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I'm a newbie and I don't know where to start :/

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mamacym

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Hi, I'm looking for good resources and threads for beginners but I found nothing. Can anyone tell good resources to learn this hobbie. Thanks before.
 

Newtobrewing85

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Hi, I'm looking for good resources and threads for beginners but I found nothing. Can anyone tell good resources to learn this hobbie. Thanks before.
John Palmer - How to Brew.

It was recommended to me and it was well worth the $20. If you haven’t invested in anything yet I would get that and start reading it so you can get an idea which direction you want to go before spending money on anything else. Likewise you can always start with small 1 gallon car boys and get that down on a smaller scale.
 

schmurf

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Lots of YouTube channels/videos to watch about homebrewing, just have to do a search like "homebrew beginner" and you will get hundreds of instructional videos. Some better than others, some even professional.
 

RM-MN

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Read this online book graciously provided by John Palmer as it is probably the best place to start.

www.howtobrew.com

His newer edition is worth the price as it contains new information but the original I pointed to will get you a great start. I think it is more complete than Charlie Papazian's book "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing" but that is a good read too as it lets you know that beer is forgiving of minor errors that you will make.

You also could just buy a starter kit and have at it. Brewing can be complicated but it doesn't need to be. It can be an expensive hobby but again it doesn't need to be. A starter kit like this one will get you all the equipment necessary to make a 5 gallon batch.


Note that I am not endorsing this company but merely showing what a starter kit should have. Several companies sell kits like this. You would also need bottles which are not included. You can buy them or collect them but be aware that it is best if the bottles are not the screw-off type as they may not seal.
 

McKnuckle

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I would agree with other posters about Palmer's and Papazian's books, which are considered standard early learning for new brewers, but with one caveat:

The books do very well explaining the process, science fundamentals, and how to use very simple (even primitive) equipment. However, they are not informative about many commercially available products that have been introduced over the last... long time? Ten years? ...which make homebrewing much more convenient.

Primarily, I refer to electric brewing, brew in a bag (BIAB), and various bits and bobs related to fermenters and kegs.

So do keep that in mind. Marry what you glean from these books with modern equipment information discussed here on HBT.
 

VTX1300

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When I decided to get into this obsession..... Hobby, with the encouragement from my wife, I bought a copy of Palmer's book so I could read through it several times and make notes in relevant sections. Also watched many videos. Some good, some not so. You have to decide what you want to believe. Do searches here when you have questions. The brewers here have a vast wealth of knowledge. Just keep in mind, there is never only one way to do things and this forum will give many different perspectives on how to brew.

I jumped straight into all grain but don't recommend this unless you are willing to do plenty of research before you begin. I took two months to research what I wanted to do before spending any money on equipment.

There is NOT a best way to brew. BIaB, Three vessel, stove top extract, all in one electric, they all make good beer if your process is sound. That choice comes down to resources and space available and how deep down the rabbit hole you want to go.
In my opinion the three most important aspects to pay close.attention to are water, yeast and fermentation temperature management. Brewing is a learning process. After three years and over sixty brew days I am still learning and honing my progress.
Most importantly, have fun with the hobby.
 

Bill9000

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I've learned that everyone on HBT has good advice, but it is all based on their personal circumstances and preferences (including this post!). You just have to review the advice, don't overthink it and go with what makes you comfortable. I've found that making good beer is easier than making bad beer. I'm not sure if I've made great beer yet.

I was given a partial setup from someone getting out of the hobby. It had carboys, tubing, bottle capper, mash tun, airlocks. Essentially everything but a boil kettle (which he used a stock pot on the kitchen stove). I purchased a propane burner and 8 gallon kettle (didn't get a bottom valve - don't now if I made the right decision). I chose to start with extract recipe kits for styles I know I would like. Starting with extract gives you experience with boiling wort, sanitizing, fermenting, and bottling. The bulk of my training was from you tube videos. I also did a "dry run" where I boiled water following the recipe instructions, just holding at the temperatures and times on the instructions. My third extract kit is in its 14th day of fermentation today and I'm looking forward to bottling it so I can start the all grain recipe kit that Santa brought me.

Things that have worked out well for me - skipping the secondary fermentation and just using the primary fermenter for the entire ferment time.

Things I'm still working on - Still struggling with hops in the wort - First batch I transferred them all to the fermenter which gave me some troubles with bottling. Second batch I strained them during transfer to the fermenter. This was OK but caused some trouble on my third batch which had 3 oz. hops (which rehydrates to a much greater volume). Next batch I'm using cheese cloth for hop bags.
 

