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Old 04-04-2013, 06:57 AM   #1
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Default What to brew

Hello, I'm new to beer brewing and I'm very excited to brew my own beer. I wasn't sure where to post this so please feel free to move it wherever. I have been thinking about brewing for all long time now, and I'm really unsure where to start.

I have asked a lot of the people I know about brewing my own beer, and they tell me not to brew my own beer because it all taste horrible. Needless to say this has crushed my dreams of brewing something that my wife and I would enjoy.

My wife and I drink bud light primarly but can't say that I love it. I haven't really had an opportunity to drink beers of other verities, because I'm unsure what to buy. I do like wheat beer and believe that there has to be something better than what I'm currently drinking.

Thanks for any help and advice.

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Old 04-04-2013, 07:36 AM   #2
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I would try a Belgian Blonde. They are smooth, delicious, a little fruity and a great transitional beer from BMC (Bud Miller Coors) type beers.

People saying that homebrewing beer will taste horrible are simply ignorant. You can buy a kit from a LHBS and make pretty darned fantastic beer, especialy if you follow the stickies and advice of this forum.

Rich, dark, hoppy beers are a pretty far jump from BMC. Doesn't mean you won't love them, but a straightforward, clean beer is an easier transition.

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Old 04-04-2013, 07:57 AM   #3
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Don't let people tell you that your own beer would taste horrible. There are thousands of people out there brewing their own homebrew not only because they enjoy it, but because it tastes better than many name brands out there. Not to mention, it's fun being able to tinker with recipes, make something geared toward your desires, and then drink the final product knowing it was your creation

If you are serious about wanting to brew, you first will need the equipment. If you have the money, you should look into getting a homebrew equipment kit. These kits will give you all of the supplies required to get started, including a fermenting bucket, bottling bucket, siphon, airlock for fermenter, hydrometer, etc. Most of these are meant to brew 5-gallon batches of beer, which is most common. The kits will usually run $75-150 depending on what comes with them. I bought my kit from Austin Homebrew Supply. Northern Brewer is another company with good kits.

Another option, if you're hesitant to spend that much money without knowing if you'll love it, is to start small. I got started with the Mr. Beer kit, which allows you to make smaller 2.5 gallon batches in a cheap fermenter. You can find the kit on Amazon for under $50 with your first two batches of beer ingredients included. Some people here will bash Mr. Beer, mostly because of its limitations and small batch sizes, but it's a decent way to find out
if you like brewing beer enough to invest $150 into more equipment to make bigger and better batches.

After you have the equipment, it comes down to buying beer ingredients to make the beers. You'll find lots of options at Austin Homebrew, Northern Brewer, MoreBeer, and many other places online that sell kits with the ingredients and instructions for making your brews. Buying packaged kits like this is recommended for your first few batches at least, to see the process and what kinds of ingredients go into a beer. After that, you could start tinkering with your own recipes or twists.

Some of the sites I referenced regarding kits:

Austin Homebrew Supply Kits:

Northern Brewer Kits:

Mr. Beer on Amazon:

Hopefully others will offer up some other recommendations as well. Welcome to the dark side
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:51 AM   #4
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Visit a local brewery or brewpub if you can. Take notes and see what styles you like. Your tastes will evolve over time. Don't hesitate to ask questions. This blog is an excellent source for information. Welcome to the obsession!

Once you've decided what styles you'd like to brew, and even what beers you'd like to emulate, search here for great recipes and excellent advice. Don't be shy about asking for help here. We've all been precisely where you are at some point in our brewing past. You'll get help in everything from getting started to fine tuning your process. Browse the forums frequently and absorb the information. Best of luck.
"The best beer is 'more' beer."
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:11 AM   #5
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I just started my first batch and my local sells several "kits" of bundled up extracts and ingredients of several types of beer. I bought a European Pilsner and an IPA and am doing the Pilsner first. I followed his instructions and bought his recommended materials for a 5 ga brew kit. I am keeping to the instructions and going for a very traditional pils to get the process down and I am not trying anything flashy like adding passion fruit and chocolate and ginger and extra priming sugar to boost alcohol content. Keep it simple and focus on the process. So far I am on day 4 of the primary ferment and will move it to secondary carboy tonight. No problems or mistakes so far.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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People saying not to brew your own beer because it will taste bad is like being told not to cook your own meals because they will taste bad.Sounds like the people telling you this has no real knowledge of homebrew.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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I started with a gallon kit from Brooklyn Brew shop. They run between 30 and 40$ on Amazon. Easy and tasty. Gave me a the encouragement I needed to step it up. After two, one gallon batches I started to upgrade. I now use the carboy in that kit for cider and went to my Lhbs for a bigger fermenter. I probably don't make very good beer, but to me- its the best I've ever had!!!

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Old 04-04-2013, 11:58 AM   #8
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I'd start with an ale, since lagers are much more difficult. Then I'd brew something that has a little bit of color or hops as they hide flaws better. Something like an Irish Red, American Amber, Brown Ale, or American Pale Ale.

You might first want to try some commercial examples of those styles to figure out which one you want to try and brew. Midwest Supplies often has Groupon deals for getting starter equipment kits, an extract ingredient kit, and a gift cert for future stuff. Very good deal!

Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:00 PM   #9
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Agreed with the rest. Bud Light is a lager, lagers are a little more complicated and lighter on flavor than ales which are the primary starter beer types (they are more forgiving for untemperature controlled fermenting). I would second going to a brewpub or other bar and see if you can sample some of the other offerings to see if you can find some of the more flavorful (not always dependant on color) ales that suit your tastes and make one of those. Blondes are not a bad place to start, if you enjoy wheat beers, that is not a bad place to start either. There are also 1 gallon recipes and kits that you can start with and not have to invest too much on startup costs. All you would really need is the extracts, steeping grains(optional), hops, yeast, a container to ferment in, a thermometer, grain bag or strainer or your SWMBO's stockings, some sort of airlock (foil will work in a pinch), and some method for packagaing (you can use clean empty soda bottles) and a reasonably cool closet to ferment in.

I really suggest finding styles that you like before jumping in because there is no sense in making beer if you do not enjoy it, and start simply so if you do not get addicted like we are you arent out much. Who am I kidding, you will love it. Welcome.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:09 PM   #10
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many grocery stores have make your own six packs. get a 6er of different styles, to see if there is a type you enjoy more than what you drink now.
You said you enjoy wheat beer, and there are many good wheat beer kits at the shops mentioned in earlier posts. Wheat beers are also pretty straightforward to make, so I think they'd be good to start with. another choice would be a cream ale, they are pretty much the ale version of Bud, pretty light, and clean tasting. being an ale, they are less complicated than lagers, as they don't require as strict temp. control.

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