Tell me about your first batch

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WDT

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I'm brand new to the hobby and like the title says I want to know how everyone did their first time around. Any 'gotchas' that I should know about before jumping into this?

I got a Midwest brown ale kit that I'm going to try this weekend, any pro tips?
 

BluBruShack

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Congrats on getting into a great hobby!

Tips: Sanitize everything, use a checklist How to Brew by Palmer has a great one and a lot of good info for you.
2: Have an area ahead of time where you can keep the temperature consistently within the range of the yeast
3: Nothing wrong with having a few beers while making beer but there can be big problems when you have to many.
4: Ive run into instances where I did not have quite enough time to brew so set out a good chunk of time for it.
5: Have plenty of ice for cooling your wort(for ice bath)
6: Have fun, its easy to get stressed some times, relax your making beer it should be fun.


I also found a bunch of videos online about brewing that helped me out. The guy is a little intense but has a good message.
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/user/HomebrewerTV#p/search/2/pcAT6DUymXQ[/ame]
The video is a 3 part, its First Brew Part 1. Hope this helps and good luck

BBS
 

djfriesen

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Still fairly new myself. My first batch is 1 week into bottle conditioning so I'm still at least 3 weeks from trying one of them. I bought a 1 gal all grain starter kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop. Pretty good set of directions, and they really simplified the all grain process. And it's one of the few kits that suggested 2 weeks in primary (I still did 3+).
 

MichaelBrock

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My first batch was a kit from Midwest. I made two big mistakes that affected the flavor of the beer. First, I used tap water which, as it turns out, has chloramine in it. The beer has strong chlorophenol flavors. Second, I had trouble cooling the wort down (ice bath in the tub) and even though it was following directions, I pitched the yeast too warm, at about 80 degrees so it has all of the interesting flavors yeast gives at warmer temperatures. In the end it was drinkable though. For my second batch I cleared up the water issues and by the third I had bought an immersion chiller and that batch is awesome!
 

StittsvilleJames

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My first batch, a "Continental Lager" from,I think Muntons, tasted like garbage. Luckily, while waiting for it to finish, i had brewed up a batch from an extract + specialty grains recipe online. The second batch was good enough to get me over the discouragement of the first one.
 

BugAC

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My first batch was Palmer's American Pale Ale recipe, the first in the book how to brew. It was amazing. I have people requesting it.

A few tips.

1. Clean and sanitize EVERYTHING
2. Set aside a couple days for brewing. One day to clean and sanitize, and if needed, sterilize your water (boiling it). One day to brew. Take me about 4 hours to brew on brew day, majority of time is cleaning.
3. Stay away from Cooper's carb drops. I have 70 beers that have to be dumped because i used it and it drastically overcarbonated my beer. Stick with corn sugar.
4. Save up your bottles
 

McGarnigle

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My first batch was True Brew Nut Brown. Didn't work out so well. It was a very hot summer, I left the kit in a warm closet for a long time and ended up brewing on a hot weekend anyway. Fermented too high.

Also, I didn't have StarSan or an auto-siphon yet, which made sanitizing and bottling much more difficult.
 

FightingBob

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1. Sanitize
2. Sanitize
3. Don't get ahead of yourself. There can be a lot going on and perfecting the process when starting out is more important than anything except one (see the next tip).
4. Sanitize

Welcome to the hobby. It can really suck you in because of how much fun it can be.
 

kyleobie

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My batch was a pale ale kit from my LHBS. I forget the exact recipe, but I think it was dry extract, a half pound of crystal, and Cascade and Willamette hops.

I posted frantically around here about every nuance of my brewing day. I was worried I'd brewed a contaminated batch with life-threatening bacteria.

Turned out great. I was the life of a BBQ.
 

JonM

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Mine was Northern Brewer's Chinook IPA based on a recommendation that a hoppy IPA would help cover up mistakes that a noob might make.