AkTom

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When I first started I read all the new threads. I didn’t know what they we’re talking about, a lot of the time. Slowly by context, it started coming together. Then when I started brewing, some of those things made sense. I don’t spend hours a day now. I enjoy reading, as there is always something interesting, even if I don’t want to go there.
Electric brewing for example... I was perfectly happy with my propane rig. Then I got tired of brewing in the snow and cold... Guess who now has an Anvil Foundry 10.5. I love it. Now I understand the stuff I had read about electric. I didn’t know anyone who brewed when I started. So thanks to HBT for the education.
 

kartracer2

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@mamacym Welcome ! You made a wise first step by asking questions first. Lots of us just jumped in without doing much research or when we started there wasn't as much material out there.
Any of the books mentioned are good ones, I think Charlie P's books are great, lot's of basic stuff in them. Yes they are somewhat dated but unless a book was printed yesterday, it will be. There is a "Homebrewing for Dummies" also, I have it and I think it's a good "newbie" book, very non-technical, easy to read and not too serious. It can be also found in a downladable PDF for little $$.
Learning the terminology is important. Those with more experience toss them around in conversations thinking/expecting you to know what they mean, sometimes it results in more questions than answers. If you ask questions here be upfront and honest about your knowledge level, it saves time on all fronts.
Last but not least,
Relax_Homebrew.jpeg

Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 

Newtobrewing85

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I've learned that everyone on HBT has good advice, but it is all based on their personal circumstances and preferences (including this post!). You just have to review the advice, don't overthink it and go with what makes you comfortable. I've found that making good beer is easier than making bad beer. I'm not sure if I've made great beer yet.

I was given a partial setup from someone getting out of the hobby. It had carboys, tubing, bottle capper, mash tun, airlocks. Essentially everything but a boil kettle (which he used a stock pot on the kitchen stove). I purchased a propane burner and 8 gallon kettle (didn't get a bottom valve - don't now if I made the right decision). I chose to start with extract recipe kits for styles I know I would like. Starting with extract gives you experience with boiling wort, sanitizing, fermenting, and bottling. The bulk of my training was from you tube videos. I also did a "dry run" where I boiled water following the recipe instructions, just holding at the temperatures and times on the instructions. My third extract kit is in its 14th day of fermentation today and I'm looking forward to bottling it so I can start the all grain recipe kit that Santa brought me.

Things that have worked out well for me - skipping the secondary fermentation and just using the primary fermenter for the entire ferment time.

Things I'm still working on - Still struggling with hops in the wort - First batch I transferred them all to the fermenter which gave me some troubles with bottling. Second batch I strained them during transfer to the fermenter. This was OK but caused some trouble on my third batch which had 3 oz. hops (which rehydrates to a much greater volume). Next batch I'm using cheese cloth for hop bags.
I just brewed my first big batch (5 gallon) which was my 2nd ever on my Anvil Foundry and I didn’t even attempt to not use hop bags. The cleanup was very easy with it and it removed a lot of the crap from the hops. I’ve heard hoo spiders are good too but I started with the cheaper option first.
 
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mamacym

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@mamacym Welcome ! You made a wise first step by asking questions first. Lots of us just jumped in without doing much research or when we started there wasn't as much material out there.
Any of the books mentioned are good ones, I think Charlie P's books are great, lot's of basic stuff in them. Yes they are somewhat dated but unless a book was printed yesterday, it will be. There is a "Homebrewing for Dummies" also, I have it and I think it's a good "newbie" book, very non-technical, easy to read and not too serious. It can be also found in a downladable PDF for little $$.
Learning the terminology is important. Those with more experience toss them around in conversations thinking/expecting you to know what they mean, sometimes it results in more questions than answers. If you ask questions here be upfront and honest about your knowledge level, it saves time on all fronts.
Last but not least, View attachment 711900
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
thanks this is a good text
 

kartracer2

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@mamacym I for got to add that no matter what direction you chose to go,(as in extract, mini-mash,, all grain or variations thereof) keep your first couple of brews simple styles. Get through the basics with , let's say a pale/amber ale "kit" ( kit = most, if not all ingredients in one box). It will increase your success rate and be less stressful your first few times. Oh, and keep notes, more the better.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 

MooDaddy

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Newbie here as well - I have my second batch relaxing in bottles as we speak. This statement made by VTX1300 in one of the responses caught my eye and would love to have it expounded upon if possible:

"In my opinion the three most important aspects to pay close attention to are water, yeast and fermentation temperature management."
 

