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Your first beer kit?

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creatorsgame

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Finally breaking out my Northern Brewer kit I’ve had for over 3 years. Looking to brew my first batch... but the Chinook IPA is clearly old and needs to be discarded.

Any recommendations for a first time beer kit?
 

dawn_kiebawls

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Does the kit have LME or DME? If DME I would just replace the hops, steeping grains, yeast and brew it.

As far as kits go though, what style do you like to drink? That's what I would recommend. Cheers!
 
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Also, I’d drink anything. I can appreciate any style. I gravitate more toward Stouts and IPA’s while rarely drink Sours or Saisons, but I like to enjoy all styles.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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Ah, my bad!

LME (Liquid Malt Extract)
DME (Dry Malt Extract)

Today is international beer day so I'm about to RDWHAHB (Relax, dont worry, have a homebrew) Cheers!
 

dawn_kiebawls

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While I dont have one in particular to recommend, I would be tempted to go for a Caramel Amber since they're about to FINALLY be in season. But, I'm biased as Fall is my favorite season and Ambers are among my favorite brew. Stouts are also about to be in season.

Do you have a way to control fermentation temperatures? If not, I would consider a Saison since the yeast strains for Saisons are quite happy being hot so you can ferment at room temperature with little worries of off flavors. Just my $0.02
 
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creatorsgame

creatorsgame

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While I dont have one in particular to recommend, I would be tempted to go for a Caramel Amber since they're about to FINALLY be in season. But, I'm biased as Fall is my favorite season and Ambers are among my favorite brew. Stouts are also about to be in season.

Do you have a way to control fermentation temperatures? If not, I would consider a Saison since the yeast strains for Saisons are quite happy being hot so you can ferment at room temperature with little worries of off flavors. Just my $0.02
Fall beers are my favorite too. I enjoy Ambers, and that style is among my wife’s favorite so that is a good option.

As far as fermentation temps I plan on going indoors, so low 70’s in a dark closet. Garage is way too hot with the heat index having been into the 100’s recently.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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Fall beers are my favorite too. I enjoy Ambers, and that style is among my wife’s favorite so that is a good option.
If it makes you AND your wife happy, brew the Amber. Often lol.

I've never used LME so others may chime in, but I wouldn't throw it away until someone can verify how long it stays good for but I'm sure it's still usable just not ideal.

As far as fermentation temperatures go: ambient air temperatures (room temp) is not usually suitable for brewing. Fermentation is a thermodynamic process, meaning it generates heat, sometimes by up to as many as 10 extra degrees F in a vigorous fermentation.

Typical Ale temps want to be ~65F, so if left to do it's thing in a 70F room, it could potentially hit 80F and you will more than likely have noticeable off flavors.

A simple and effective workaround is called a 'swamp cooler'. Essentially it's a bucket of water you put your carboy/bucket of water in and you can put frozen water bottles in to keep the temps down. Some people have even draped a wet tshirt or a towel over the carboy and point a fan at it to keep temps even lower. A quick google search will show you exactly what I'm talking about.

With Ambers you want a clean yeast profile to showcase the malt, so fermenting on the lower end of the temperature range is better than on the higher side. Hope this helps! Now I need to rearrange my brew schedule to get an Amber going again..
 

ChiknNutz

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I had a 5 year old extract kit I brewed a few months back and it turned out decent, didn't replace anything. It was a Hefeweizen and it ended up pretty dark, as to be expected, but tastes alright. I still have a few bottles of it remaining. YMMV, of course.
 
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creatorsgame

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If it makes you AND your wife happy, brew the Amber. Often lol.

I've never used LME so others may chime in, but I wouldn't throw it away until someone can verify how long it stays good for but I'm sure it's still usable just not ideal.

As far as fermentation temperatures go: ambient air temperatures (room temp) is not usually suitable for brewing. Fermentation is a thermodynamic process, meaning it generates heat, sometimes by up to as many as 10 extra degrees F in a vigorous fermentation.

Typical Ale temps want to be ~65F, so if left to do it's thing in a 70F room, it could potentially hit 80F and you will more than likely have noticeable off flavors.

A simple and effective workaround is called a 'swamp cooler'. Essentially it's a bucket of water you put your carboy/bucket of water in and you can put frozen water bottles in to keep the temps down. Some people have even draped a wet tshirt or a towel over the carboy and point a fan at it to keep temps even lower. A quick google search will show you exactly what I'm talking about.

With Ambers you want a clean yeast profile to showcase the malt, so fermenting on the lower end of the temperature range is better than on the higher side. Hope this helps! Now I need to rearrange my brew schedule to get an Amber going again..
Appreciate the responses.

May look into a fermentation cooler/converted fridge. I genuinely want to make good beer... if I’ve got to spend some $ and get creative to do it right, I’m willing to do so.
 
