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I want to try brewing my own beer

Thinking about getting into brewing my own beer. I’m a new n00b so any advice, suggestions, etc is much appreciated.

I’d start with attempting to brew standard beer, but I want to get into flavors that some may consider odd.

Unfortunately it’s difficult to give you all the info without knowing more details about the knowledge you already have. What kind of beers are you trying to make?

My advice would be to get some literature, and start reading about brewing. “The Joy Of Homebrewing” is a good book to start with, as is “How To Brew” by Palmer. This forum is always a good resource for questions.

You’ll need to get a starter kit, with all the equipment, and start extract brewing. From there you can decide whether or not you want to upgrade to all grain brewing. You can start with all grain, but it’s a little more complicated than extract.

Once you’ve researched adequately:

  1. Brew recipes that are tried and true. Don’t try to create your own recipes right away. you can create your own recipes once you get the hang of the process / ingredients.

  2. Give your beer the proper amount of yeast. Dry yeast is an easy and cheap way to start. Once you start experimenting with different styles of beer, you can upgrade to liquid yeast and making yeast starters (more variety with liquid yeast).

  3. Be diligent of fermentation temperature. Always aim on the low side of the fermentation temperature recommendation. To control fermentation temperature in a cheap and easy way, research “swamp cooler”.

  4. Be clean, and sanitize everything that comes in contact with the wort after the boiling step.

  5. Don’t be discouraged if your first several beers aren’t awesome. It takes time, know-how, and experience to get things right.

  6. for reference when reading this forum, and beer literature:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7608

—I’m sure other forum members will add to this. There are a lot of variables to take into consideration, which is why I recommend picking up some brewing literature.

Well said, Scoggin. I would add that Star San is
the best sanitizer. Get a spare bucket to keep it in
and some PH test strips and keep it at PH 3 and
keep some in a spray bottle for last minute use
or if you drop something and your sanitizing will
be taken care of.

[quote=“S.Scoggin”]Unfortunately it’s difficult to give you all the info without knowing more details about the knowledge you already have. What kind of beers are you trying to make?[/quote] I’m going to start with your standard ale or something. After I get the hang of things, I want to try flavors that are not yet on the market so I’ll keep those to myself for now. :wink:

I’m starting from scratch with no real knowledge on how to home brew. I’m hearing a lot about temperature control, but not getting any ind=fo outside of that it’s important. I do have a mini fridge that I can use for this if need be.

[quote]You’ll need to get a starter kit, with all the equipment, and start extract brewing. From there you can decide whether or not you want to upgrade to all grain brewing. You can start with all grain, but it’s a little more complicated than extract. [/quote] Which kits are recommended? I don’t want to end up buying something too small where I have to drop a ton more shortly after, but I don’t need extreme overkill just yet either.

[quote]4. Be clean, and sanitize everything that comes in contact with the wort after the boiling step.[/quote] I’m being told just use Starsan for sanitation. Is this a good way to go?

Temperature control is very important for fermentation. Each yeast you use has an optimum temperature that it ferments at for a given style. For best results you need to control your fermentation temp and keep it in that range. Your mini fridge rigged with a temp controller would work great for that as long as it can hold your fermenter inside it.

The NB essential starter kit is a great first kit as it gives you everything you will need to make beer except for your brew kettle. It also comes with your choice of one of three straightforward, delicuous beer recipe kits. Plus you can easily add to it later as you see fit, but you can always use the equipment it includes.

Yes, use star san for your sanitizing. It is a great no rinse sanitizer, and you can’t go wrong with it.

[quote=“HCbrewing”]Temperature control is very important for fermentation. Each yeast you use has an optimum temperature that it ferments at for a given style. For best results you need to control your fermentation temp and keep it in that range. Your mini fridge rigged with a temp controller would work great for that as long as it can hold your fermenter inside it.

The NB essential starter kit is a great first kit as it gives you everything you will need to make beer except for your brew kettle. It also comes with your choice of one of three straightforward, delicuous beer recipe kits. Plus you can easily add to it later as you see fit, but you can always use the equipment it includes.

Yes, use star san for your sanitizing. It is a great no rinse sanitizer, and you can’t go wrong with it.[/quote]
What temp controllers are recommended?

I believe I already have a 5g pot in the cabinet, but I’ll have to check.

[quote=“NeverEnough”] I’m going to start with your standard ale or something. After I get the hang of things, I want to try flavors that are not yet on the market so I’ll keep those to myself for now. :wink:

I’m starting from scratch with no real knowledge on how to home brew. I’m hearing a lot about temperature control, but not getting any ind=fo outside of that it’s important. I do have a mini fridge that I can use for this if need be.

