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Morri896

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I just got a starter kit from northern brewer and I'm completely new to home brewing, although I've been wanting to try it for several years. But with my work schedule I'm typically home for a month, and gone for a month. Any suggestions on brews that could be done by a beginner with that kind of schedule?
 

IslandLizard

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Welcome to HBT!

Read the stickies in the several forums, especially the Beginners, General, and Extract brewing forums. And any others that catch your eye.

Brewing takes half a day, but it takes about 2-3 weeks to ferment a batch, and 2-3 weeks for your beer filled bottles to properly carbonate. So on your month off schedule, brew early on, ferment, then bottle before you leave. When you return your bottles are ready to drink. Maybe do 2 brews back to back, so you get twice the beer to enjoy. Or 3x.
Rinse and repeat.

Ingredient kits go on sale all the time, so you may want to order a few months or half a year's worth while they're on a good or great sale. Like $20 or less for a 5 gallon kit. Order over a certain amount, shipping becomes free too.
Since Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies are owned by Budweiser (InBev), many of us prefer to shop elsewhere. Check Morebeer for similar deals. They have an Amazon store too, with great sales.

A few important pointers, some are in the stickies:
  • All-malt based beers are much better than those using a can and a few pounds of sugar. Sugar has no flavor, it only contributes alcohol, with which the malt beer is being diluted, leaving a thin mouthfeel and less flavor.
  • You need a place that stays coolish during the fermentation. Especially the first week. Around 64-67F is perfect for most beers (ales).
  • Some beers (yeasts) like it a little warmer (Belgians 68-74F), a few a lot warmer (Saisons >78F) and all true Lagers (using a Lager yeast) need it 10-15F colder (50-55F).
  • Whatever the (kit) instruction tell you, do NOT transfer your beer to a secondary after xx days. Totally disregard any and all of that. Leave it in the (primary) fermenter until ready to bottle.
  • Read the online edition, at least the first few chapters, of John Palmer's How to Brew. And when you become seriously hooked on homebrewing, buy the 4th edition book.
Enjoy your hobby!
 
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Morri896

Morri896

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Thanks for the advice, my brother got me the northern brewer kit for my birthday so inbev already got their money, what suppliers do people here tend to use?
 

IslandLizard

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NB... It happens, don't worry.

Many like MoreBeer and not just for their ingredient kits. Their Amazon store has a different name, same products, though.
Free shipping can make many deals really good.

Keep an eye on our 'Deals' Forum for announcements like that. Or check in on HomeBrewFinds.com periodically or subscribe to their daily digests.

Shopping at a Local Homebrew Store (LHBS) has many advantages too, if you have one nearby. You may pay more, but you usually get good service, talk to a usually knowledgeable person (many are homebrewers themselves). When you forgot to buy that pack of yeast or you run short on extract powder, or hops, they're darn convenient.

P.S. I moved your thread to the Beginners Forum, that's the best place for it.
 

Alex4mula

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Read, read and read. All you need is here. Make a checklist of steps to follow. Many little things that you can forget or get out of order. Pay special attention to sanitation needs and fermentation temp and you will be amazed by your first brew. Welcome!
 

Jag75

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Morri896 , welcome to the coolest forum !
Be prepared to be brewing your brains out man . It's such a fun hobby. This place has so many experienced people to help out . I've learned a ton on here just reading, posting and asking questions . I think most start out with extract kits . Have fun and happy brewing !
 

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Welcome!
I like to buy my grains and supplies from morebeer.com and hops from yackamavalleyhops.com
Cheers to your new adventure! [emoji482]
 

camonick

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Thanks for the advice, my brother got me the northern brewer kit for my birthday so inbev already got their money, what suppliers do people here tend to use?
I’ve been using Atlantic Brew Supply from North Carolina a lot lately. They have pretty good prices and you can buy grains by the ounce from them. They have $8.00 flat rate shipping on almost everything they sell. MoreBeer is good too... they have a great selection of extract and AG kits that produce some very good beer. Welcome to the hobby.
Slainte
 
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Morri896

Morri896

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Checked online and found a home brew store nearby, I'll be checking them out soon. Also why would i not want to transfer for secondary fermentation?
 

AkTom

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Should work for most styles. I usually wait 2 weeks minimum before bottling. 4-6 weeks shouldn’t cause any issues. As you gain experience, you can see how it works for you. I used to work 2 and 2. I loved it.
If you are making ipa’s, dry hopping might be an issue. I once left a week early, had just dry hopped, and sweatedit out got 23 days. Turned out great.
Cheers
 

IslandLizard

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If your temp is good, you can brew right before you leave and bottle when you get home.
I think I offered a much better brewing schedule:
Brewing takes half a day, but it takes about 2-3 weeks to ferment a batch, and 2-3 weeks for your beer filled bottles to properly carbonate. So on your month off schedule, brew early on, ferment, then bottle before you leave. When you return your bottles are ready to drink.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Also why would i not want to transfer for secondary fermentation?
A number of years ago, American Homebrewers Association ran an "Ask The Experts" series in their forum.


