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Advice for newbies

Although I’m no expert I thought I would start this thread with a few tips that would have helped me out when I started brewing. I’m sure others will add a lot more good advice.
Get some Star San.
Get some PH strips to check it with.
Get a spare bucket to keep a couple gallons of it in.
Get a long wallpaper paste tub at your hardware or paint store.
Get an auto siphon and use the Star San in the wallpaper tub to sanitize it,
Keep a spray bottle of Star San handy.
Keep a pitcher handy to pour Star San into hoses etc.
If you ferment in a bucket, be very careful not to scratch it when cleaning it.
If you start out extract brewing, when you buy your next kit get a pound or so of some base malt that is compatible (look at the all grain recipe kit online for the largest amount of grain used). Mash it any way you have handy. Taste it when you mash in. get some Iodine and put some of the liquid from the mash on a clean white saucer and add a drop of Iodine. IODINE IS POISONOUS. Throw the sample away. After an hour taste again. Test with Iodine. Magic isn’t it? Strain the liquid in with your extract any way you can.
If you decide to dabble in All Grain, you can use the equipment you already have and just make a 2 or 3 gallon batch using the Brew In A Bag method (BIAB) just Google it.
I’m sure others will chime in.

Don’t forget the Campden. A quarter of a Campden tablet in 5 gallons of water (BEFORE adding your malt) knocks out chlorine instantly. Chlorinated beer tastes like Band-Aids – yuck!

Consider glass fermenters. Easier to keep clean than buckets, believe it or not.

Basement, garage, wet t-shirt and fan are your friends. Use them as necessary to reduce fermentation temperature. Keep fermentation in low to mid 60s for ales, and 48-52 F for lagers.

Ensure your thermometers and hydrometer are calibrated.

You don’t need fancy equipment to make award-winning beer. Keep your cash in your pocket.

I don’t use the wallpaper paster for sanitizing the siphon. I tend to be more concerned with the tubing. Much of the siphon’s inner structure never comes in contact with the wort/beer.

I normally let the siphon sit in my bottling bucket or carboy, which is full of mixed star san, I leave the pump extended enough to get the lower third of the inner walls of the outer chamber. Then I siphon out the star san using the siphon. (and If I’m working on bottling, I put the bottling tube on and open that valve too.) It takes longer than the recommended 2-minute contact time to empty the bucket, and makes filling my reserve containers easier too.

Flushing the tubing, is going to work much better than soaking; no missed spots from air bubbles, and it helps remove any residues too.

Most of my fear of using glass fermenters is from the horror stories of people who have had a carboy’s neck snap as the were emptying, slicing open hands with broken glass. I try to be pretty through at cleaning the buckets, but after a few batches the color and smell don’t go away, so clearly not 100% clean.

I have it on good authority Santa is bringing us a 6.5 gal bigmouth and harness. It seems like it should address my safety concerns, and be even easier to clean. OTOH, it seems too good to be true, so we’ll see.

My advice: just start brewing and take a lot of notes. Maybe everyone else started out as savants, but when I first started I had no idea what I was doing. I read a lot, but until I had actually brewed my first batch, it was all just text. Once I had made my first beer, I understood much better what everything I was reading meant.

and read…

See this thread….

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