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daveooph131

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I am really interested in getting into home brewing. I have been reading the book by Palmer, but wanted to ask some questions here:

First, what setup should I start out with? I don't want to spend too much, but at the same time I really think I could get into this hobby for the long haul. (And I've already read the pro's / con's thread)

Second, what three tips should I really adhere to when going for my first batch?

Thanks, can't wait to hear from ya'll.

Big D
In Big "D"
 

BierMuncher

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Here's a pretty good kit that will last for a long time as you expand and brew more.

Good for beginners, but will never go obsolete. Plus, as soon as you get your first batch going...you'll want to get your second one brewing shortly thereafter.




1) Have Fun.
B) Stick to a simple recipe.
4) Have Fun
 

carnevoodoo

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Second, what three tips should I really adhere to when going for my first batch?
1. Pitch enough yeast. Proper yeast pitching levels make for much better results.
2. Control your fermentation temperatures. This is hands down the #1 most important in my opinion. You will get much better results keeping your temps under 68 degrees. It is like night and day if you can keep them stable.
3. Everyone will mention sanitation, which is important, but I would suggest if you've been reading, you've seen the 1-2-3 rule. I would suggest leaving your primary for at least 2 weeks. And take hydrometer readings to make sure your beer has hit its final gravity. If you end up catching the bug (like we all have) you'll likely benefit from keeping your numbers handy.
 

Boodlemania

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the best advice I can give is to do what I've done: READ, READ, READ, READ (especially this site).

Take other folk's experience, weighing pro's and con's, in determining what path you want to take. You'll end up the wiser, and probably save some bucks in the process.

Once you think you know what you want, equipment-wise, keep an eye out on Craigslist. There's some good bargains to be had there.

I bought a Brewer's Best Kit to start out, swapping the plastic fermentation bucket with a glass carboy. Also bought an auto-siphon, which is quite handy. That's one easy way to get started.
 
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daveooph131

daveooph131

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OK some good stuff...thanks.

One issue I might have is living in Dallas, Texas it gets pretty hot. I'm hoping to be able to keep the fermentation temperature around 70. Any suggestions?

Also, can you explain the hydrometer readings to me? I'm not too familiar with this.
 

Matt Up North

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Utilize a water bath by placing your fermenter (bucket or carboy) into either a bathtub or you can use one of those keg party buckets that hold ice at every party.

The hydrometer is a scary little tool that is far more simple than you think. You float it in liquid to measure the sugar (density) of the liquid. 1.000 is water and all of the numbers higher than that mean that there is something more dense than the water in the liquid. So a reading of 1.030 means that you have 30 gravity points of sugar in your liquid. A very basic idea is that when you ferment a liquid that is at 1.030 you will get roughly 3% alcohol out of that. So 1.050 is about 5% and so on. This isn't acurate, but it gives you an idea of the process.
 

ACo

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OK some good stuff...thanks.

One issue I might have is living in Dallas, Texas it gets pretty hot. I'm hoping to be able to keep the fermentation temperature around 70. Any suggestions?

Also, can you explain the hydrometer readings to me? I'm not too familiar with this.
Air conditioning helps

hydrometer readings tell you the abv of your beer and generally when fermentation is complete.

you take readings right before pitching and once fermentation is complete. subtract the FG from the OG multiply by 132 and voila, your avb.
 

DuffmanAK

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Remember, 70 is getting close to the high end of where you want your temps. Some nice tricks for cooling are things like putting the fermentor in a shallow tub with ice water (I keep some milk jugs around, fill them with water then freeze them for this), then put an old t-shirt over the fermentor. The fabric will wick up the cool water keeping the fermentor cooler than the air.

Another trick is many folks with A/C go buy some sheets of insulation material (i forget what it's called) then build a small box over an A/C vent and keep the fermentor in that. Works real well and is pretty cheap.

Welcome to a great hobby!
 
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daveooph131

daveooph131

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Any thoughts on what type of beer I should attempt first? Also, is it hepful to have a turkey frigher? Basically, I was thinking of using that as my wort and doing the boiling outside.
 

llazy_llama

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Any thoughts on what type of beer I should attempt first? Also, is it hepful to have a turkey frigher? Basically, I was thinking of using that as my wort and doing the boiling outside.
You should brew whatever style you enjoy drinking.

Turkey fryers are handy. Brewing outside makes for easier cleanup, and doing full boils will improve the finished product IMHO.
 

SumnerH

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Any thoughts on what type of beer I should attempt first? Also, is it hepful to have a turkey frigher? Basically, I was thinking of using that as my wort and doing the boiling outside.
What kind of beer do you like to drink? Brew something you like.

Within that, you're better off going for an ale, and preferably something with at least a decent amount of flavor (e.g. a pale ale, bitter, irish red, witbier, etc). Not something really big (e.g. a barleywine, Imperial stout, double IPA) or very light and clear (e.g. a cream ale, blonde, kolsch).

Lagers require much more temperature control than ales. Big beers can take a long time to mature. Very clean beers are less forgiving--if you have a very minor defect in a beer that has a lot of flavor, it won't be nearly as noticeable as if you have the same problem in a very clean cream/blonde/etc.

A turkey fryer works fine, but a stovetop is doable too. Most people would probably prefer the fryer, I like being able to brew indoors when I want.
 
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daveooph131

daveooph131

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Sorry for so many posts....or maybe i'm not...I love getting this information. I can feel the addiction taking over already.

What price range should I be looking at for a startup kit? I am looking at online retailers and am going to visit a local shop this week. I don't want to pay more than I should. Thanks.
 

MikeG

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Here's a pretty good kit that will last for a long time as you expand and brew more.

Good for beginners, but will never go obsolete. Plus, as soon as you get your first batch going...you'll want to get your second one brewing shortly thereafter.
...
1) Have Fun.
B) Stick to a simple recipe.
4) Have Fun
That's a damn good kit! I started off with the same thing sans the 2 glass carboy's. While you don't need those right off the bat I quickly added a 6 gal class carboy and a 6 gal better bottle, prob cheaper in the long run to buy as a package. :mug:
 

Whut

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I started with a similar kit that was recommended previouslly and still use 1/2 of the items in it here going on 2 years later. I'd recommend starting with a 5 gallon extract kit. It'll come with complete instructions (ak.a step by step) to walk you through it. Once you've done it a couple of times you'll start thinking "dang, why didn't I do this sooner." You can get them at probably any homebrew store or online at Morebeer.com or Northerbrewer.com (to name a couple).

I'm in Southwest Arizona and had great success brewing Ales using wash tubs filled with water and then wrapping a beach towel around the buckets. The towels will work like an evaporative cooler and keep them around 8/10 degrees cooler than the air in the house.

I've made some good, some bad, and some just had to be tossed. But I learned something from each one of them.

Have fun! :ban:
 
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