Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock'd N00b Advice

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

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Apr 13, 2006
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Post easy to understand advice to n00bs in bullet points.


2) If I disagree or am convinced it can't be summed up in a sentence or 3, I'll delete it.
3) Eventually all discussion posts will be deleted or edited so that only the KISS advice remains.
4) One topic per post. Keep it minimal or it will be MERCILESSLY edited or deleted at my whim.
5) Again. Stuff will be MERCILESSLY deleted at my whim.

N00bs. Do not post questions here because they may be deleted. Start a new thread.

Want to play?
Start with a simple beer. You need to get a feel for the variables you can control and those that you need to work on. Fruit = No.
Airlock activity (or the lack of) is not necessarily indicative of fermentation progress. Check the specific gravity with a hydrometer. Don't even bother counting and timing airlock bubbles.
The amount of time that it takes a batch of beer to carbonate can be highly variable. You might get lucky and have some carbonation at a week or two, but don't think twice about it if you don't for at least three weeks.
That white stuff at the bottom of your bottles is called yeast. It is necessary in order for your beer to be carbonated. No you can't really filter it away if you are bottling and want to have "fizz." Learn to pour your beer into a glass, leaving about a quarter of an inch behind.
No matter how cool you think it is to modify, augment, or completely screw around with a recipe or kit, resist the urge to do so for your first 10 batches. Prove to yourself that you can make someone else's good beer before you try to make your own from scratch.
Clean and sanitized are not the same thing. You should clean and then sanitize your equipment.
Screw top bottles won't work with a wing capper. They will work with a bench capper, which are cheap on ebay.
Clear and green bottles are fine. As long as they're kept out of the light. It doesn't matter with cider or apfelwein.
UV light skunks Hops.
Don't worry about water if you are using extracts. Don't use unmodified distilled water for all grain.
Those little bags of white powder called "one step" that came in your kit aren't "really" sanitizers. As soon as you run out get a bottle of either Idophor or Star San, and "no rinse" really means no rinse, despite the foam or the smell. It won't hurt your beer.
No, you don't NEED a secondary. But it's nice. Oh, and Hefes, apfelwein, and Wit's don't need them
Boilovers happen, even in big pots.
Watch extra close when you first reach boiling with the extract in, then each time you add hops.
A spray bottle with clean water will knock the foam down, so will a fan or blowing on it.
Anything that will come in contact with your wort/beer AFTER you have boiled it NEEDS to be sanitized.

Yes, that includes your hands.

It is safe to dunk them in diluted starsan or iodophor.
Alamo_Beer said:
Oxyclean is your friend

Nothing beats it for getting labels off bottles (Soak for 24 hours in warm water/oxyclean).

You can throw away your bottle and carboy brushes and use only an oxyclean soak and a thorough rinsing. Run your autosiphon in a bucket of oxyclean to clean it too.

Non scented oxyclean is recommended.

The no name/generic/wallmart type works fine.
If foam (AKA krausen) starts coming out of your airlock and/or blows the stopper/lid/airlock off, your batch is not necessarily ruined. Clean up and sanitize as best you can, and switch to a blowoff tube until fermentation calms down again.
Not sure if this was your plan already, but perhaps this should be made into a wiki page once the initial flood of entries slows down? It would keep the info more condensed, possibly making the lazier n00bs more likely to read the whole thing than when it's spread across many pages, provided people liberally link to the page when n00b questions are asked.

<feel free to delete>
You aren't going to save any money by brewing your own beer. It's about the fun/experience of it all.