Second brew recommendations?

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JonGardner

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I am a brand new brewer, having made only one 5 gal batch. My first was a clone of the Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed IPA from an extract kit with specialty grains and four different applications of hops. Much to my surprise, it turned out great. Now I want to make my next batch to add variety.
I have a “”better basic” Northern Brewer kit with a single glass carboy, a bottling bucket and all the basic accessories.
My beer tastes are varied, but not that experienced. I have enjoyed Fat Tire in the past. I don’t normally like the Bud & Miller types. I do like some dark beers very much, but will probably do one of those for my third batch. For now, I would like something that is a little lighter than the IPA I just made, but is still full-bodied and has some complexity. Maybe even some spice? I have never had a Belgian, a helles, a saison or many other types but am willing to explore. I’m not fond of the few Hefeweizen’s I have tried. What recommendations do any of you have, that you particularly enjoy that aren’t beyond my beginner skills?
 

DBhomebrew

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Congrats on enjoying your first batch!

Check out @D.B.Moody's thread of favorite extract recipes. As you'll read, many of these he has brewed dozens of times. Proven and dialed in, they are.

Toward the end of thread I've added a grisette (cousin to saison). Still in the fermenter, but gravity samples are mighty tasty and slightly spicy.

 

D.B.Moody

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I can't help but agree with @DBhomebrew, but, if you go to ordering malt extract and other makings instead of a kit, DO NOT order from Northern Brewer. They are very high on their pricing. My favorite on line place is Rite Brew, but they don't carry Munton's, so I also order from Label Peelers or Home Brew Ohio. Don't know where you live, but I also get some supplies from my local home brew supply store. I have at times just used Briess instead of Muntons (or vice versa) because it made ordering easier/a lot less expensive.

Welcome to a great hobby and HBT.
 
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JonGardner

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Thanks! FYI: I am in the Raleigh, NC area. My kit was bought second hand from someone who never used it, so I haven’t dealt with Northern Brewer yet, so I appreciate the info. My first brew was from a locally created recipe kit bought from my local HB store.
 
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camonick

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Thanks! FYI: I am in the Raleigh, NC area. My kit was bought second hand from someone who never used it, so I haven’t dealt with Northern Brewer yet, so I appreciate the info. My first brew was from a locally created recipe kit bought from my local HB store.
If you live in Raleigh, Atlantic Homebrew Supply is going to be the only place you need. Although I live in Colorado, I buy many of my supplies/ ingredients there and have never been disappointed.
 

CascadesBrewer

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My first tip is: Do NOT start off brewing an IPA!! Wait...

Well, if you were able to make a solid IPA then seems like you could pick up most styles. The styles that I generally recommend to new brewers are mid to low ABV and flavorful ales. Stuff like Irish Red, Brown Ales, Porters, Stouts, Pale Ales, Blondes, English Bitters, and Scottish Ales. Maybe wheat beers. Pale Lagers can be a challenge to brew and they don't hide flaws very well. Belgians might be a decent style, but the yeasts can be finicky and it would be better if you knew what they taste like. I would avoid stuff like high ABV, fruited beers, sours

Even if you do not order from them, Northern Brewer and More Beer all have a very good listing of extract kits. You can click through to get a sheet that lists the ingredients and instructions. More Beer is one of my favorite online vendors. I have been meaning to try Atlantic Homebrew Supply, but I know they have a bunch of kits as part of the collaboration with The Homebrew Challenge YouTube channel.

Good luck!
 

Sammy86

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Thanks! FYI: I am in the Raleigh, NC area. My kit was bought second hand from someone who never used it, so I haven’t dealt with Northern Brewer yet, so I appreciate the info. My first brew was from a locally created recipe kit bought from my local HB store.

Atlantic Brew Supply is in Raleigh, I would highly recommend checking them out!
 

hotbeer

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I don't know why people say don't brew an IPA. I did for some of my first beers and still do. Perhaps everyone now thinks of IPA's as heavily dry hopped NEIPA's which most are not. Nor do IPA's require dry hopping to be an IPA. There are quite a few recipes that say they are IPA's and they just stuff a bunch of hops at the end of boil. No dry hopping required.

Can't really offer you any advice on what to brew next. For me I started off with 1 gallon all grain kits. Extract if that is what you are doing is a different game that I can't relate to until you get it in the fermenter.

Perhaps you ought to just start out doing some single hop IPA's so you'll get to know the tastes and aroma notes that individual hops bring to beer.
 