Therefore [Palmer], and Jamil and White Labs and Wyeast Labs, do not recommend racking to a secondary fermenter for ANY ale, except when conducting an actual second fermentation, such as adding fruit or souring. Racking to prevent autolysis is not necessary, and therefore the risk of oxidation is completely avoidable. Even lagers do not require racking to a second fermenter before lagering. With the right pitching rate, using fresh healthy yeast, and proper aeration of the wort prior to pitching, the fermentation of the beer will be complete within 3-8 days (bigger = longer). This time period includes the secondary or conditioning phase of fermentation when the yeast clean up acetaldehyde and diacetyl. The real purpose of lagering a beer is to use the colder temperatures to encourage the yeast to flocculate and promote the precipitation and sedimentation of microparticles and haze.

So, the new rule of thumb: don’t rack a beer to a secondary, ever, unless you are going to conduct a secondary fermentation.
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=15108.msg191642#msg191642
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I just got a starter kit from northern brewer and I'm completely new to home brewing, although I've been wanting to try it for several years.
Since you already have the kit, I'm going to suggest avoiding reading "How To Brew" twice - and buy a copy of the fourth edition.

The book is structured so that Chapter 1 is all one needs to read for the first extract+steep recipe brew day. Remaining chapters can be read over the next couple of weeks while you are traveling (or waiting for the beer to finish fermenting). BTW, the 'no secondary unless actually fermenting' is 'built-in' to the 4e of the book - so you don't have to 'unlearn' it (and a bunch of other stuff) if you start with the online (first) edition.
 

dwhite60

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I’ve been using Atlantic Brew Supply from North Carolina a lot lately. They have pretty good prices and you can buy grains by the ounce from them. They have $8.00 flat rate shipping on almost everything they sell. MoreBeer is good too... they have a great selection of extract and AG kits that produce some very good beer. Welcome to the hobby.
Slainte
I use them too. I'm only ten miles or so away from them but it's easier to have stuff shipped than to worry about fitting a visit to them into my schedule especially for eight bucks shipping on orders over $25 (Free shipping over $125).

They're fast, accurate, reasonably priced. As close as I am I can have most things next day if I order before noon or so.

All the Best,
D. White
 

Jtk78

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Thanks for the advice, my brother got me the northern brewer kit for my birthday so inbev already got their money, what suppliers do people here tend to use?
Not sure where you are geographically, but I've had great luck with Morebeer, Adventures in homebrewing, and Ritebrew for online resources.
 

ncbrewer

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If your temp is good, you can brew right before you leave and bottle when you get home.
One suggestion - The temperature might not be what is expected when fermentation is active since it produces some heat. Maybe it looks like there is a good place for fermentation while the OP is away (basement, etc.). Then check closely on a batch fermenting while you're home. If the temperature stays where it should, you're good to go.
 

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@IslandLizard , you did indeed present the preferred schedule. However, if his life is occasionally as messed up as mine, he should know there are alternate realities, I mean schedules.
Cheers
Oh, yeah, no argument there. How many times have we planned a brew day to only brew 3 weeks after that?

For anyone on a tight or irregular schedule, and serious about brewing, I'd recommend buying some kegs, a CO2 tank, and forego bottling and natural carbonation. Maybe it's time I should start that Procrastinator Alert thread highlighting my 5-day NEIPAs. 5 days grain to glass that is, being among the best beers at the event.
 
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Morri896

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Thanksfor the replies. It turns out I wasn't patient enough to wait until I got home from my next trip (leaving town in a few days) so I went ahead sunday night and brewed a batch of the amber ale that came with the kit. It looks like right now the temp should be ok, just checked it with a temporal thermometer and it's reading 64.9F, and it's the warmest day that we've had since I brewed it. It's just sitting in a corner of my garage. It's probably going to be there for 5 weeks before I can move it to bottles. At least after that I can brew another batch while I'm home and can set up a swamp cooler.
 

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Good to hear you got to brewing your first batch! Must feel good knowing there will be beer waiting when you get back.

Make sure there is enough water (or better yet, Starsan) in your airlock before you leave!
 
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Morri896

Morri896

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Good to hear you got to brewing your first batch! Must feel good knowing there will be beer waiting when you get back.

