You're a Beginner & Your Beer isn't Optimal...Who cares?

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Doc Robinson

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I brewed my first batch ever on October 10th. I did a partial mash on a Bell's Two Hearted ale. I didn't know what "dry hop" meant and added the "dry hops" as soon as I removed the wort from the heat. NOT OPTIMAL. I racked to my clearing tank after 7 days. I didn't take a hydrometer reading, the airlock bubbles were 3 minutes apart, and most likely I was past 75% attenuation. NOT OPTIMAL. Here's why if you care.

I conditioned my brew in the clearing tank for ONLY 5 days before kegging because I was impatient & excited. NOT OPTIMAL. There are a million posts why, so you can look those up.

What happened? My beer tastes AWESOME...that's what happened. Why? Because I am a beginner, and if you are reading this, you probably are too. If not, you are reading to see what I have to say and I'd like to know if you agree or disagree. Even if you have been drinking craft beer for years, you probably don't have the experience and the refined palate that comes with years of homebrewing to know the difference.

All the advice on this forum from amazing brewers and that you'll read in books like How to Brew has all us beginners freaking out about off-flavors and minor subtleties that might arise in our beers if we don't do this or if we don't do that. Frankly, I don't believe that at this level, we are even equipped to know the difference.

I'm not advocating repeating what I've done...in fact, I'm taking a stance against it. Follow expert advice, soak up knowledge, etc. However, if you do deviate for whatever reason, make mistakes, or start freaking out, just relax. Your beer won't be optimal. Who cares? It will still be awesome. Next time, just strive to make it more awesome.
 

brrman

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Nothing was optimal on my 1st brew about 3 years ago. But hot damn it tasted good to me!

What part of Indy are you in, Doc??
 

yorkbrew

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Hahaha I think what you mean is RDWHAHB!

My roommate and I have a saying about beer: The ancient Egyptians did it so it can't be that hard. I'm all about keeping it simple if it is producing good results. I caution you not to dismiss what other people might or might not be tasting with their palate. It is a subjective thing after all.

Kudos on the awesome beer!
 

PBTow

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You go on with your bad self! You giving me hope. I'm bottling my first batch next Tues. and I know I messed up but it's all good. I correct the things I did wrong on the next one. ;)
 

Neurot

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Hahaha I think what you mean is RDWHAHB!

My roommate and I have a saying about beer: The ancient Egyptians did it so it can't be that hard. I'm all about keeping it simple if it is producing good results. I caution you not to dismiss what other people might or might not be tasting with their palate. It is a subjective thing after all.

Kudos on the awesome beer!
Didn't they also build pyramids?
 

pdbreen

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So long as you keep things clean, I think it's almost impossible to make a fatal mistake. You may end up with something different than anticipated, but unless/until you're trying to churn out batches that are identical to ones made in the past, it just doesn't matter much.

Just take notes so when something turns out really good, you have clues as to why.

Congrats on your first batch!
 

Picobrew

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Sounds great Doc! I think the general theme is to try NOT TO FREAK OUT new brewers, but they always worry about every little thing. I'm glad that you are just chillaxing. I remember, it was really, really hard for that first batch especially, because it was the only beer you were working on. Once you have 7 fermenters going at once and tons of stuff ready to drink, it makes it a lot easier to RDWHAHB. I kept thinking the first time, if I actually had a damn homebrew to RDW with, this would be a lot easier!
 
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Doc Robinson

Doc Robinson

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Sounds great Doc! I think the general theme is to try NOT TO FREAK OUT new brewers, but they always worry about every little thing. I'm glad that you are just chillaxing. I remember, it was really, really hard for that first batch especially, because it was the only beer you were working on. Once you have 7 fermenters going at once and tons of stuff ready to drink, it makes it a lot easier to RDWHAHB. I kept thinking the first time, if I actually had a damn homebrew to RDW with, this would be a lot easier!
Haha. I am actually so obsessed, I brewed on the 10th, the 14th, and the 18th so I have another 10 gallons marinating in my closet! Now that I have one batch tapped, I am going to take my time with the other two.
 

dasein668

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I've been brewing for years. All grain. And often things aren't "optimal" even still. User error, freak accident, aging thermometer... It's always something. Still brew very good beer 98% of the time.

Carry on!
 

peripatetic

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I was very fortunate when brewing my first batch a couple of months ago to have a buddy come help me who is the most laid back person I know, and who has brewed a few times before (although a completely different style).

Every time something went wrong and the perfectionist/techie/geek in me wanted to scream, he said "Oh, I'm sure it'll be fine." Boil over? "It'll be fine." Forgot the second hops addition? "It'll be fine." Immersion cooler leaking unsanitized water into the wort? "It'll be fine."

Mistakes were made. But 2 weeks later I bottled, and 2 weeks after that I cracked the first one open and it was BEER! Real, honest-to-God beer! It tasted great!

