How many brews before your first really good one?

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kh54s10

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How many batches did it take before you got one that you really thought was great?

My town must have really decent water because I have only treated one batch in any way other than filtering. I used a Brita filter on the kitchen sink for the first 20 or so batches. I then moved to the porch and installed a house size charcoal filter.

My first batch was the Northern Brewer Irish Red Ale extract kit. I allowed it to get too warm for the first night of fermentation. I was advised to use a secondary and go 2 weeks then 3 weeks then bottle it.

My second batch was the Northern Brewer Patersbier extract kit. I used a swamp cooler and controlled the fermentation temperature.

I would rank that beer in the top 20 of my current total of 85 batches. 4 extracts, 4 partial mash then all grain. Since switching to all grain I have also done a few more extracts and both traditional all grain and BIAB.

I credit my success a lot on luck, some on paying attention to details, a lot on information I have learned here on HBT, and not having to deal with bad water.

So for me the first really good beer was my second batch.
 

ncbrewer

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My first batch was in 1992 - only drank BMC before that. So I thought the first batch was really great - actually had some flavor. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 

oceanic_brew

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I made revvy's leffe clone about 6 times now and the second last one was my first beer that I thought I nailed it and made me smile after one sip.
 

Stocktonbrew

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My first batch was in 1995 and it was horrible. it was a canned extract ale kit a guy at the LHBS threw together. Second batch was from Joy Of Home Brewing and it turned out great. Since then I have screwed up a few batches here and there, but for the most part they have been good.
 

TastyAdventure

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My third batch, a Hefeweizen with some honey, cascade, and orange peel. It was one of the best summer beers i've ever had
 
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kh54s10

kh54s10

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I re-read my post and it may come off as a bit of gloating. OK, maybe a little. But I really am curious as to how quickly some get things right. Or how long it takes someone to figure things out.

Reminds me of someone who posted about making so many bad beers (more than a dozen) and was asking why. There were no glaring errors and it seemed that he tried all the right fixes??

Glad to hear from the replies that some are getting good results quickly.
 

BrooklynTom

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I am somewhat new. I have only done extract kits with specialty grains.(about 20). all but one were good. The last one I thought was way too bitter, but, most of my friends liked it. It was my first attempt at an IPA and dry hopping. I am more of a stout and Belgium type.
 

JohnSand

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Batches 7, 8 and 11 got B or B+. Batch 15, 18 and 19 A. Those were my marks at the time. Batch 20 received universal approval at the homebrew club. Batch 26 scored 37 at competition. For me, looking back, 20 batches to produce professional quality beer. And I still dump one from time to time.
 

bobeer

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my first batch was an extract with specialty grains, a black ipa, and it was pretty bad. It was just drinkable but only for me because I made it haha. My 2nd was really bad because I made a 1.090 IIPA before I really knew anything about brewing big beers. My 3rd was the dog days of summer recipe on here and it turned out drinkable for me as well as others. I then made a pumpkin porter with honey that turned out very well. After that it was pretty much on. My first all grain was an oatmeal chocolate stout BIAB style on my stovetop and it turned out great. I then brewed about 20 or so batched BIAB style before I made a MLT. Ever since that first BIAB I've been really enjoying my beer. I've had a few mishaps here and there due to moving and new water supplies but for the most part my beers are top notch now and I'm coming up on batch 70 soon!
 

NCSU_Brewer

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My second brew was my biggest success - a Blue Moon clone recipe that I picked up off of this site. My friends and family all loved it and are still bugging me to make it again.

My fourth and fifth brews were both "duds". The fourth was my first attempt at a partial mash (EdWort's OktoberFAST ale)...I botched my inputs into BeerSmith and ended up putting in 2X the amount of hops necessary. The beer was drinkable but too bitter for an Oktoberfest-type beer. My fifth beer was way under-hopped and ended up tasting like licorice. It's still sitting in my garage because I can't bring myself to open and dump 50+ bottles of beer.

