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Brew_N00B

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I am looking for advice going into homebrewing. I am just about finished purchasing my equipment and am really excited to get brewing. I have read a couple basic book on hombrewing and have gleaned some info, but what I would really like is some practical advice that could benefit a first time brewer.
 

JoeMama

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These forums and PATIENCE!!

These forums are a godsend and a wealth of information. With this will come experience and your OWN little tricks that you will learn along the way.

Patience is KEY. Regardless of what you think - your beer IS NOT RUINED until you taste it after its run the full course. (Very specific exceptions may apply - but rarely)
Welcome!
-Me
 

Irish1225

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buy a kit, follow the instructions, rinse and repeat

did that help?
 

beersydoesit

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That is a broad question.
I guess I'll toss in a few things that would have helped me.

Watch the pot when you add hops it can boil over QUICKLY

Don't add extract while the pot is on the heat.

Be fussy about sanitation, use a good sanitizer. I am recently converted to Starsan.

Think it all through and have your equipment ready and handy. That first brew can be a little hectic.

Start simple and work up. Who needs to worry about a complicated recipe, procedure, whatever when it is your first beer?

60 minute hops are for bittering
15 minute hops are for flavor
2 minute hops are for aroma.

If you dump all the stuff from your pot into the fermenter, it will be okay.

Be ready to install a blowoff tube, or use one as a practice.

Relax, it is easy to brew good beer.
 

Nurmey

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Don't panic in the middle of the brew and do something stupid. Before doing anything weird, check with someone here. Sometimes unexpected events happen during the brew and it's important not to create or exacerbate a problem by over-reacting. It's really hard to mess up beer!

The other important thing is patience. The beer gods will reward you greatly if you don't try to rush the process. Which actually reminds me on one more tidbit that is tied with the whole patience thing.

Sometimes the instructions that come with kits are not good. Beer is NOT ready to bottle at 5 - 7 days. If your instructions say something silly like that, please ask for better instructions. We don't like brewers being hurt with bottle bomb or disappointed with their first batch.
 

QueenCityALER

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Welcome aboard! The fact that you're here means you're already on the path to great success!! Got any questions post them here, and endless wisdom and fun will be your reward!!!
 

Coastarine

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There are so many tricks to learn, and even if I listed them all out here you'd forget to do 3/4's of them when your first brew day. When I was first starting out I used to "chair-brew". Like just visualizing each step in the brewing process to see if I could remember it all start to finish, and that was even when I was doing extract with steeping grains. Now I know what to do, I don't forget steps, and it doesn't require extreme concentration. Just read around on here as much as you can and you'll pick up tips. As time (and batches) goes by you'll develop your technique.

Biggest things I wished I'd learned about sooner, or had a lot of misconceptions about at first:
-Fermentation temperature control: Unless it's a belgian, ales do their best at 62-68F. I used to accomplish this by putting a wet t-shirt on my carboys, I recently made a fermentation chamber out of a min-fridge and some rigid foam insulation.
-Aeration: bad except for one time: After the wort is cooled, but before it is fermenting.
-Boil: vigorous is good, but no need to over-do it. Get a big pot; preferably big enough for the whole batch to boil. Prevent boil-overs by using foam control drops (fermcap-s) or by just aiming a fan at the surface of the boil.
Pitch an adequate amount of yeast according to the calculator here. If making starters is a hassle to you, just use dry yeast packets properly rehydrated. They make world class beer.
-If you see yourself continuing this hobby (obsession), consider kegging.
-Don't skimp when making purchases. If you do you'll probably kick yourself later and end up spending the money for the proper thing. If you have to put off the purchase for a little in order to save and buy the right gear, do that.
-Try the 30 day free trial of beersmith. I was hooked and that was probably the best money I've ever spent on brewing.
-Creating your own recipes is NOT as easy as you might think. Stick to recipes that are tried and true favorites such as any in the book "brewing classic styles" or any of the many recipes on this website that many people have brewed. EdWort has a nice library of reliable ale recipes.
-If you're anything like most of us, you'll brew one good batch and suddenly have the urge to experiment with some ingredient that sounds totally delicious like honey, maple syrup, spices, or fruit. Fight this! It may be possible to brew good beers with these things but it is likely to take much trial and error! (mostly error) Build confidence with traditional recipes! I caved to this urge and wished I hadn't.
-If you have a significant other, make sure he/she doesn't associate the hobby with negative things. This is not difficult. Each time I buy something brewing related, the wife gets a present. Not necessarily equal value, I might come home with a stout faucet, nitrogen regulator, and a tank of beergas, and she gets a box of chocolates or a single rose. The value is not important, the important thing is that she is happy when beer stuff comes home.
 

KayaBrew

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These forums and PATIENCE!!

These forums are a godsend and a wealth of information. With this will come experience and your OWN little tricks that you will learn along the way.

Patience is KEY. Regardless of what you think - your beer IS NOT RUINED until you taste it after its run the full course. (Very specific exceptions may apply - but rarely)
Welcome!
-Me
As much as it kills me to agree with Joe:p, he's right on. Patience, and never stop learning!
 

SGT-RIEL

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Two things, trust your hydrometer it won't lie to you. Secondly and I'll prob get beat up for this, don't stress out about sanitation. Get the particulate matter off and use a homebrew talk sanctioned cleaner and you'll be fine. Don't beat yourself up and go nuts over sanitation wondering if you did enough or if your beer is going to be ruined because of your arm going into your green beer to get a stray gromet.
 

Papinquack

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The most important things I'd suggest doing before your first brew is be sure everything you will be using is SANITIZED. The second and most important thing to remember on your first batch is DO NOT DRINK MORE THAN 1 BEER OR YOU'LL F**K **G MAKE MISTAKES! Thirdly Do a re-read of the brewing process or look at videos that you've decided line up with proper brewing procedures. Do a practice run, so your not confused when its time to go to the next step and all of a sudden where the f**k is the?... you turn around and its a boil over!!! Have an extra pair of hands your first time around Kimosabe you wont be sorry. I'd say Good luck but its not about luck; it's about mastering the basic techniques. This first brew will tell you how well you applied yourself. Take mental notes to see what areas you'll need to modify to make the next brew smoother...:mug:
 

Homercidal

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Lots of good advice here. I do recommend using starsan. Others use Iodophor an dbleach with good results, but starsan is so easy, it can make your brewing a lot less hassle. Either way, sanitation is key to making good beer.

Also, I do recommend practicing your liquid transport system. Set up a "fake" brewing session and just use tap water to practice siphoning stuff and make sure you got that down pat. I'd even heat the water up. so you can see if you will burn yourself.

After that, pay attention to your temps, especially when adding your rehydrated yeast, and the temp that you are going to ferment at. These are also key to your success.

Adding hops and whatnot is not hard as long as you remember to do it at the correct times, and also make sure to turn the heat off the stove when adding extract, so that it doesn't scorch on the bottom of the kettle.

Brewing is actually very easy once you have done it a couple of times!
 
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Brew_N00B

Brew_N00B

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This is all great info. I am sure I am going to rely on everyone here the next few months. Thanks a lot .:tank:
 
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