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New brewer. Advice?

I’m about to brew my first beer this upcoming weekend. I’ve been talking about getting into brewing for a while. Now that I received my starter kit as a gift, I really don’t want to mess up my first brew. I know that sanitizing is the key to good beer, but is there anything else that the Brewing 101 video doesn’t cover that might be good to keep in mind? Any advice is welcome! Thanks!

Read this.

http://howtobrew.com/intro.html

Yep. Just relax and have your favorite craft beer while your brewing.
After that…RDWHAHB!

Thanks for the help thus far! Another questions that I’m finding is whether or not to rehydrate the yeast before fermentation. I’m going to be making the Irish Red Ale and I have the Nottingham packet of dry yeast. I’ve seen where you can put the dry yeast straight into the wort or you rehydrate, but I haven’t found much discussion on which way is better. Opinions?

Rehydrating is better. Less yeast cell mortality when added to the wort. The Danstar site has the instructions for rehydrating.

Keep the fermentation temperature below 68° to prevent off flavors from the Notty yeast.

You can’t go wrong with rehydrating, but there is definately a lot of debate whether it will have any noticable impact on the finished beer. From my experience, there was no noticable impact. I just sprinkle on top.

The other school of thought is to rehydrate when recomended by the manufacturer. In the case of Danstar, they do recomend.

I pitched a batch with Nottingham on the weekend. No rehydration, and below the recomended temperature range on the package. Has been fermenting very nicely.

In regards to rehydrating the yeast…
I am going to say this in the spirit of trying to be helpful, and not insulting by implying you can’t follow directions, figure out how to do it etc. BUT - my advice, follow the minimal number of steps you can the first time (or 2-3 times) you brew.

Meaning YES you can rehydrate. YES you can rack to a secondary. YES you can create some fancy yeast starter on a stir plate. Etc etc

But for your first batch, I would keep it simple. IMO your single packet dry yeast dumped right into the wort should work just fine.

If it matters, my very first batch was the Irish Red you are doing. I used the dry yeast the first time, dumped it right in. It worked GREAT. In fact I have done 35 + batches since then. I have expanded my equipment, now tried liquid yeast, now I do yeast starters, have an areation wand, blah blah blah. ONE OF THE TOP THREE_FOUR BATCHES I HAVE DONE was the very first one I did with the most simplest of steps!!! was amazing.

anyway, just my 2 cents.

I agree with keep it simple the first time. This is one of those things that you have to do once before you really “get it”. It is hard to remember now how it seemed like it is complicated and trying to understand each step when you are researching before you start because once you do a batch all that information comes together in your mind and starts to make better sense.

Having said that I also advise the pitch your yeast with the wort on the lower end of the temp range. Lots things I read before starting would mention getting the temps below 80 or 70’s. This will make the fermentation take off faster but sacrifices the quality of the final product. I shoot for 60-65 for most of my beers.

When I started brewing the 3 things that made the biggest single improvements in the quality of my beer were

  1. Getting pitching temp down to 60-65.
  2. Pitching lots of healthy quality yeast (liquid yeast with a starter). Nothing wrong with dry yeast, liquid will give you some more options.
  3. Full volume boils (when you start upgrading your equipment think long term and invest for large size boils).

2 and 3 you can grow into in time.

+1 to the best advice you’ve gotten so far, pitching temp 60-65 and keep it below 65 for the first 3 days, then allow it to rise gradually to 68-70.

As to the yeast, once you have the wort temp where you want it, sanitize that pack of Notty, sanitize your scissors, cut off the top and pour it into your wort.

I’ve rehydrated a few times but now I just dump the “in date” dry yeast in. After having really aerated the crap out of it. With something like this.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Seasense-Bait-Bubbles-Aerator/16651480?action=product_interest&action_type=title&placement_id=irs-srp-1&strategy=PWVAV&visitor_id=65095018213&client_guid=d9335fe0-6cbb-478f-bfa9-5e5994743743&config_id=8&parent_item_id=16651481%2C16494426%2C11071184%2C16503166%2C25529256%2C29315267&guid=40a55318-4786-4ba0-bce2-3a3f19956809&bucket_id=irsbucketdefault&findingMethod=p13n

Cheap, and very effective. I have quicker starts to fermentation using this. Not as good as Oxygen I suppose, but hey, there is enough oxygen to breath in the air so it’s enough for the yeast to work.

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