even regret choosing a lager for my first brew. The temperature requirements are somewhat doable as I live in NY and it is winter, but I can be exact. Once I make an ale that people request more of, then I will move on to the experimentation.

I agree with everything you said.

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Old 01-05-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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unionrdr's Avatar
Feb 2011
Sheffield, Ohio
Posts: 38,990
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I totally agree,Too many noobs wanna brew their first beer with tons of ABV & wild flavor additions. I just brewed the kit that came with my starter kit straight up,disregarding the shorter timtables given in the instructions. They just want to sell more kits quickly.
so I took some advice on here & it came out pretty good in the end. It's more important to use a simple recipe so you can concentrate on developing a sound brewing method as you move on to bigger & better things. I did that,& now am into partial mash,thinking of new ways to use those pre-hopped cans of days gone by. It comes with experience,not just desire. You can't short cut experience.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:07 PM   #4
Oct 2012
Jefferson City, MO
Posts: 517
Liked 36 Times on 33 Posts

Yep, I too agree with everything you said. Nice post.

Primary - Big Pale Citra Ale (AG)(1.063)
Secondary - Bitter (AG)
Bottled - Best Bitter, Bitter, SNPA clone
On deck - Tank #7 clone.

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Old 01-05-2013, 07:23 PM   #5
beergolf's Avatar
Jan 2011
collingswood, nj
Posts: 6,038
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Very good post.

And how true. Almost every day someone wants to know how to boost ABV on their first brew. Stick to tried and true recipes when you start, learn the brewing process, and then you can begin to experiment using the knowlege and techniques you have learned.

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Old 01-05-2013, 07:30 PM   #6
the_trout's Avatar
May 2011
Rochester, NY
Posts: 438
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Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
You can't short cut experience.
so true, but by reading this forum you can shorten the learning curve tremendously.

I know Ive told several people that the single best thing they can do to make better beer is to read this forum daily. I dont consider myself new anymore but I still learn something from this site almost daily. The advice in the OPs post is spot on for new brewers.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:34 PM   #7
Feb 2010
Posts: 258
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I only brewed two kits before I dove into making my own extract recipes, and yes, I was guilty of going for gravity. 3 years later I do all-grain and am shooting for a nice 1.050 SG brew. How times change.

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Old 01-05-2013, 07:55 PM   #8
Brulosopher's Avatar
Jun 2011
, CA
Posts: 2,932
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Originally Posted by Jon73
I only brewed two kits before I dove into making my own extract recipes, and yes, I was guilty of going for gravity. 3 years later I do all-grain and am shooting for a nice 1.050 SG brew. How times change.
I can always tell a new brewer from a seasoned bet simply by the beer styles they brew-

New = over-hopped über-high OG triple IPA
Old = 1.048 - 1.065 OG simple, good beer of various styles

I say this with absolutely no offense intended
Brulosophy is a place to experiment with home brews. If you've had a crazy idea or wondered how something worked please visit us at!

List of exBEERiments

How To Easily Harvest Clean Yeast from Starters

Make Good Lager in Less Time!

Marshall "Brulosopher" Schott

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Old 01-05-2013, 08:51 PM   #9
Dec 2012
Posts: 22

I'm a noob, first thing I wanna do is make a beer that tastes good, using basic kit, then build on that, I wanna get my process in control the best I can before becoming adventurous

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Old 01-05-2013, 08:54 PM   #10
Registered User
Dec 2012
Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 591
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Great advice!!! There is so much to learn and no reason to complicate that beginner process.

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