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Hey welcome to the sport, and kudos for turning a decent IPA on your first batch, that is certainly jumping in to the deep end of the pool!

Sounds like we have similar tastes, when I started out I went through a Belgian phase because I really like yeast phenolics and brewing with spices. Plus, most Belgian yeast strains do well fermenting at room temp so you don't have to bother with temp control.

For non-Belgian styles I recommend trying Kveik yeast, most strains ferment really clean at room temp (or hotter!) and can even produce super clean lager-like styles. Can you tell I'm not a big fan of temp controlled fermentation? I do have a fermentation chamber but when I was starting out, lack of temp control was my biggest problem.

Also, since you like dark beers, I **highly** recommend brewing one. I find they are more forgiving of the flaws most new brewers are prone to. FYI, Kveik strains work really well for dark beers :p

What kind of water are you brewing with?
 
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I can't help but agree with @DBhomebrew, but, if you go to ordering malt extract and other makings instead of a kit, DO NOT order from Northern Brewer. They are very high on their pricing. My favorite on line place is Rite Brew, but they don't carry Munton's, so I also order from Label Peelers or Home Brew Ohio. Don't know where you live, but I also get some supplies from my local home brew supply store. I have at times just used Briess instead of Muntons (or vice versa) because it made ordering easier/a lot less expensive.

Welcome to a great hobby and HBT.
+1 for Ritebrew, I order most of my full sacks from them, great service and best prices with shipping I've found.
 

pvtpublic

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My beer tastes are varied, but not that experienced. I have enjoyed Fat Tire in the past. I don’t normally like the Bud & Miller types. I do like some dark beers very much, but will probably do one of those for my third batch. For now, I would like something that is a little lighter than the IPA I just made, but is still full-bodied and has some complexity. Maybe even some spice? I have never had a Belgian, a helles, a saison or many other types but am willing to explore. I’m not fond of the few Hefeweizen’s I have tried. What recommendations do any of you have, that you particularly enjoy that aren’t beyond my beginner skills?
I'll share what I did to vastly expand my knowledge of brewing and appreciating beer.

First, go to the BJCP website and download the 2021 style guidelines, the study guide, and fault list. Within the guidelines, they list commercial examples of each style. Learn how to evaluate a beer and follow along with each description. Randy Mosher's "Tasting Beer" is a great resource for this.

Second, find your favorite podcast for brewing knowledge and listen to it often. I prefer The Brewing Network, but there are many other great podcasts. The Brewing Network has several shows to choose from, and for starting in style knowledge, The Jamil Show/Brewing With Style is a great starting point. It's hosted by Jamil Zainasheff, who is arguably the king of beer styles. Granted it is a bit dated, so it doesn't reflect the current guidelines, but it's so loaded with knowledge (and crude humor at times) that it's worth it's weight in gold.

Third, get into a local brew club and bring everything you brew to the meetings for feedback, and enter as many competitions as you can for the same purpose.

Fourth, grab a copy of Ray Daniels' "Designing Great Beer" and Jamil's "Brewing Classic Styles" these two will greatly improve your understanding of the styles and ingredients (so long as you go through them all)

Fifth, I'm studying with a group right now to become a BJCP judge. Every week we take a couple from the guidelines to pick apart and evaluate. Being able to focus on a small handful of related styles to compare and contrast each one in addition to individual evaluation has been intrumental in my progress.

Sixth, drink a lot.

Good luck!
 

Neldog0

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I am a brand new brewer, having made only one 5 gal batch. My first was a clone of the Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed IPA from an extract kit with specialty grains and four different applications of hops. Much to my surprise, it turned out great. Now I want to make my next batch to add variety.
I have a “”better basic” Northern Brewer kit with a single glass carboy, a bottling bucket and all the basic accessories.
My beer tastes are varied, but not that experienced. I have enjoyed Fat Tire in the past. I don’t normally like the Bud & Miller types. I do like some dark beers very much, but will probably do one of those for my third batch. For now, I would like something that is a little lighter than the IPA I just made, but is still full-bodied and has some complexity. Maybe even some spice? I have never had a Belgian, a helles, a saison or many other types but am willing to explore. I’m not fond of the few Hefeweizen’s I have tried. What recommendations do any of you have, that you particularly enjoy that aren’t beyond my beginner skills?
Try the Sierra Madre Pale ale extract kit. This makes a nice clean and crisp ale with some complexity. It is a good brew to do while learning some of the techniques of home brewing.
 