3 Dawg Night

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The three best resources for my brewing journey (which is still pretty young):

1. Homebrewtalk.com
2. How to Brew by John Palmer
3. Brewing Classic Styles by John Palmer & Jamil Zainasheff

And just dive in. I was amazed at how much easier brewing is than I thought it would be. Your first brew won't be that great, and it will be the best thing you've ever tasted.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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I agree with other posters.
I'm still a noob aswell, but do what I have done, read some books about the basics, and brew. Once you have done some batches you will get some basic understanding of the process and get a pretty good beer in your bottles.
And don't be afraid to fail a couple times in the beginning, those failures are your best teacher of how to tune your procedures to your system and the do's and dont's.
 

VTX1300

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MooDaddy, Water, yeast and temp control are in my opinion the three biggest factors in making good beer. The water you start with is the primary building block that everything else goes into. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed because of the unpleasant flavors that they cause. Those can be removed by using Campden tablets. The other things to look at is the mineral content / ION balance in the water. Different styles of beer are built on different water profiles that affect flavor and body, the perception of hops and malt are influenced by this as well. If brewing all grain then the content of salts also affect the pH of the mash, and mash pH is important for a number of factors. Hopefully someone here with a better understanding of water can jump in as I am still trying to completely understand water chemistry and may have some of this incorrect. This for me is the most difficult to understand, but there are some good online water calculator that can help there. If you don't know what's in your water it's impossible to adjust for style. My tap water is just awful and not good for brewing so I started by buying distilled water and now have an RO filter system so I can start with a clean slate to build on.

Having plenty of healthy yeast is another important factor. Dry yeast is probably the easiest way to go here. I personally don't use dry so I can't give much on proper pitch rates and best use practices but it seems way more forgiving than liquid yeast. Liquid yeast is way more sensitive on how it's stored and how long it's viable. Most but not all that use liquid yeast will build a starter. Building a starter insures the yeast are healthy, ready to get to work and that there is enough for a proper pitch rate. That is enough yeast cells to do the job without stressing the yeast. Pitch rate is dependent on the volume of wort and the specific gravity of the wort. There are some online calculators to help with pitch rates.

Fermentation Temperature control is important because yeast likes to work in a specific temp range. Too cold and the yeast will either work slowly or go to sleep and not finish there job at all. Too warm and they create compounds and alcohols that are not pleasant to drink. Yeast manufacturers will give the preferred range to keep fermentation at for the best results. Yeast are exothermic, the create heat during the fermentation process. controlling this will play a big role in how the beer tastes in the end.

I hope this helps. The best advice I can give a new brewer is read everything you can get your hand on. Do internet searches when you have questions, most will bring you back here. And don't hesitate to ask questions here. Doing your homework will pay off in the end with good beer. RDWHAHB
 

oakbarn

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@mamacym I for got to add that no matter what direction you chose to go,(as in extract, mini-mash,, all grain or variations thereof) keep your first couple of brews simple styles. Get through the basics with , let's say a pale/amber ale "kit" ( kit = most, if not all ingredients in one box). It will increase your success rate and be less stressful your first few times. Oh, and keep notes, more the better.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
I would start with a Pale Ale extract Kit (Plus new Yeast) from a Local Home Brew Store if you have one. A friend of mine said we should brew some beer at my small hobby ranch, and I said OK. As I had been in the Air Force in England and loved British Beer, we found a Courage Ale Kit at our Local 'HomeBrew Headquarters" (LBS). We made the beer on a patio and moved our rudimentry brew pot into a horse trough with iced water to chill. After I tasted our first Brew, I was IN! We use a up to six vessels in a Brew and have moved to BruControl for automation. It is a fun and great hobby, and there is always something new you want to buy or try.

One warning:

Brewing can be hazardous to your wallet. You might need to eventually convert a garage to Brewing!
 

jrgtr42

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John Palmer - How to Brew.

