New to brewing, looking for advice

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New Member
Mar 19, 2005
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Rhode Island
I want to start brewing up some of my own beer but I'm not sure where to begin. Should I get a kit? What type of beer is good for my first brew? I like Abbey's and Heifenweizen's, but not sure if those would be good for my first brewing experience. I was thinking maybe an IPA?
Hey Piper,
I'm new too, but as you will quickly learn, this is a captivating hobby!
What kind of equipment do you have? Single stage, two stage or nothing yet?
I am actually drinking a IPA now, which was my second batch and if I do say, it is excellant!
Piper said:
I want to start brewing up some of my own beer but I'm not sure where to begin. Should I get a kit? What type of beer is good for my first brew? I like Abbey's and Heifenweizen's, but not sure if those would be good for my first brewing experience. I was thinking maybe an IPA?

You begin by getting a book and reading it. The complete handbook of home brewing by dave miller would be my suggestion. Then you will have a better idea of what to start with and how to do it well.Your right about abbeys and heife they would be a bad choice for first brew. An ale is a good first beer but hefewiesen takes a little more expertise.
Read the book so you understand the process a bit and then you can decide whether or not to buy a kit. The instuctions and ingredients in many kits are terrible and have discouraging results. It's a much better idea to know what you're doing than to buy a kit and expect good beer to be as easy to make as Kool-Aid (it isn't, but many kits would have you think so). You'll benefit greatly from understanding what's going on.

Read some more in this forum and online. Once you have some more specific questions, post em here. Cheers! :D
When you ask"should you buy a kit" are you refering to an ingredient kit, or an equipment kit? You can usually get a deal on equipment kits. My HBS sells one for 75 and it comes with papizans book.Look for something like that for an equipment kit.

I like finding recipes and buying the ingredients rather than kits. Then i know its fresh....also, my HBS doesnt even sell kits for that reason. I think im pretty lucky to have such a nice supplier though. They have lots of stock, and fresh ingredients. Any way you go about getting into it, read up on it first so you understand what, and why your doing what you do.
you and your hbs employee/owner can construct a "kit" with fresher ingredients than the box kind. i read the joy of brewing and that is a pretty good reference book. try using dme(dry malt extract) instead of liquid and try lots of different hops.
once u get the basic brewing techniques down the skys the limit. remember its not rocket science so just have fun, and reap the benifits,boy oh boy reap the benifits.
I'd also take the time to look at John Palmer's online version of his book, How To Brew. Lot's of good information and, best of all, it's free!
my setup was given to me as a gift, but the "Gifter" went to my LHBS and had the guy there walk through step by step to build the setup... AND a set of ingredients..
has worked great so far, and the HBS guy is now getting entirely TOOOOO much of my money..!!!

But Damn is this fun!
What I did was contact my HBS and order a starter kit of equipment and a store recipe total about $100. These were recipes the store had which included the ingredients and instructions of how to make the batch. Of course I read Homebrewing for Dummies along the way and checked out a few online articles.
Home Brew heaven baby!! They have the ultimate equipment starter kit. IT COMES WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED. They will also ship it with a ingredients kit of your choice at a discounted rate. I am VERY pleased with my purchase. Their kit even comes with a wort chiller, and an instructional DVD, and a copy of Joy of home brewing!

They really rock. They have great customer service, cheap shipping, and will even give advice over the phone. The best part is that they are cheaper then my local HBS, even after the shipping price.

They are located in Washington. If I make an order with them it usually arrives by the next day. (I live in Portland) Very Very pleased.
I'm new too and just started drinking my first ever batch. I can tell you what I did that worked for me. I researched home brewing online and also bought a couple books. Reading through the books without every having any hands on experience with the equipment and the process wasn't really working for me. I can learn a lot from reading but I need hands on as well so I just jumped right in. I bought an equipment kit and keg setup along with two recipe kits. This way I could go through the process a couple times to get familiar with the process.

My plan is to find a kit recipe that I like and then start replacing ingredients with fresher ones of my own choosing one at a time and making tweaks along the way until eventually I have a recipe that is entirely my own.

My first batch turned out good but I still have some keg issues to figure out. I like wheat beers so those are the kits I bought. Someone mentioned that hef is a little complicated for the first time brewer so now I'm wondering what makes a hef a hef. I alway thought it was just a wheat beer. Hopefully someone will chime in with some info.

I agree with those who say to go to your local beer store if you have one. No matter what the hobby, you can always pick up some great info from local store owners and from my experience, someone who loves a hobby or craft enough to open a store usually love to talk about it, share their knowledge, and welcome new people into their world. You also can't beat supporting local businesses.

I say just jump right in. Even if your first batch doesn't turn out you will learn a ton. Sometimes you learn more from your failures than successes anyway.
I've never actually brewed a Hefe so I can't chime in on the complexity of making one. As for the difference between a Hefeweizen and a regular Weizen, the key is the German word Hefe (yeast). You see Weizens that are cloudy and others that are clear. The cloudy has yeast still in suspension. Hefe yeast does not flocculate out of the beer and hangs in suspension. Don't worry though, because brewers yeast is a great source of vitamins (especially B).
In my opinion the best thing you could possibly do when starting off is to actually visit your LHBS. It's free and you'll get the best information about getting started. They have a vested interest in making sure you are happy and successful in your new hobby.

John Palmer's book is awesome but at first I would just talk to someone. If you read too much (or look on the forum too much:eek:) it can get overwhelming and too complicating fast.

Also, your LHBS can help you put together a "kit" that has fresh ingredients and help you design a recipe that's right for you. I love my LHBS!
If there is a LHBS by you, just start there. Most places will help you get everything you need for the process and will be a valuable resource in getting you started. Beyond that, there isn't that much to it when your just getting started.

Do you like to boil water? Do you like cleaning? Do you like lifting semi-heavy buckets of liquid? Do you like beer? Homebrewing is for you.
I bought a beginner's kit from Midwest. The instructions are good and it comes with a free DVD with a walk-through of different types of brewing.
When you brew there are a lot of things going on at once. You'll probably make mistakes, we all do. It'll get easier the more you do it (like everything else).
And the midwest beginners basic brewing kit is only $65. They have options you can add to it as well. They do indeed have some good instructions,& the DVD can be a good visual help as well. Their kits are quite good. But that online palmer's book is the outdated first addition. So some things have to be taken with a grain of salt.