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JonGardner

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Congrats on enjoying your first batch!

Check out @D.B.Moody's thread of favorite extract recipes. As you'll read, many of these he has brewed dozens of times. Proven and dialed in, they are.

Toward the end of thread I've added a grisette (cousin to saison). Still in the fermenter, but gravity samples are mighty tasty and slightly spicy.

[URL by
Hey welcome to the sport, and kudos for turning a decent IPA on your first batch, that is certainly jumping in to the deep end of the pool!

Sounds like we have similar tastes, when I started out I went through a Belgian phase because I really like yeast phenolics and brewing with spices. Plus, most Belgian yeast strains do well fermenting at room temp so you don't have to bother with temp control.

For non-Belgian styles I recommend trying Kveik yeast, most strains ferment really clean at room temp (or even hotter!) and can even produce super clean lager-like styles. Can you tell I'm not a big fan of temp controlled fermentation? I do have a fermentation chamber but when I was starting out, lack of temp control was my biggest problems.

Also, since you like dark beers, I **highly** recommend brewing one. I find they are more forgiving of the flaws most new brewers are prone to. FYI, Kveik strains work really well for dark beers :p

What kind of water are you brewing with?
I used distilled water.
 
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I used distilled water.
Distilled is better than tap since you aren't dealing with chlorine, but distilled water lacks the mineral salts that buffer pH so your mash might be a bit off. There is a thread here somewhere about basic water adjustments, you might look into that for a base level of chloride, sodium, etc. which will enhance the flavor of your beers. If spring water is also an option you could just switch to brewing with that.
 
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I'll share what I did to vastly expand my vast knowledge of brewing and appreciating beer...
FTFY.
First, go to the BJCP website and download the 2021 style guidelines...
...I'm studying with a group right now to become a BJCP judge.
Ahem.
Good luck!
Now re-read the above, but imagine Thurston Howell III as the speaker, and he began with "Didn't we meet last year at the Peninsula club?"

As a new brewer, you can ignore BJCP styles until you want to compete. And Jamil Z is an intolerable prick.
 
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pvtpublic

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Now re-read the above, but imagine Thurston Howell III as the speaker, and he began with "Didn't we meet last year at the Peninsula club?"

As a new brewer, you can ignore BJCP styles until you want to compete. And Jamil Z is an intolerable prick.
I'm just trying to help the guy understand his ingredients by sharing what helped me. Perhaps you should re-read that part. It seems JZ isn't the intolerable prick here...
 
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I'm just trying to help the guy understand his ingredients by sharing what helped me. Perhaps you should re-read that part. It seems JZ isn't the intolerable prick here...
The answer to "what should I brew for my second batch?" isn't "go study ALL the BJCP styles, study ALL the flaws, ALL the ingredients, and become a judge like me."

The guy is just starting out.
 

Komodo

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This is all my opinion.
You will likely make good beers, later some great beers, some excellent beers. Similarly, your palette may be somewhat developed, later much more so. Most people starting out spend a lot of time agonizing over recipes and over complicating them (chocolate coffee rasbery creme brûlée whatever). My advice would be to keep the recipe real simple and focus on technique, sanitation, repeatability. Find out the places where it really matters. Brew a lot. Consider SMASH recipes (single malt / single hop) to learn the ingredients. Simpler recipes are almost always better. Even experienced brewers often use way to many malts and muddy the whole thing up. Use and experiment with different yeasts. That’s really the heart of brewing. Have fun, and don’t worry about anything / everything.

Doing a simple saison would be a good place to start, it sorta fits the profile you mention, there are some good dry Belgian yeasts, and you can keep the recipe real simple, and focus on yeast performance and how you treat them. Plus it’s delicious.
 
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JonGardner

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Distilled is better than tap since you aren't dealing with chlorine, but distilled water lacks the mineral salts that buffer pH so your mash might be a bit off. There is a thread here somewhere about basic water adjustments, you might look into that for a base level of chloride, sodium, etc. which will enhance the flavor of your beers. If spring water is also an option you could just switch to brewing with that.
Thanks—I’ll look for that info!
 
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JonGardner

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The answer to "what should I brew for my second batch?" isn't "go study ALL the BJCP styles, study ALL the flaws, ALL the ingredients, and become a judge like me."