My latest brew, a simple & straightforward APA, is really good too. SWMBO and I celebrated our anniversary by visiting multiple breweries in Asheville, NC. By the end of the weekend she was interested in brewing, so we designed a simple APA (2-row, a bit of crystal, and Cascade hops). It tastes amazing and is my favorite because 1) we designed it together, and 2) It was my first all-grain brew.
 

mattdee1

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Actually, my first two brews are among my best. I really did a lot of reading and went well-equipped into my first batch (fermentation temp control, notably). My process hasn't changed much since my first brew, but the recipes have--later brews have been paler, and water chemistry has thus come to the forefront, and made some of those beers disappointing. Now I'm on the RO + salts bandwagon; have a batch that will be ready to taste in a few days, here's hoping it brings me to new heights. :)
 
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My 1st two batches were extract kits that I followed the directions rigorously on and they turned out surprisingly good. Then I started reading, and entered the experimental "I wonder what this would do?" phase and the next 1/2 dozen batches (PM batches) were not so good, even 2 dumpers. Finally settled down after about a year and started turning out some really nice brews, mostly AG, but still sometimes PM batches. Throughout the whole time I would take meticulous notes, so I usually knew what went wrong with those experimental batches. Learned a lot by doing, and also by continuing to read. My library has 12 books, and I spend way too much time on this forum, along with NB,AHA and PB forums. Damn, I should retire so I can spend more time on my "hobby".
 

Terek

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my first batch in 2004 was actually very good. i started all grain, and have never used a kit or someone elses recipe. first was an ipa i threw together. but my first great one was my second batch. i took a long time to build the recipe but it was worth it. its an oat stout that i still make to this day. actually i brewed on on friday. bubbling away now. it took 1st in a local competition and people love it so much, its kinda become the house beer. I created it by looking at style guide lines, and others recipes to create my own concoction. recipe posted if anyone wants to give it a try. you wont be disapointed. I have brewed it with a ton of different hops, and really no flavor profile change.

Screenshot (80).jpg
 

Aristotelian

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My 10th batch was the first one I felt confident enough to serve to friends and do a blind taste test against commercial brews (my beer, a Citra Pale Ale, won, 2-1). The 3 or 4 batches before that were solid, but not great.
 

chudsonvt

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With my first batch, I made a few errors resulting in a thin low gravity beer. But then my second came out great! Since then, I have only brewed a few that were not quite what I wanted. Fortunately, never a dumper... (knock on wood)
 

PADave

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My fourth beer was one that I said "wow, I need to make this again." Number 7, was the same, even though I made some mistakes, I can't wait to make it right. My best so far was number 10, a Brown Ale recipe that I got from here.

Terek, thanks for sharing the recipe. I will be trying that one in the future, looks good!
 

day_trippr

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My first batch was so good I was falling over myself calling family and friends over to La Casa to try it - and everyone was just as amazed as I was.

It was a total epiphany to me: homebrew can be GOOD!

Cheers! (And the rest is history :))
 

Yeastieboy

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First beer always tastes so great! Mine was a Two-Hearted clone from AHS. Not sure how it would taste now but damn, it was great back then. Four years later I make more mediocre beers (IMO) than great beers. My own harshest critic syndrome. I did just make a solid ESB that I am lovin'. Trying to make whacky beers never really works for me. My best beers are the simple pale ales and straight up pilsners that I make over and over until they are right for me.
 

Mismost

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I think we are our worst critics. We look for faults and often over look the good. I am continuing to improve, have liked all I have brewed, and have not dumped one yet. Some where better than others...they were all good.
 

Yeastieboy

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I wish I could say all mine were good! My yard likes beer. It's super green just outside the garage to the South.
 

theheroguy

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My first batch was an impossible to screw up recipe wise English pale ale kit. By the grace of weather fluctuations it was fermenting at a proper temperature the whole time. It was really good I consider still to this day to be one of my better beers.
 

mongoose33

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Batch 6 (all grain--first three were extract) was the first one I'd have paid money for in a bar. The others were ok, nothing special.

Batches 7 and 8 so far are the same--I'd buy them in a bar.

I consider it a process of continuous quality improvement--each time I find some element of the process to improve.
 