It was recommended to me and it was well worth the $20. If you haven’t invested in anything yet I would get that and start reading it so you can get an idea which direction you want to go before spending money on anything else. Likewise you can always start with small 1 gallon car boys and get that down on a smaller scale.
Charlie Papazian's book The Complete Joy of Home Brewing is a great first intro to the brewing world.
These both are IMO essential parts of any homebrewer's library. As others mentioned, you can read the first edition of How To Brew online, but there are a lot of things in there that Palmer's changed his mind on. So investing in the latest edition is definitely worth it.
Also, check out Brew Your Own magazine. They have a beginning brewing edition (for lack of a better term) that I think is available online.
IMO for a beginning brewer water isn't the most essential thing to worry about. If you can drink your tap water and don't have any taste in it, you'll be fine - you can fill a bucket and let it stand for a couple days to let the chlorine dissipate.
You can also get spring / distilled / RO water at the store for under a buck a gallon.
Lastly, check out if there is a local homebrew shop (LHBS) or brew clubs nearby. They are often invaluable for information and advice.
IMO the most important items to pay attention to are sanitation, temp control, sanitation, yeast health / happiness, sanitiation, ingredient condition (freshness,) sanitation, PATIENCE and sanitation.
 

Newtobrewing85

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These both are IMO essential parts of any homebrewer's library. As others mentioned, you can read the first edition of How To Brew online, but there are a lot of things in there that Palmer's changed his mind on. So investing in the latest edition is definitely worth it.
Also, check out Brew Your Own magazine. They have a beginning brewing edition (for lack of a better term) that I think is available online.
IMO for a beginning brewer water isn't the most essential thing to worry about. If you can drink your tap water and don't have any taste in it, you'll be fine - you can fill a bucket and let it stand for a couple days to let the chlorine dissipate.
You can also get spring / distilled / RO water at the store for under a buck a gallon.
Lastly, check out if there is a local homebrew shop (LHBS) or brew clubs nearby. They are often invaluable for information and advice.
IMO the most important items to pay attention to are sanitation, temp control, sanitation, yeast health / happiness, sanitiation, ingredient condition (freshness,) sanitation, PATIENCE and sanitation.
Yup, I bought RO water for 80 cents, cost me $4 for 5 gallons. Honestly it was worth it to have the gallons handy and I’m going to reuse them for next time to measure out my water ahead of time.

Also, sanitation is important, I think you forgot that. 😉
 

MooDaddy

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VTX1300,

Thank you, that helps a lot. One question about water: I use distilled water, is this sufficient to begin with?
 

VTX1300

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MooDaddy ^^^^^ What Chorgey said.

If brewing all grain then it gets a !little more involved. Some feel that some salt additions can help with the flavor profile even with extract brews. To start I would just stick with either distilled or bottled spring water.
 

IslandLizard

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To start I would just stick with either distilled or bottled spring water.
Most in the know for brewing water will recommended (in no specific order):
  • Distilled water, purchased in gallon jugs (around $0.60-$1.00 per gallon), or
  • RO water, in gallon jugs, or dispensed from a machine (Walmart, grocery stores, etc.) at around $0.39 per gallon into your own jugs and containers. It's recommended to use a TDS meter (see below) to verify the RO membrane is working as it should. There should also be a maintenance report pasted to or near the machine with TDS measurements and dates.
I'd stay away from "Spring water" unless you know or can certify its mineral content. Either by supplier or use a TDS meter (they're fairly cheap, ~$20) to verify gross ion content. What makes it excellent for drinking is due to (added) minerals, and inversely decreases its suitability for brewing. YMMV.
 

Knightshade

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If you can honestly say that you found nothing...me thinks you're not looking hard enough. Not to be a prick...just sayin.

And so I'm not a prick...I'd recommend going on YouTube and looking for a couple of brewers out there doing a live brew day. If you happen to catch an upcoming one...great. Because some of them have live chat sessions and try to answer questions as they're going along. Or...since most record them and then post, just find/watch one for a beer that you think you'd be interested in brewing yourself. You'll pick up some of the language in context and something may spark that will give you enough incentive to do some research on a specific topic.

A couple that I've watched that come to mind are Short Circuited Brewers, Genus Brewing & Beer and BBQ Larry.
 

IslandLizard

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Yup, I bought RO water for 80 cents, cost me $4 for 5 gallons. Honestly it was worth it to have the gallons handy and I’m going to reuse them for next time to measure out my water ahead of time.

Also, sanitation is important, I think you forgot that. 😉
See my post #30 on using RO water instead. It tends to be (much) cheaper than distilled. If this is more than incidental use, consider installing a small under-counter RO filtering unit for around $100-150. Check with Russ at Buckeye Hydro, he's one of our sponsors.

One thing about jugs/containers of drinking water on shelves, some are chlorinated (instead of UV sterilized)!
If the water used for brewing is chlorinated (smell/taste) the 30 second Campden treatment should be applied.
 

VTX1300

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IslandLizard, Yes, forgot all about sanitation. My bad. Thanks for mentioning that.