I made plenty of mistakes (didn't put gallon marks on my better bottle so I didn't add enough top-off water, fermented way too warm, oxidized the heck out of it by bottling without a bottling wand, etc.) but it was darn tasty beer and SWMBO an I and her parents drank it pretty quickly. It was so good that I just remade the same recipe as my 40th-ish batch.
 

Jsmith82

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Sanitation is key - Time is a virtue. That is the best advice I can give.. I've gone as far as knocking a grease hood over the stove into the end of a boil before, the beer turned out great. Yeast are amazing - give them time to do their job.

Welcome to HBT and welcome to your new obsession! :ban:
 

BeerChef17

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First batch was BB American Amber (delicious btw!) Here is my $0.02

1. Lay out everything you are going to need before hand.
2. Sanatize - I fill up my fermenter with water and the correct amount of 1step and soak everything in that - only taking it out once I need it.
3. Once you put something (spoon) in the boil just leave it in so it stays sanitary
4. Cool with a water bath (no ice), to drop temp down considerably, drain the sink, then fill with an ice bath.
5. Dont pitch yeast too warm
6. If you dont have a cool enough are to ferment (the ferment temp will be ~10 warmer than ambient) freeze some water bottles/jugs awhile and use them with a cooler + water to hold the fermentation vessel.
7. Personally I am a fan of the secondary - your call
8. after bottling let sit 3 weeks!
9 MOST IMPORTANT - have fun and enjoy
 

danorocks17

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i did a brewer's best IPA kit. It was a frantic day and afterwards i felt like i'd been through a battle, but it was all worth it and I had a ton of fun.

It's going to take longer than you think, you are going to make mistakes, and you are going to want to drink it way too early. In the end you will have made a pretty darn good beer, but make sure you are patient. Good luck, and welcome!
 

daksin

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My first kit was an all-grain Brooklyn Brew Shop Summer Wheat. It was a disaster. Mash temps were all over the place, probably way too high, and all sorts of other issues.

I see a lot of people stressing sanitization, which is good, but it's not that hard.
Also seeing "give it lots of time and don't bother it" which is great advice.

What I'm not seeing is TEMPERATURE CONTROL. This is CRITICAL. My first beer was a disaster not because of the mashing temps or all-grain ness, it was a disaster becase I fermented the beer between 75F and 85F for two weeks. It tasted like wheat-juice and cough syrup when it was done, and it was only approaching drinkable after 2 months in bottles.

Fermenting too hot will cause all sorts of horrendous off flavors.
You really need to be in the mid-low 60s (F) while your beer is fermenting, and remember, that's WORT temperature, not AMBIENT temperature.

If you stay sanitary, read up on this forum, and ferment at low temps, you'll be fine.
Remember:

Cool your wort as quickly as possible

Rehydrate your dry yeast in 100-105F water (water only, no sugar), or make a starter from your liquid yeast (you can search the forums or do a quick google on how to do this) after checking your pitching rates with the Mr. Malty pitching rate calculator (google).

Aerate the hell out of your wort after it's cool.

Take an OG reading before you pitch.

WAIT until your wort is at its fermenting temperature to pitch.

Ferment low and slow- at least 3 weeks in the primary. If you have more patience than that, longer is ALWAYS better.

DONT WORRY ABOUT BUBBLES FROM YOUR AIRLOCK. They'll probably go nuts for a day or two or five, and then drop way way down. Don't sweat it, even if they don't go nuts ever.

AFTER 3 weeks is up, check your gravity two days apart. If they're near your expected FG and aren't different, you're good to bottle.

Bulk prime with sugar when the primary is over, and be sure to mix the sugar well (you can rack on top of the boiled sugar solution, and then stir gently for a few minutes).

Store your bottles for AT LEAST 3 weeks at 70F. This is the minimum time for carbonation. If you have more patience than that, longer is ALWAYS better.

It helps to chill your bottles at serving temperature for as long as possible before drinking. A week is best.