Make sure there is enough water (or better yet, Starsan) in your airlock before you leave!
Used the sanitizing solution, freaked out at first when I saw that one side was empty, then I saw the other side had filled up more. It's a little less vigorous than I thought it would be though.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Lower ABV beers get done more quickly - it's worth noting that most British commercial brewers work on fermentation being done within 6-7 days, sometimes less, but British styles are rather easier on yeast than some 8-10% monster.

Also kveik (eg Voss, Hornindal, Hothead) can rip through fermentation very quickly if you give them the warmth that they love.
 
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Morri896

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Lower ABV beers get done more quickly - it's worth noting that most British commercial brewers work on fermentation being done within 6-7 days, sometimes less, but British styles are rather easier on yeast than some 8-10% monster.

Also kveik (eg Voss, Hornindal, Hothead) can rip through fermentation very quickly if you give them the warmth that they love.
I was thinking about trying hot head, but I want to be able to be consistent with ingredients right now and only change one thing up per batch so I can see the effects, and everywhere online recommends against ordering liquid yeast in the summer. I'm actually a little worried that my beer is too cold right now. Right before I left I checked the temp and it was sitting at 59F. There was a quarter inch layer of sediment at the bottom, and it hasn't ben bubbling very much. I used muntons dry ale yeast.
 

Northern_Brewer

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I was thinking about trying hot head, but I want to be able to be consistent with ingredients right now and only change one thing up per batch so I can see the effects, and everywhere online recommends against ordering liquid yeast in the summer.
That's good thinking but the whole point of kveik is that it's a lot more heat tolerant than regular yeast so it should be able to cope with most temperatures you can throw at it unless you're in Death Valley or somewhere. Also you don't have to buy fresh yeast for every batch - Norwegian farmers keep kveik dried on bits of wood, it's not that hard to wrangle yeast and if you're somewhere where shipping in summer is a concern then it's probably a good skill to learn.

I'm actually a little worried that my beer is too cold right now. Right before I left I checked the temp and it was sitting at 59F. There was a quarter inch layer of sediment at the bottom, and it hasn't ben bubbling very much. I used muntons dry ale yeast.
If there's a thick layer of yeast on the bottom then you're probably close to done. A lot of British brewing is done at that kind of temperature or lower so I wouldn't sweat it too much. It would have been worth checking the gravity by the sound of it.
 
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Morri896

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That's good thinking but the whole point of kveik is that it's a lot more heat tolerant than regular yeast so it should be able to cope with most temperatures you can throw at it unless you're in Death Valley or somewhere. Also you don't have to buy fresh yeast for every batch - Norwegian farmers keep kveik dried on bits of wood, it's not that hard to wrangle yeast and if you're somewhere where shipping in summer is a concern then it's probably a good skill to learn.



If there's a thick layer of yeast on the bottom then you're probably close to done. A lot of British brewing is done at that kind of temperature or lower so I wouldn't sweat it too much. It would have been worth checking the gravity by the sound of it.
I didn't think it would be, it was only 5 days old, also I haven't gotten a hydrometer yet. Planning on it when I get back.
 

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I just got a starter kit from northern brewer and I'm completely new to home brewing, although I've been wanting to try it for several years. But with my work schedule I'm typically home for a month, and gone for a month. Any suggestions on brews that could be done by a beginner with that kind of schedule?
Anything you want. Your schedule is definitely homebrew friendly. Have fun! Lots of opinions here, Keep it simple to start, and you'll make some good beer. Buy a homebrew book to take with you when you are away, so you can plan what you will be trying when you are home.
 

BarleyStanding

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Thanks for the advice, my brother got me the northern brewer kit for my birthday so inbev already got their money, what suppliers do people here tend to use?
Welcome to the hobby. I would suggest checking out your local homebrew store (LHBS) if you have one within a reasonable distance to your location. They are a great place to bounce ideas and questions off other homebrewers, and you can get plugged into any local clubs and/or events you have in your area if you wish. I'll order online now and then with the big suppliers in a pinch, but I like hitting the LHBS to get the majority of my supplies (I have 2 within 45 minute round trip). If your fist brew comes out funky, don't give, up. Post your results here, there are a lot of very experienced brewers who are more than happy to help your next brew better. Cheers!
 
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Morri896

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Just bottled today. Got a hydrometer, read 1.014. Guessing 1.048 for og bases on calculator. Kit says og 1.043. I wound up leaving a good bitbehind because I was nervous about getting sediment. Wound up with 42 bottles worth. I tried what was in the tube and it seems better than I thought it was going to be, although pretty light tasting.
 

IslandLizard

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Congrats with your first completed brew!