Which kits are recommended? I don’t want to end up buying something too small where I have to drop a ton more shortly after, but I don’t need extreme overkill just yet either.

I’m being told just use Starsan for sanitation. Is this a good way to go?[/quote]

-Basic american ales are a good place to start, maybe Amber or pale ales. People have been brewing for thousands of years, so there’s usually a reason those flavors aren’t on the market. This hobby is good for experimentation though, so good luck.

-temperature control is important because yeast behave differently at different temperatures. If the temperature is too low, the yeast might not ferment. If the temperature is too high, they will produce off flavors like: harsh alcohol taste/aroma, undesirable fruity flavors, or lack of depth and complexity.

-Well this depends. How much beer do you want to make at a time? 1 gallons, 3 gallons, 5 gallons? You’ll want a brew-kettle that’s 2-4 gallons larger than your intended batch size. You’ll also want a fermentor that’s more than a gallon larger than your intended batch size. You’ll need a bottling bucket, hydrometer (for gravity readings, this is important), kettle, fermentor, bottle capper, auto siphon, thermometer, sanitizer, cleaner, and some way to chill the wort (immersion chiller, or you can get a bucket - fill it with ice water - and give your kettle an “ice bath” after the boil).

-Star san works fine. I believe you use 1oz per 5 gallons for a sanitizer solution.

We can’t teach you everything via forum. There are way too many variables. So I STRONGLY recommend you get some homebrewing books and do your own research. There are schools dedicated to brewing - so there’s a lot of info out there.

Northernbrewer has some starter kits that are worth looking into

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/esse ... r-kit.html

Ditto to everything S.Scoggin has said so far.

I would recommend starting out with 5-gallon extract kits, because extract makes for the easiest introduction, and the widest selection of recipes are available in 5-gallon kits.

I would argue, though that is no such thing as a “standard” beer. It’s like soup, there are just too many variations on the theme, that I think your first step may be to get a better sense of what your pallete prefers. Belgians, or porters, or maybe barley wines to name a few…

From there, for weirder flavors; you’ll have to remember that the yeast gets first crack at whatever you add to your beer. So if you want to get too far off the ranch, experience is key. For example, You cannot get a good orange flavor in beer by adding orange juice.

Unless I missed it above, one other idea not mentioned is YOUTUBE. You can get lost in it like anywhere else on the internet, BUT if you find 2-3 good introduction videos I think it is invaluable. At least for me actually “seeing” someone go through the steps help.

If you are serious about this hobby then what is GREAT about it is you don’t need to buy every single contraption and device at once. There are some key things you need, but then from there you can slowly expand.

If you really really think you will like this hobby I would go straight to a 5 gal kit.
From there I think you only need the following to start:

  1. Brew Pot - Good 5 gallon at least. If you can swing a ~8 gallon I would (again, assuming you are doing 5 gal batches). Also - what kind of stove do you have? my stove I could never do more than about a 3 gal boil anyway (I eventually got a turkey fryer burner).
  2. Bottles - pry top only. Buy them if you can locally, saves on shipping, or of course collect them if you can.
  3. Auto Siphon - this is one gadget that if it doesn;t come in your kit you will want. you just will.

one more thing - your question about temp contol -

few questions for you -
where do you live? do you have a basement?

reason I ask it that will play a big part in how much you can just try to keep a room at the right temp versus having to go a bit more extreme.

I live in Ohio, have a basement (uinfinished) that I can keep at about a 64-66 degree temp with little extra effort. if you are down south, west etc in very warm climate and without basement even that can change the game a bit.

in regards to your mini fridge, we are talking about temp control during the fermenting stage. 2-3 weeks (3 is best…) where it sits in a ~6 - 6.5 gallan bucket or carboy. your fridge would have to be able to hold that.

if you can keep a room at a 64-66 degree level you will be fine. if not, you need some way to keep it around that temp level for ales

As a “noob” brewer I can echo what those have said:

  1. Read Palmer’s “How to Brew” he has a version online that you can access.

  2. Be realistic about your budget; the amount of Beer that you will consume; and the space available. ( I usually only drink 1 beer a week so a 5 gal setup was not realistic for me. YMWV).

  3. READ the Forums, specifically all the “Is my Beer Ruined?” threads. Even if you are not going to start with All Grain Brewing read those as well. Knowledge is power.

  4. Drink what you brew, be proud of it. Anyone can head to the liquor store and pick up a good beer. But how many can make their own (even if it isn’t even a good beer :smiley: ) ?

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