Need help picking my next recipe

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Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2009
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Huntsville, AL
Hello everyone!
I'm brand new to the homebrew world. I've talked about trying to brew for a while but never really took the time to look into it. My wife, knowing full well how much I can talk about something without ever doing anything about it, bought me Papazian's book for Christmas. And then, when I hadn't even taken the time to get it off the shelf, took me out to dinner for Valentines Day and then drove me to the local homebrew shop and told me to get everything I needed to start brewing!

I made a fair number of mistakes starting off, and the newbie guides (especially the stickied threads) were a huge encouragement. In any case, I have an Irish Red that's been in the secondary for 2 weeks and will be bottled tomorrow. Meanwhile I have a wort chiller on order. (I didn't find out about the importance of rapidly cooling the wort before brewing, and I just left my first batch covered on the counter to cool - it took 10 hours to get below 80 deg!)

This brings me to my biggest problem. I need to decide what to brew next! For my first couple batches I think I want to just stick with recipe kits from the homebrew shops. Once I have my techniques down a bit better I'll branch out more. But I'd like some suggestions on what to brew. I tend to prefer the darker beers and do like stouts, but I was kind of in the mood for something a touch less bitter. I'm a big fan of Mackeson XXX. I had a Rogue Mocha Porter from the tap at a local pub and was planning to try the AHS clone, but I bought a 6-pack earlier today and decided the bottled version isn't quite as sweet as I remembered. I'm also still trying to find a beer my wife can tolerate. So I was hoping to solicit some suggestions. I'd like to try something that AHS has an extract kit for, at least for the moment. I also realize that once I get a better feel for the techniques of brewing there are all manner of things I can do to adjust the recipe for taste, and I look forward to experimenting in the future.

Thanks for the info!
I've made kits from and from and I've been very happy with them. I guess the easiest way to decide is to just go to their websites and look at the lists they have and pick a couple that look good! In two months when your beer is ready to drink, it will be warm outside and you can think about what kind of beer will taste good then. I'm always a fan of American ambers (like Fat Tire) and pale ales (like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) and at that time of year, it might be something you want to try. The clone kits at AHS are pretty close, and I'd recommend them.
I have that trouble too. I want to brew everything, so narrowing it down to one thing is hard. I'd say to choose your favourite beer or style, and try to mimic that. Look at AHBS's list of commercial clones, and see if anything takes your fancy. I have one of those going right now (Bishop's Finger, and it tasted wonderful when I took my first hydro sample).

BTW - if the wife isn't too keen on beer, you probably won't want to make a dark one for her. They tend to be an acquired taste. I hear the AHBS Blue Moon clone is very good, and popular with non-beer drinkers. My next batch will be something similar for similar reasons!

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