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Old 01-21-2013, 03:19 PM   #1
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Default Best brew for beginners?

I've got my first brew fermenting, now I'm looking for my second. The guy at my local beer supply store told me the type of beer doesn't matter for beginners and that all the kits are easy.

Is this true? Is there any type of brew that might be more "forgiving" for a beginner? My first batch in an American Wheat Ale, hopefully she turns out ok.

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Old 01-21-2013, 03:36 PM   #2
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Darker beers have more flavor so they hide mistakes better but if you don't like dark beers you've just made 5 gallons of swill. Most of the kits are easy. I'd avoid ones that have Imperial or Grand in the name as they take special care/more time to ferment and mature.

Do lots of reading on this site and any kit you choose will make very good beer. Good beer depends on good process and good temperature control during fermentation and patience.

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Old 01-21-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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I would think the more forgiving beers are going to be beers with a strong flavor like IPAs (hops cover imperfections) or stouts (lots of roast grains). Unfortunately they are also tricky for newbies who typically are going extract partial boil beers.

I've heard that Belgian beers are friendly to new brewers because common mistakes like under pitching or fermenting too warm can actually be desired in a Belgian beer.

Whatever you do, keep it simple. Your second batch is probably not the time to try a Vanilla Bacon Smoked Rye Ale.
Originally Posted by SittingDuck
Even ales take too long. I need something I can ferment during the boil and drink from the kettle!
You have to grow old, you don't have to grow up.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:39 PM   #4
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Darker beers are more forgiving. Plus, you don't have to worry as much about clarity in a beer that doesn't let light pass through.

The first beer i made was a Red Ale. It was very straightforward, nothing too difficult, and had all the steps you'd normally go through in brewing. Plus, I love Amber Ales and Lagers, so win-win.

That's the most important lesson. Brew something you really like. Brew something you'd drink a lot of normally, so you can tell if it is similar to other versions, and what you think should be wrong. Making mistakes builds our knowledge and vocabulary, so we can discuss what went wrong, and fix it the next time.

Happy Brewing!
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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The Brewer's Best kits have a difficulty rating on them. I'm sure others do as well.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:45 PM   #6
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Check out Biermuncher's centennial blonde in the recipe section. It's listed under American ale. The extract conversion is at the bottom of page 1. This is the second extract batch I made and it is still a crowd favorite. Not to mention easy to brew and all ingredients are readily available.

There are probably 3000 comments on it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:58 PM   #7
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Smart question. It happens way to often that beginners go for something extravagant. Just choose a kit in your favorite style of beer, then you will have a comparison point. If you try to brew something completely different than what you normally drink, you won't really know if it's a problem with the beer, or just something that doesn't suit your taste buds.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:05 PM   #8
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I second Matt-tastic's advice: brew what you like to drink. I had good success with the True Brew Pilsner kit, as it's pretty similar to what people think "regular" (Bud/Miller/Coors) beer tastes like. My LHBS labels their kits with comparison beers, so it's pretty easy to find one that's similar to a brand you like (or at least one you know). Any kit without specialty grains or a complicated hop schedule should be very straightforward, so pick something you'd like to drink and make it!
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:36 PM   #9
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I agree with everything said; keep it simple, and something you are familiar with.

I would advise against doing a Belgian. They are relatively simple beers, but you really need to use a liquid yeast, make a starter, and maintain higher than normal temperatures during the fermentation to bring out the yeast flavors.

I would also suggest you stick with dry yeasts S-04, S-05, and Notty are decent ones, until you have confidence to make a starter.

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