The guy is just starting out.
You’re right, this is beyond me, but it is always good to have as much information as possible.
 

lumpher

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1 of my best pieces of advice is, if you don't know what a style tastes like Saison, Farmhouse, Wit, Belgian Tripel, Sour, etc, go to a store and buy 1 and drink it before you go to the expense and hassle of getting stuck with 5 gallons of something you don't like. We tend to call that "Research".
 

pvtpublic

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The answer to "what should I brew for my second batch?" isn't "go study ALL the BJCP styles, study ALL the flaws, ALL the ingredients, and become a judge like me."

The guy is just starting out.
That's not the answer I gave. I simply said what helped me expand my knowledge of ingredients and styles, in the hopes of being helpful to him figure out what he likes to brew.
 

camonick

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Distilled is better than tap since you aren't dealing with chlorine, but distilled water lacks the mineral salts that buffer pH so your mash might be a bit off.
OP stated that they are brewing with extracts right now, so distilled water should be OK. But yes, if they ever move to brewing all grain, they may want to consider adjusting their mash water.
 

camonick

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1 of my best pieces of advice is, if you don't know what a style tastes like Saison, Farmhouse, Wit, Belgian Tripel, Sour, etc, go to a store and buy 1 and drink it before you go to the expense and hassle of getting stuck with 5 gallons of something you don't like. We tend to call that "Research".
I agree with this 100% and I often do the same thing when I am interested in trying a new style. Many larger liquor stores have a ‘make your own six pack’ section where you can find single bottles or cans of different styles to try.

@JonGardner I would suggest looking into a cream ale, blonde ale, or a simple pale ale if you want something a little “lighter“ than an IPA. For your third batch if you want a darker style, I would look at an amber/Irish red ale, or a simple brown ale or Porter. In your first post, you mentioned possibly a Helles. That beer is a lager that requires more stringent temperature control for the fermentation and is a little harder for a beginner to brew. It is also a very light style of beer that is just a notch above the Budweiser that you said you don’t particularly care for… it is more flavorful, however.
 
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There is a thread here somewhere about basic water adjustments, you might look into that for a base level of chloride, sodium, etc. which will enhance the flavor of your beers.
For all-grain brewing and basic water adjustments the article Water Chemistry – How to Build Your Water (link) is the 'cliff notes' for A Brewing Water Chemistry Primer (link) here at HomeBrewTalk.

For extract brewing and flavor adjustments (using S04, Cl, and/or Na), check out the "Advanced Extract Brewing" (2022 pages) and "I Brewed a Favorite Recipe" topics. IIRC, there were also a couple of topics specific to extract brewing and 'water chemistry' in the 2018-2019 time frame.
 
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JonGardner

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This is all my opinion.
You will likely make good beers, later some great beers, some excellent beers. Similarly, your palette may be somewhat developed, later much more so. Most people starting out spend a lot of time agonizing over recipes and over complicating them (chocolate coffee rasbery creme brûlée whatever). My advice would be to keep the recipe real simple and focus on technique, sanitation, repeatability. Find out the places where it really matters. Brew a lot. Consider SMASH recipes (single malt / single hop) to learn the ingredients. Simpler recipes are almost always better. Even experienced brewers often use way to many malts and muddy the whole thing up. Use and experiment with different yeasts. That’s really the heart of brewing. Have fun, and don’t worry about anything / everything.

Doing a simple saison would be a good place to start, it sorta fits the profile you mention, there are some good dry Belgian yeasts, and you can keep the recipe real simple, and focus on yeast performance and how you treat them. Plus it’s delicious.
I had been thinking about a saison, but doesn’t it require a warmer fermentation temp? I might be able to manage it by closing the AC vent to a specific room…
I agree with this 100% and I often do the same thing when I am interested in trying a new style. Many larger liquor stores have a ‘make your own six pack’ section where you can find single bottles or cans of different styles to try.

@JonGardner I would suggest looking into a cream ale, blonde ale, or a simple pale ale if you want something a little “lighter“ than an IPA. For your third batch if you want a darker style, I would look at an amber/Irish red ale, or a simple brown ale or Porter. In your first post, you mentioned possibly a Helles. That beer is a lager that requires more stringent temperature control for the fermentation and is a little harder for a beginner to brew. It is also a very light style of beer that is just a notch above the Budweiser that you said you don’t particularly care for… it is more flavorful, however.
A helles was’t specifically under consideration, just an example of how limited my experiences had been.
 