1.043/1.048 is a fairly 'small' beer. Carbonation adds a lot of mouthfeel, it takes about 3 weeks.

If you want stronger beer, you need to get into the high 1.050s to mid/high 1.060s range. There are many good kits out thereand stock up when they go on a good sale. As low as $20-25 per 5 gallon (extract) kit, often with free shipping above $60 order. You'd get at least 3 kits. Toss the hops in the freezer and the dry yeast in the fridge or freezer.

If you want to deviate from ready to go kits, you can use loose ingredients to brew extract recipes found in our recipe database (or elsewhere). Many of our recipes have brew suggestions and feedback. Typically you need light DME (or fresh LME), 1-2 pounds of a variety of steeping grains for flavor, hops, and yeast. Using water from the faucet may be fine, just treat for Chlorine/Chloramines if it's municipal water.
 
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Morri896

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Congrats with your first completed brew!

1.043/1.048 is a fairly 'small' beer. Carbonation adds a lot of mouthfeel, it takes about 3 weeks.

If you want stronger beer, you need to get into the high 1.050s to mid/high 1.060s range. There are many good kits out thereand stock up when they go on a good sale. As low as $20-25 per 5 gallon (extract) kit, often with free shipping above $60 order. You'd get at least 3 kits. Toss the hops in the freezer and the dry yeast in the fridge or freezer.

If you want to deviate from ready to go kits, you can use loose ingredients to brew extract recipes found in our recipe database (or elsewhere). Many of our recipes have brew suggestions and feedback. Typically you need light DME (or fresh LME), 1-2 pounds of a variety of steeping grains for flavor, hops, and yeast. Using water from the faucet may be fine, just treat for Chlorine/Chloramines if it's municipal water.
I have a water softener and a filtration system (second faucet that is extra fultered for drinking), it's just a pain to get several gallons into a pot. That's what I did for this batch though. I bought some ingredients to do a stout, how different is it without the nitro?
 

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I have a water softener and a filtration system (second faucet that is extra fultered for drinking), it's just a pain to get several gallons into a pot. That's what I did for this batch though. I bought some ingredients to do a stout, how different is it without the nitro?
What kind of filtration?
With water softeners, you need to watch for the amount of Sodium or Potassium Chloride ('salt') they add to the water in exchange for removing the calcium. A subsequent RO filter can then remove 90-95% of those, but a carbon filter, such as a Pur, can't.

Stouts can be very good using regular carbonation either from bottles or tap. 95% is still the quality of the brewed beer, 5% is the added nitro. IOW, learn to brew good beer first, a nitro tap won't make a bad or mediocre Stout good.

Nitro is mostly about mouthfeel and the thick creamy foam. But a nitro system (or beer gas) is a big step up cost wise. You also need kegs and a kegerator/keezer with a special stout faucet, which contains a restrictor plate that gives you the cascading pour and thick foam. AFAIK, only one member in our brew club, with over 60 (very) active members, has a nitro system.
 
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Morri896

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What kind of filtration?
With water softeners, you need to watch for the amount of Sodium or Potassium Chloride ('salt') they add to the water in exchange for removing the calcium. A subsequent RO filter can then remove 90-95% of those, but a carbon filter, such as a Pur, can't.

Stouts can be very good using regular carbonation either from bottles or tap. 95% is still the quality of the brewed beer, 5% is the added nitro. IOW, learn to brew good beer first, a nitro tap won't make a bad or mediocre Stout good.

Nitro is mostly about mouthfeel and the thick creamy foam. But a nitro system (or beer gas) is a big step up cost wise. You also need kegs and a kegerator/keezer with a special stout faucet, which contains a restrictor plate that gives you the cascading pour and thick foam. AFAIK, only one member in our brew club, with over 60 (very) active members, has a nitro system.
I'm not sure exactly what type. It's not a pur though. It was installed by the same people that did our water softener. It's a big thing under our sink.
 

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I'm not sure exactly what type. It's not a pur though. It was installed by the same people that did our water softener. It's a big thing under our sink.
If it's really large, it could be an RO reservoir. You would have the RO system itself in the basement or so.
If it consists of one large canister ~12-14" x 6" it's likely a carbon block filter.
If there are 4 or 5 skinnier 12-14" long canisters connected by short tubes, it's likely RO.

RO would be swell!
 
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Morri896

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If it's really large, it could be an RO reservoir. You would have the RO system itself in the basement or so.
If it consists of one large canister ~12-14" x 6" it's likely a carbon block filter.
If there are 4 or 5 skinnier 12-14" long canisters connected by short tubes, it's likely RO.

RO would be swell!
These 3 things here?
 
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