Several years ago my roommate bought me a “Mr. Beer” home brewing kit. What I didn’t really like about it is that it seemed “dumbed down” - for example, all the yeast, sugar and stuff was pre-measured and it all came in pre-packaged flavors. I want to experiment a bit with different ingredients. What will it take to make a beer from scratch? I’m looking for input on things like equipment, tips, and difficulty level. Another thing I would like to know is if I’m getting in over my head. Thanks in advance.
John Palmer’s How to Brew is probably the best place to start. The First Edition is available online, though it’s a little out of date: http://www.howtobrew.com/
Poke around on Youtube. Spend some time there as there a tons of people that love to video their process. There are also great videos of major screw ups and stuff. That will get you familiar with the process and then come back here to ask questions and learn how to really do it.
Palmer’s book is a really good one.
The “kits” available at Northern Brewer are really top quality in my opinion and miles ahead of a Mr. Beer kit. Sure they have pre-measured amounts and an instruction sheet, but there are so many other facets of brewing really good beer consistently that I personally have been content to make and drink REALLY good beer while working on my procedures. I have brewed lots of these kits and it has been fun and I am now fully ready to move to all grain brewing. Some people jump in right away.
Am I the only one who read Homebrewing for Dummies? I thought it had good info and pictures and stuff. Plus it broke every aspect down and explained it so I could understand it. Of course, I’d already made a few batches before I got it.
Also don’t forget to watch Brewing TV.
+1 on youtube, but don’t take everything you see as a good practice for brewing.
Get a starter kit from the good people at Northern Brewer. Buy an extract or partial mash kit and get started. It’s definitely not hard to get into all grain, but you’ll need a little more equipment and I personally feel it’s easier to start with extract or partial mash and make sure you really want to get into it before you start purchasing more equipment. But if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll be adding equipment very soon after your starter kit arrives.
Read all you can on this forum, but keep in mind, not everything everyone tells you is what you “should” do, but rather what they “prefer” to do. Ask a question about brewing and you’ll get 10 different answers. But the most important thing is sanitation. Make sure you have good sanitation practices.
Enjoy! It’s an addictive hobby/art!
Read some good books, get some good software.
I never made kits. I read Dave Millers and Charlie Papazians books and got some SUDSware and started making good beer right off the bat.
You can read Palmers book online and get some open source brewing software like Brewtarget
and give it a shot. I suggest trying a stout or porter for your first batch since they are forgiving in recipe formulation.
homebrewing for dummies was my first book. i did learn alot from it.
All-grain gives you the most control but is more complex than extract brewing. For all-grain, you’ll need more equipment but you may be able to make a batch of beer for about half the cost of extract once you have the additional equipment. You need less equipment for extract brewing and you can usually get an equipment kit for $75 or so. You’re not getting in over your head… if you can make Mac & Cheese you can make beer. The extract kits are usually very good and come with detailed instructions. The YouTube idea was good because a lot of people have recorded their brew sessions in order to help out new brewers. One thing is for sure: hang out on the boards and ask questions if you have them. Homebrewers are notoriously generous with their experiences and are happy to share.