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creatorsgame

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I had a 5 year old extract kit I brewed a few months back and it turned out decent, didn't replace anything. It was a Hefeweizen and it ended up pretty dark, as to be expected, but tastes alright. I still have a few bottles of it remaining. YMMV, of course.
5 years? Wow.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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Appreciate the responses.

May look into a fermentation cooler/converted fridge. I genuinely want to make good beer... if I’ve got to spend some $ and get creative to do it right, I’m willing to do so.
I've got a chest freezer for sale that would be perfect for a fermentation chamber if you're interested 🤣

Seriously though, dont buy that one lol. Swamp coolers work very well for a batch or two but are labor intensive. Chest freezers are hard to find and expensive right now because everyone is hoarding them due to the Rona. Keep an eye out on Craigslist for a cheap fridge and get yourself an external thermostat like this one and you're off to the races. A heating pad should also be used. Seems counterintuitive, but its true. Cheers!
 
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creatorsgame

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I've got a chest freezer for sale that would be perfect for a fermentation chamber if you're interested 🤣

Seriously though, dont buy that one lol. Swamp coolers work very well for a batch or two but are labor intensive. Chest freezers are hard to find and expensive right now because everyone is hoarding them due to the Rona. Keep an eye out on Craigslist for a cheap fridge and get yourself an external thermostat like this one and you're off to the races. A heating pad should also be used. Seems counterintuitive, but its true. Cheers!
Great call on the chest freezer... my parents may have one I can drag back down south. Graduated high school 20 years ago and it has pretty much sat there unused since.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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Great call on the chest freezer... my parents may have one I can drag back down south. Graduated high school 20 years ago and it has pretty much sat there unused since.
Free is the best route, accept mine..that was bad. Just be sure to set the compressor delay on whatever thermostat you use to its maximum, which I believe is 3 minutes on the model I linked. This just keeps the compressor from kicking on too many times too close together (there's a word for that, but I never graduated High School and I've been drinking) which will burn it out quickly. Ask me how I know...

Also, if you're truly interested in brewing good beer pick up a copy of How to Brew by John Palmer. There is a plethora of good information in there. I also found it helpful to make a batch before I read it so I could learn from my own mistakes since I don't seem to learn very well from other peoples mistakes lol
 

Immocles

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I've never brewed a stout kit, so I cant give a recommendation there. I brewed about 5-6 kits from NB and if you're buying from them, I thought the block party amber ale and the Irish red ale were standout, great starter recipe kits. Also the kolsch kit is really basic and tasty. The only IPA kit I brewed from them was very so-so, but that might have been more due to my fermentation process at the time than the actual recipe since I hear rave reviews about most of them. And it appears they sell a ton of ipa kits.
 
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creatorsgame

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Free is the best route, accept mine..that was bad. Just be sure to set the compressor delay on whatever thermostat you use to its maximum, which I believe is 3 minutes on the model I linked. This just keeps the compressor from kicking on too many times too close together (there's a word for that, but I never graduated High School and I've been drinking) which will burn it out quickly. Ask me how I know...

Also, if you're truly interested in brewing good beer pick up a copy of How to Brew by John Palmer. There is a plethora of good information in there. I also found it helpful to make a batch before I read it so I could learn from my own mistakes since I don't seem to learn very well from other peoples mistakes lol
Currently reading “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing” by Charlie Papazian, but I am familiar with your title.

I’ll pick it up... thank you!
 
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creatorsgame

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I've never brewed a stout kit, so I cant give a recommendation there. I brewed about 5-6 kits from NB and if you're buying from them, I thought the block party amber ale and the Irish red ale were standout, great starter recipe kits. Also the kolsch kit is really basic and tasty. The only IPA kit I brewed from them was very so-so, but that might have been more due to my fermentation process at the time than the actual recipe since I hear rave reviews about most of them. And it appears they sell a ton of ipa kits.
Nice! The Amber Ale and/or Irish Red look to be fairly basic for a noob like me.
 

Dinadan

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I brewed this amber not long ago. I liked it! You would probably need some new yeast, and sugar, of course. This is for a five gallon batch. I am not experienced enough to say if it is better than any other amber LME.
 

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creatorsgame

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I brewed this amber not long ago. I liked it! You would probably need some new yeast, and sugar, of course. This is for a five gallon batch. I am not experienced enough to say if it is better than any other amber LME.
Excellent... appreciate the input here.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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My opinion is DME doesn’t “go bad” so unless there’s evidence that the package didn’t hold I’d use it. If it is clumpy that’s a sign that moisture Is present. Definitely freshen up those hops.
 

kartracer2

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Currently reading “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing” by Charlie Papazian, but I am familiar with your title.
Great book,should be in every brewers library. The only thing is some of the processes are somewhat dated. The biggest one is using secondary fermentation. Seldom is that needed for most ales in particular.
Lot's of good smart ppl. here and most are nice, (LOL). Stroll around the different forum topics, soak up what you can. And It's better to ask a seemingly stupid question than waste what could be a great beer.
Welcome and good luck ! :mug:
Joel B.
 
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