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Old 02-22-2013, 08:46 PM   #11
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One of the greatest causes of off flavors in new brewer's beers are contamination and lack of fermentation temp control. You can't be too careful with sanitation when you first start to brew. Luckily, you're starting at a time of year that pretty much anywhere you might live in the US should have pretty cool ambient temps. Normally, I would say darker beers or belgians (the dark malts and esters respectively help cover some minor flaws). You should be fairly safe brewing whatever you want. As others have said, brew something you like to drink.

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Incidentally, OP - my first batch was quite good. Beer is kind of hard to screw up to the point hwere it's not drinkable
I wonder how many of us, if able to revisit that first batch, would still think it was good I know that when I first started brewing, every few months, I would go back and try a beer from a month or two before and think, "how did the hell did I drink that?!? And why did I make my friends suffer?!?"


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Old 02-22-2013, 08:47 PM   #12
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Depends if you are buying a kit, or simply following a recipe. If the former, I'd ask the supplier for an easy kit for a style of beer you like. If the latter, darker beers (stouts, porter, browns) are genreally easier to brew than lighter beers, and are not as challenging. pale Ales can be deceptive; it is often difficult to get a good balance of hop, malt and dryness in a pale or IPA.

Hope that helps, and good luck!

Cheers!

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PS. Sanitation. Sanitation. Santitation. Oh and did I mention sanitation?!


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Old 02-22-2013, 08:59 PM   #13
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Do you already have the basic equipment to brew? Full boil or partial?

Definitely obtain a copy of Palmer's "How to Brew" and read Sections I and II to get a good basic understanding of the whole brewing process and to get you started.

Then do a simple extract brew with steeping grains, either from the samples in that book, a recipe found here, or from a purchased kit.

For example, I started out with a simple extract kit (steeping grains were included) from http://www.homebrewery.com. My first brew was a Yellow Dog Pale Ale and that gave me a base of what was involved in home brewing and what a home brew tastes like. Without that first (basic) brew I would be flying in the dark for a long time. It turned out great, and tasted like beer!

The only thing about kit instructions in general is that NOT all the DME (or LME) should be added at the beginning of the boil. Half at the beginning of the boil, and the rest 10 minutes before or at flame-out, which is the consensus on this board. I don't know if Palmer has revised or modernized any techniques in his 2nd edition.

Some kits have the (bittering) hops mixed in the extract, which doesn't give you the option to split the extract additions, but that is a minor issue, for the first beer. Some kits are better than others, so look around here to get some ideas.

After your first brew you will better understand the process and from there on learn more and slowly brew more complicated recipes with dry hopping etc.

Important Note:
One road to success is meticulous sanitation. Until it becomes second nature, each time you want to touch the wort (after the boil), or the yeast, STOP! Then review for yourself: "Did I sanitize?"
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:54 PM   #14
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I can't add much to what others on here haven't already said. Go with a kit from a good dealer, I've had good luck with Northern Brewer. I can't emphasize enough though 2 things. When adding extract to the boil, turn off the heat until you know it's dissolved. Then, do not assume that because your fermenter is in a room that is 68 degrees, your beer is fermenting at 68. Do what you can to make sure you beer is actually fermenting in the mid 60s. Those two things will be a huge factor in the flavor of your final product. Obviously, there is sanitizing everything, but I believe if a person does have a first time failure, the two things I mentioned usually seem to be major factors.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:49 PM   #15
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Pitch LOTS of yeast! Homebrewers typically underptich.

Cheers!
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:06 AM   #16
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i'd just go strait to biab. it's too easy. don't even need a hydrometer. just hit your mash temps and hold em. forget strike temp too, just do a protein rest and bring it up to mash. much easier than playing with strikes

it's so freaking easy. you can get more detailed after you're impressed with yourself on the first batch

however. fermenting temp control is a massive factor in making quality this easy

use beer calculus to get rough blueprint of your brew.

if your wifey likes light i'd do 148 mash lagers and 152 mash ales %5 abv or less w/60 and 20 min hop additions and try for 20-30 ibu using mostly noble hops imo

I know i may be sounding reckless here (must be partially due to this fine pint-o-pilsner that i've almost finished), but if you've got the basic controls in place it's hard to screw it up. put some vodka in your airlock instead of water
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:19 AM   #17
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I bought my brew kit off Craigslist…before I get reprimanded, it's the same kit I was going to purchase from my LHBS only $100 less and has only two brews under its belt. I appreciate all the input and have noted many first time mistakes. The LHBS is holding a home brew 101 class tomorrow and I'll have a better idea. I'm def starting with a brewers best kit first to get the methods down then I'll venture to beersmith and make my own beers.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:26 AM   #18
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One of my first solo brew efforts was Northern Brewer's Dead Ringer recipe.

It turned out real good for a first one, and I was stoked. They had it perfectly packaged with great directions. Probably can't go wrong with a lot of the kits from reputable companies. AHS, Midwest, Northern Brewer etc....
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlCophile View Post
Crock:
Try one of Munton's CHEAPER syrup kits: Thay are ALL no-boil. If you add nothing else(sugar, nutrient, etc.) and use only clean water(I used Poland S DW, changed to Wal-Mart DW at 88cents/gal.) you will not have to heat anything. They are hopped, but not dry-hopped.
This is good practice, and if you are adventurous, you can try different hops (trade with people) by hopping in the bottle: messier, but with only one bottle each, you can test a hop variety.
As was said by others, I"d skip the no-boil kit because the results aren't very good and it's discouraging, instead of encouraging.

Brewer's Best kits are fine (if fresh- look for a store with high turnover), but there are a couple of places that make much better kits with better instructions. One is austinhomebrew.com- they have hundreds of good extract kits with good instructions. Another is northernbrewer.com- not as many, but every type you can think of!

The only caution I have is to stay away from lager kits- they require some specialized skills like temperature control and yeast starters- so pick an ale kit. You can make a stout, brown ale, cream ale, pale ale, IPA, porter, etc, so you have lots of choices.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crock_it_out View Post
I'm pretty ignorant to the life of a home brewer other than what I've read from forums and other Internet research. I will say one of the common things income across is the the first batch is often a failure. So to the HB vets out there what is a good brew to start with? My LHBS carries Brewers Best ingredient kits, what are your feelings on that brand and is there better ones out there?
6 lbs light liquid malt extract, safe ale s05 yeast, and 1 oz cascade hops.

should cost 24.00

5oz of priming sugar for the bottling stage, (after fermentation in complete. 7-14 days) and 55 caps. should 3.00

better and fresher than any kit ive bought,


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