wsmith1625

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I am a brand new brewer, having made only one 5 gal batch. My first was a clone of the Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed IPA from an extract kit with specialty grains and four different applications of hops. Much to my surprise, it turned out great. Now I want to make my next batch to add variety.
I have a “”better basic” Northern Brewer kit with a single glass carboy, a bottling bucket and all the basic accessories.
My beer tastes are varied, but not that experienced. I have enjoyed Fat Tire in the past. I don’t normally like the Bud & Miller types. I do like some dark beers very much, but will probably do one of those for my third batch. For now, I would like something that is a little lighter than the IPA I just made, but is still full-bodied and has some complexity. Maybe even some spice? I have never had a Belgian, a helles, a saison or many other types but am willing to explore. I’m not fond of the few Hefeweizen’s I have tried. What recommendations do any of you have, that you particularly enjoy that aren’t beyond my beginner skills?
My advice is to brew beer that you like and that you're familiar with. Try a few clone recipes and see how close you come to the commercial products. I enjoyed doing that and found that as I improved my brewing process, I got closer to the originals.
 
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JonGardner

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1 of my best pieces of advice is, if you don't know what a style tastes like Saison, Farmhouse, Wit, Belgian Tripel, Sour, etc, go to a store and buy 1 and drink it before you go to the expense and hassle of getting stuck with 5 gallons of something you don't like. We tend to call that "Research".
I hadn’t mentioned it previously, but I need my beer to be gluten free/reduced. So far, beer made with Clairity Ferm doesn’t bother me, so that is what I am doing. Unfortunately, that makes a standard route to research problematic.
 

camonick

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I hadn’t mentioned it previously, but I need my beer to be gluten free/reduced. So far, beer made with Clairity Ferm doesn’t bother me, so that is what I am doing. Unfortunately, that makes a standard route to research problematic.
That changes pretty much all of the advice given above. There is a gluten-free forum here on HBT that may have some suggestions.
 

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You should brew what you like rather than as an opportunity to learn about a lot of styles. When a batch makes five gallons, that's a lot of beer to drink or dump if you decide you don't care that much for a style. As you learn more about what you like or change your mind about styles you will have more styles to explore brewing.
 

pvtpublic

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I guess I have to clarify why I posted the guidelines. They're guidelines, not rules. Look through the descriptions to see what seems appealing. Even if that means combining two or more styles. Try a few commercial examples. Look at the typical ingredients used in those styles and their flavor profiles, and tweak it to what you think you might like. In my experience, this is what has helped me, but there seems to be a misguided census that I'm trying to be high and mighty with the BJCP. I'm not, I just consider it a good resource for what I want to do and I'm trying to pass on something to a fellow brewer. That's why we're here, to help each other and learn from each other. I don't understand why you would discount reference materials...seems pretty childish to me...probably the same kind of idiot that would put vanilla into a cream ale.
 
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JonGardner

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That changes pretty much all of the advice given above. There is a gluten-free forum here on HBT that may have some suggestions.
No, not really. Using Clarity Firm, I can brew any beer I like and get the gluten content well below the federal standards. Experience has shown that I have no reaction to beer treated this way.
 
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Just my $0.02, and some of this echoes what has already been said, but I started with extract recipes, and they were ok-it wasn't the ingredients (although I love doing all-grain now), it was my ability-level.

The first flaws I worked on were: Chlorine in the water (bought a carbon filter), fermentation temperature (initially I used a water-filled tray with the carboy inside covered by a t-shirt wicking water up out of the tray and a fan blowing on the whole contraption), and oxidation (carefully moving from primary to bottling bucket, carefully bottling, and eventually kegging because of the long bottling days).

Then I looked at water chemistry, cooling wort faster, and recipe creation. Now I am up to a 3-fermenter glycol system, RO Water, and a lagering box in addition to a keezer with 3 taps. It's a process, and some of it is unnecessary for a hobbyist.

I suggest taking it slow, taking lots of notes of your experiences, and working on the items that will probably make the biggest difference in the quality of your home brew. My initial attempts at IPA/DIPA always were oxidized (the stout was also, but no one could taste it); why spend $15 just on hops that you can't taste? I had to get a handle on that. I got off flavors from my chlorinated tap water, so a cheap carbon filter from a hardware store was better than buying water by the 1 to 5G jug. Having a cooler filled with water and ice bottles with a pump and cooling system for the carboy kept the yeast off-flavors down. That's kind of a hassle, always buying ice or swapping out bottles, so I built a DIY glycol chiller, but only after a few years of home brewing.

Learn from everyone, even if it's bad advice.
Some famous human that gets memed all the time said something like this, "Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn." I drank a lot of off beer, but I learned from the process.

Make beer.
Have fun.
 
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