Michigan_Wolfman

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My first few batches were made with a MR. BEER kit and they were absolutely horrible! It wasn't until my second or third batch using a Brewer's Best homebrew starter kit and reading through 'The Joy Of Homebrewing' a few times that I was able to say that I made really good beer.
 

Magnus314

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About 2 years and 40+ batches.

But I made a lot of decent-to-good beers that kept the dream alive.
 
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kh54s10

kh54s10

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After hearing all the posts of people asking why they just can't make good beer, can't do it consistently or it took years to get good, it is heartening to hear of others who were successful relatively quickly. One of my best was my 12th batch. I had left overs and came up with a brown ale that I named "Brown Eyed Girl"

6lb American 2 Row Pale
2lb C-60L
1lb Brown Sugar
8oz Belgian Caramunich
6oz. Belgian Special B

1oz Cascade 30 min.
1oz Centennial 10 min.
.5oz Willamette 10 min.
1oz Centennial dry hop 7 days.

WLP051 California Ale V

I did it again with similar but different ingredients and it was not as good. Did it a third time with closer to the same ingredients and it was close. Need to try it again.
 

MrsMichelle

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First batch was outstanding! My HWMBO has not let me quit brewing since!

M
 

Sammy86

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I think we are our worst critics. We look for faults and often over look the good. I am continuing to improve, have liked all I have brewed, and have not dumped one yet. Some where better than others...they were all good.
I agree...I did a ton of research before I did my first all grain batch and it came out good...once I dialed in my system with strike and sparge numbers my beers have been consistently good...I don't know about you but when your dad and four uncles who are BMC drinkers take down 2 gallons by themselves you know you're doing something good :ban: :taco:
 

jddevinn

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After hearing all the posts of people asking why they just can't make good beer, can't do it consistently or it took years to get good, it is heartening to hear of others who were successful relatively quickly. One of my best was my 12th batch. I had left overs and came up with a brown ale that I named "Brown Eyed Girl"

6lb American 2 Row Pale
2lb C-60L
1lb Brown Sugar
8oz Belgian Caramunich
6oz. Belgian Special B

1oz Cascade 30 min.
1oz Centennial 10 min.
.5oz Willamette 10 min.
1oz Centennial dry hop 7 days.

WLP051 California Ale V

I did it again with similar but different ingredients and it was not as good. Did it a third time with closer to the same ingredients and it was close. Need to try it again.
I think most of it is learning curve and process related. I've learnt more over time, my beers have gotten better more, more consistent and more stable and importantly I've learned to modify recipes how I desire them.

My first batch was on a Kal clone I built (and have later modified) with an established recipe. Step by step directions for using this system are published that I stated following and later modified. If I had designed my own equipment before I really knew what I was doing or started with a simple "brew kit" I'm sure the learning curve would have been much steeper!!!
 
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I prefer trial and error to to get the best results, I spent 2 years brewing various all grain batches before getting that perfect beer, and I would say it was so good it lasted a week before gone and Ive never been able to brew that good again but try and try again, thats what we do to keep people honest and report whet we did to accomplish greatness, its all about shearing and teaching our failures and accomplishments to help
 

Pantherjon

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Took me like 4 to get a 'good' one..Was my 5th batch and was only a 1 gallon batch-dangit! And was my 1st all grain batch..After that I tried a couple more extract kits which bombed, then started to be serious All Grain...Last few batches have been kind of hit or miss..My Irish Stout(partial mash w/specialty grains was spectacular), Mystery Brew and Shot in the Dark- so so all grain..Gooder Then Guinness all grain turned out awesome..Judgement still out on last 2 batches as they are aging in keg or bottles..And hopefully my first brew on my Grainfather(Piney the Welder) turns out well, we shall find out in about 4 weeks when I either bottle or keg it...
 

jonny24

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I'd say my third batch, which was my first all grain- a simple Cascade Pale Ale. It was delicious and disappeared way too fast. The next three (Hallertau SMASH, Irish Red, and Cream Ale) all had off flavours but the cream ale is improving. My dad liked the the Smash and Cream Ale better than I did so maybe I was too critical.

The batch after that, another Pale Ale, is quite good with no off flavours. Luckily PA's are my favourite, so I should always have something good to drink while tinkering with other styles.
 
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