Good luck, and enjoy. Since you're already on HBT, you're 90% of the way there, and already on your way to making your first batch way better than most of our first batches were. Cheers!
 

DGibb

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I couldn't agree more; temperature control is absolutely essential. My first batch was many years ago under the supervision of a veteran brewer, but I recently came back to it, and it could have gone better.

I agree with a lot of the previous posters: set it out, wash it and sanitize it all carefully. Go over the instructions and procedures a few times.

Since this was my first time brewing in my new house, I did a dry run on the boil, where I learned that I can't boil 2.5 gallons of water on my electric, glass top stove (not in my aluminum pot at least). The boil was cut down slightly and then getting the wort down to pitching temp was tough. I didn't buy enough ice. Lesson learned.

Watch you sanitization, process, and temps. Learn patience while it is fermenting - keep it cool, dark, and stationary. Take good notes. Have a beer. Homebrew preferred, but craft brew will work in a pinch. RDWHAHB.
 

Lemon

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Take the tempature of the wort before pitching yeast. Your better off letting it sit overnight untill it cools than pitching too hot.

My first batch mistake was being impatinet with cooling my wort in the sink icebath and pitching at 120 degrees. Don't do that - the beer will have a real bad aftertaste.

My first gear upgrade was a wort chiller.
 

KevinW

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Lots of great advice so far!
My first batch was a Fat Tire extract clone from a LHBS. It was good, better than the real thing anyway and after one more extract I went all-grain and haven't turned back!

Sanitize good! Have a decent thermometer! Have good measurement of liquid volumes! Dollar Tree timer! A scale oz/mg is very helpful!

Lay out everything ahead of time and take notes of temps, volumes, and weights for better troubleshooting.

It is a lot easier to do than to read about doing so relax, enjoy, and look forward to some good beer in 6-8 weeks! 3-4 weeks fermentor and 3-4 weeks in the bottle!

Good luck
 

wolfstar

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pick up a case or two of your favorite retail brew, every time you have the urge to check your baby...have a retail brew or three....don't be nozy on the yeasties...let them do their job for a couple or three weeks :)
 

wolverinebrewer

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I don't have a lot to add because of all of the previous responses. I don't know how much of a hurry you are to brew that first batch but I would say to read here daily if you are not ready to brew. I spent 5 months on this forum before even attempting to brew. When it was time to whip up the Hophead Double IPA from Midwest, it went off without any issues. You really can't mess up.
Good Luck.
 

FightingBob

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+1 on being patient after you bottle.

I had a bottle of my first batch after a few weeks and it was ok. I had my last bottle of my first batch 10 months after my first brew and it was amazing!

If you find you love the hobby, brew a pipeline of your faves.
 

Pilotpip

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I think everybody covered it. I've brewed 2 batches so far. The first was a Brewer's Best APA kit. The second was a boundary waters wheat from Midwest Supplies. The first time, while it wasn't insane, was a trainwreck compared to the second. Probably because I knew what to expect and when.

Everybody covered the sanitation. I bought a 5 gallon bucket and a couple spray bottles at home depot. I keep the bucket full of starsan and a bottle of starsan and PBW so I can clean/sanitize as I go.

Organization goes along with that. Keep track of everything and have it laid out or located so it's easy to grab when you need it.

Keep notes so you have something to look back at if you make the batch again (good for changes or improvements to your routine).

Have at least 10lbs more ice than you think you need to cool the wort.

Have FUN! While it can be a little hectic/chaotic it's a lot of fun and I found it to be very relaxing the second time around.
 

Tomerwt

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My number one tip is DO NOT FOLLOW THE KITS INSTRUCTIONS IF THEY SOUND DODGY. Unless they tell you to do the same thing as you will read on this forum. I remember my very first kit, for example: the instructions told me to open the fermenter and stir the beer every day during fermentation. That ofcourse is the last thing you should do.
 
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WDT

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Hey, thanks everyone. These examples are great. I am looking forward to tomorrows brew day!
 
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