I installed a small RO unit about 2 years ago and it has more than paid for itself. Buying and hauling distilled water from the grocery store was a pain in the a$$. There were times where they were out and that meant a trip to another store in hopes of buying enough for a batch. I have found many more uses for RO water than just brewing. All of our drinking water, coffee water and fish tank water is RO.
 

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So as it is said in the martial arts community, a 1st degree black belt is merely an advanced beginner.

I'm learning more every day but still do not consider myself more than and hobbyist. Granted I have an understanding wife, a decent budget, and a dedicated space for brewing. Fortune smiled upon me with a new home and a 3 car garage with one bay separate from the other 2 so was allowed to have a brew cave, and profit from sale of previous home got me some new toys (of which I have yet to play with due to work and time - I'm in healthcare so time is a luxury)

I started with buckets, propane and extracts and was able to make some pretty decent brews, according to my friends that were way more advanced. Was this just dumb luck, perhaps. But as others will say as long as you sanitize well and you like your product, then who really cares if your brew is competition worthy.

I was on city water for years and never checked pH, original gravity, final gravity, etc. In the US, the water for the most part is pretty good in the northeast, and bottled water is the biggest scam ever. I had decent luck with what I made without all the measurements and obsessions. Friends asked what's the alcohol content... I shrug and say I do not know (ok the purists are going to flame me right now), but apparently my amateur cavalier method made some very strong brews, and we all got happily snockered. So my guests are happy, I am happy. I'm on a well now so I'd love to get more into the science and control of things and will get there some day.

The "relax and have a homebrew" is 100% on point. The books will give you the science and theory but the reality is to jump in, experiment, and pick what you like. There are plenty of kits that can make really good brews so that is a great place to start. Folks have done the hard part for you - make the recipe, balance the ingredients, get the right amount of hops, etc. Its kind of like golf - the gear/hardware is only a small portion of the process. One can buy the most expensive clubs in the world but still be a **** golfer with fancy toys.

So have fun, and slainte!
 

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Amen to that. People can go crazy with this hobby. Brew Water. I would say you could make decent beer with any water that tastes good. I had beer early in my life that was made with terrible tasting water, but the beer was good. I still use my tap water today to brew. I do filter it for Chlorine and Chlorimides, but that is about all. City tap water is in a good PH range for brewing. If you were on your own well, you might have issues but I have thought of brewing with "artesian water" from my brother's well.

There are many Myths in Brewing. True Believers do not believe you can make great beer with out doing this:

1. Whatever they thing is paramount.

Ancient Egyptians brewed beer without special yeast, water or temperature control. In fact, the three original German ingredients in beer were:
1. water
2. barley
3. hops

No mention of yeast. There did not even know it existed as such.

Does the beer taste good? That is the only criteria in my mind.

Does that mean I ignore "Science". Perhaps? Or is it "fake news". Some of it is.

Perhaps the two biggest Myths are fermentation temperature and trub in the fermenter.

Both in my mind have been busted because of "errors' over the years. Does that mean I can ferment at 110 DEGREES ? No. But doing a "LAGER" at Ale Temps still produces good beer for the most part. Trub? No big deal. I still ferment Lagers at the preferred temp and do filter the wort lightly before the fermenter, but I do not go crazy if there is an issue (like the filter clogging, I just bypass it). I have accidently fermented lagers (blown Circuit Breaker) at room temp and it only slightly effected the flavor, maybe for the better.

In my mind, there is only one Primary Rule in Brewing that cannot be broken:

1. Sanitize, Sanitize and Sanitize.


That being said, I love Gadgets and Brewing.
 

3 Dawg Night

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Perhaps the two biggest Myths are fermentation temperature and trub in the fermenter.
I get what you're saying, and I agree on the trub. You can make good beer without controlling fermentation temperature, but I don't think you can make great beer (at least not to style) without it.

In my mind, there is only one Primary Rule in Brewing that cannot be broken:

1. Sanitize, Sanitize and Sanitize.
I am in 100% agreement on this one. This is really the only thing that will turn good beer into bad beer.
 

Toto's

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You can ask any question except if secondary fermentation is needed because this thread will get on fire!! Lol. Honestly if you know someone who is brewing already and can go see would be the best. Many friends were very excited when they heard i brew beers but when they came on the brew day... well at the end they said it was too much work!!!! Lol
So it's fun but also a lot of work and a hole in the wallet... 😅😅
But very rewarding when you are having a nice fresh homemade beer 😎
 
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