Brewing for beginners

Reads 5393 • Replies 61 • Started Saturday, September 8, 2012 9:07:10 AM CT

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beers 1589 º places 63 º 10:15 Sat 9/8/2012

Brewing kits are a great way to start. Brewing isn’t for everyone, and a serious setup for all grain brewing can set you back a good bit of cash. About $200 around these parts can get you everything you need to make a nice extract beer and you will use almost all of that stuff later if you step up to all grain.

places 1 º 10:17 Sat 9/8/2012

I think extracts are a good place to start, it limits a lot of the frustrations of brewing on your first time and cuts down the length of the brew day.

I would try to find the extracts that don’t have hops added to them, adding the hops yourself is easy and lets you add your own touch to the beer. Do a batch or two with the extracts to get a feel for the brewing process and see if you like brewing. They you can step up to the full process if you want.

beers 1606 º places 115 º 11:27 Sat 9/8/2012

I’m fairly new to homebrewing, and here’s what I did:

1. Read John Palmer’s "How to Brew" book to learn the necessities of brewing. There’s a free version online that should be a good start. The physical copies have more updated and detailed information.

2. Review homebrew forums to get a look at introductory questions and prepare to get started ( is where I initially went).

3. Once you understand the steps of homebrewing and the ingredients you’ll need, think about what kind of beer you would first like to make. I personally recommend starting with extract (as opposed to all-grain) and a simple, light style that you like (I went brown ale but also considered wheat or pale ale). In the long run, this will really help you understand the nuances of homebrewing so that down the road you’ll be able stretch boundaries in a precise, less risky way.

4. After figuring out a basic style you want to brew, think about some beers you really like that represent the style well. Search the web, including those forums you researched before, for people’s clone recipes of these beers, focusing on extract recipes. You may notice some similarities among the recipes that will give you confidence that you know the types and ratios of ingredients that will get you the beer you want to make.

5. Visit a homebrewing "beer calculus" website that allows you to enter recipes. Play around with types of ingredients/ratios and notice how it changes the profile of the beer: how malty or hoppy it is, changes in ABV, color, etc. I used Settle on a recipe that’s not too complicated but appears to meet the profile of a beer you’d want to drink.

6. Search through some youtube videos of beginning homebrewing and watch other people brew beer. There are a few videos that will allow you to translate what you’ve read into what it actually looks like in real life.

7. Order the equipment and ingredients you’re going to need.

8. Get started! Take notes on every part of the process: ingredients, steps, temperatures, etc.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things and others would recommend a different route. This is just one fellow newbie’s route.

places 4 º 14:00 Sat 9/8/2012

i dont disagree that brewing kits are the easy and best way to start and im not saying that one can make a very good beer from the first time. i just prefer to do something not that mainstream - using an almost readymade product of a cheap lager!
so im thinking of buying this and something like this so as to get something better than a coopers kit. what do you think?

places 1 º 17:40 Sat 9/8/2012

Yah, that kit would work fine. It’s nothing special. I would look for a kit similar to this, which should get you going well and still work down the road for more advanced brewing.

places 4 º 17:52 Sat 9/8/2012

yeah i saw that. the one i posts is like 78 dollars . plus about 30 dollars for some ingredients.. it seems cheaper. im not sure if northen brewer ships to europe.

beers 3434 º places 21 º 18:18 Sat 9/8/2012

Some very sound advise there from italarican, follow what he said. I used a kit for my first home brew and just regretted it, wished I’d jumped straight in at the deep end. An ipa is a good first brew. Keep it simple to start with and once you get a feel for your ingredients and equipment you can begin to push the boundaries. The John Palmer book and YouTube videos are best for finding your feet. Good luck

places 4 º 09:40 Sun 9/9/2012

yes mate. this is what i was planning to do anyways! dont wanna waste money on silly kits and brew bad beer and bad lagers. ill probably going to buy the equipment i posted above. do you guys think that is sufficient and good equipment?

beers 22 º places 10 º 12:43 Mon 9/10/2012

I’d read up on brew-in-a-bag. There’s quite a lot of info online. I’m about to start brewing for the first time, and also not attracted to the idea of a kit, but haven’t got the flat space or money for all the equipment needed for all grain. BiaB seems like an interesting compromise, will report back in a few days when i’ve tried making my first brew!

beers 3677 º places 151 º 13:25 Mon 9/10/2012

I have several friends who learned to brew by helping me who have never brewed with extract, but unless you are also in that type of learning situation; I would recommend an advanced kit with extract. Try to find a kit using dry malt extract vs liquid, and with "specialty grains or steeping grains" This will not be too much harder than a very basic kit and it will add a lot of flavor and will make you feel good seeing real barley grains being converted into good beer. As you feel comfortable with the process and become more proficient you can move towards advanced all grain brewing. None of the steps are hard, there are just more and more of them involved. But if you can boil water you can make good beer. And if you can read a thermometer, you can make great beer.

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