Was it the best beer I'd ever had in my life? No. But my fiancee (who'd heard me moaning for a month about all the mistakes I'd made) took a few swallows, looked up in surprise, and said "hey, this is GOOD. I mean, I'd PAY for this!"

So, relax. It'll be fine. Just trust the Starsan, and you're good.
 

KhellendrosXS

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My first batch two weeks ago ended up having some hop material transferred into the carboy. I saw it in the krauzen when it was up really high. Now that it has fallen the hops are somewhere in there and man do they smell nice!

I cant wait to get this one kegged up!
 

DKershner

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All the advice on this forum from amazing brewers and that you'll read in books like How to Brew has all us beginners freaking out about off-flavors and minor subtleties that might arise in our beers if we don't do this or if we don't do that. Frankly, I don't believe that at this level, we are even equipped to know the difference.
The whole point of this site is for everyone to obsess about every detail of their own brew, and to tell everyone else to Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew.
 

LarryC

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This thread is great! I only have 5 batches under my belt but the goal is for each brew day to go a little smoother. With that seems to come each beer being a bit better. I don't know if I'll ever enter one of my beers in a contest but when I share my beer with friends and they compliment on it, that's enough reward for me. Maybe someday my perspective will be different but now I just enjoy the process and at the same time I get to enjoy the results :mug:
 

brrman

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Fishers. You?
Northwest side, just south of Zionsville... I used to live in Fishers tho. If you ever need someone to sample your brew... well I'm not that far away... LOL

And I kegged my first batch as well! Bottling takes too much work - though I do bottle portions of the more eclectic batches...
 

tommy_cian

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First post on this site, I really liked your post, awesome actually... enough to make me register.

I've been reading here since August (my first brew month). I've brewed 7 batches (including tonights cider thing). My first was a IPA that was sooo hoppy I couldn't drink it (although my neighbor happily had a case and a half over a weekend). Since then, 2 successfull nut brown ale, 1 great american amber ale (another ready to keg this weekend), a great blonde ale that I'm drinking now, and tonights weird and crazy cider.

It smells so good right now (while I'm waiting for it to cool) that I'm ready to start drinking. I've taken three orders from neighbors for christmas party brews, I can't get enough of it.

My wife is ready to kill me, since I've spent hundreds (or probably 1200) since august, but its a new passion...
 

Freddy57

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The only requirement that anyone has to meet when brewing beer, is to make a beer that YOU want to drink. Nothing else matters. I'm far from a beginner and I brew my beers to please ME. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about your brewing. Just brew in a manner that makes you happy and enjoy the hobby. Welcome to the obsession!
 
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Doc Robinson

Doc Robinson

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First post on this site, I really liked your post, awesome actually... enough to make me register.

I've been reading here since August (my first brew month). I've brewed 7 batches (including tonights cider thing). My first was a IPA that was sooo hoppy I couldn't drink it (although my neighbor happily had a case and a half over a weekend). Since then, 2 successfull nut brown ale, 1 great american amber ale (another ready to keg this weekend), a great blonde ale that I'm drinking now, and tonights weird and crazy cider.

It smells so good right now (while I'm waiting for it to cool) that I'm ready to start drinking. I've taken three orders from neighbors for christmas party brews, I can't get enough of it.

My wife is ready to kill me, since I've spent hundreds (or probably 1200) since august, but its a new passion...
I appreciate it. I'm glad you joined. As a new member myself, and only 3 weeks into brewing, I wanted to document my initial impression of the hobby and give my first impressions. For one reason or another, we are drawn to this obsession because we all have something in common. What exactly that is doesn't need to be spelled out. Just remember, money is for spending and a wife's raised brow is only transitory.
 

sudbuster

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OP,
It can become an obsession. It would be painful for me to know how much I've spent on equipment over the years. But, the best memories i have of this hobby are the times when a few of us , not so young boys now, would get together to brew. Maybe the stuff was crap; and probably was by today's standards, but we were having a blast. Seems now everyone is obsessed of all the tiny details. Anxiety abounds. People are trying to gain a following. Others writing books. Some wanting to do nanobreweries. Worry, toil, struggle, egos yearing for recognition .. It's sad how "fun" can turn into such a state.

We used to just give a beer to some friends and asked what they thought of it. Now one has to be BJCP tested before one can give a "meaningful" response.

Well, I'm glad your brew was AWSOME. That's what counts IMHO....
 

tommy_cian

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You are correct. I'm an attorney & CPA, so I can provide an itemized list upon request. ;)
I'm a trained actuary and PhD economist, I can tell you the effect of my home brew spending on peace treaties around the globe.

My wife has enjoyed my beer so far, although she doesn't like the calories, she asked for the cider, so I'll make her drink it...
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

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I am currently drinking a very young bitter that I brewed when I forgot my self control and got absolutely hammered on brew day. It was one of those occasions when you wake up from a coma and find that the beer fairies handled everything for you sometime after sparging. I have no idea what I did right or wrong with the boil, but I'm sure it's not optimal. And it STILL tastes great! :D
 
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