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Suggestions for career second batch?

After much deliberation with the fine folks here at NB, I have decided that I am ready to brew my second batch (first one didn’t turn out too hot). It looks like some of my problem may have been impatience with a bigger beer than I should have handled right out of the gate.

Any suggestions for a simple beginner beer I can attempt next? My tastes tend to run toward belgian quads and big I.P.A.s but I don’t think I’m quite ready for high gravity stuff. Any easy light session beers with a good complex belgian flavor?

When I started my LHBS really pushed me to do a Pale Ale, since it’s just about the easiest beer to make. I couldn’t imagine having 5 gallons of Pale on hand since its not really a style I like. I went with a brown ale. Any basic style should work for you and be pretty easy. Stout, brown, pale, etc. I would also suggest getting a copy of Brewing Classic Styles, other than How to Brew it has been the most valuable book I’ve owned to help learn about beer.

For me making beer is like cooking. Read through the instructions several times before starting, have everything laid out and ready, enjoy what you are doing. I know youve heard it a million times by now but patience is key.

Good luck!

I like the comparison to cooking. I’m actually a hobbyist cook and I enjoy cooking things I’ve never tried before. Making things from scratch. Learning about and modifying the recipes. To me homebrewing is just the practical next step into cooking something people don’t typically prepare themselves.

I agree with you about having five gallons of pale… just not my cup of tea. My problem is that the majority of my beer knowledge is in belgians and I don’t understand the characteristics of most styles of pale ales and wheat beers. I like browns, though they tend to be a bit on the sweet/malty side… not enough bite. Is there a style characteristically similar to a brown nut ale but with more of a hoppy bite but not an IPA?

My second batch was the Dead Ringer IPA kit. That one was fairly easy to do. It is fairly big (OG of 1064), but not so big that it can get out of hand. When I bought the kit the guys at NB told me to pitch two smackpacks instead of just one. I did that and it turned out great, just like Bell’s Two Hearted. Try to be patient and keep it on the yeast cake until it has finished fermenting, and you will be fine. Try to get used to drinking your first batch, or go buy some craft beer to hold you over for the next month and you will be fine. Patience has definitely gotten easier for me now that I usually have at least an entire batch in bottles at all times, but I still get really anxious about trying the new one.

If you are looking for a hoppy brown ale, do a search for Janet’s Brown Ale.

The Chinook IPA is a good American IPA, and at 1.050 its not to large that it would require a starter, although starters never hurt.

Why don’t you brew a belgian? Just try one that is on the lower end of the spectrum. Our host has several kits they sell, for instance try these ... t-kit.html ... t-kit.html ... t-kit.html

I would love to try a belgian but I’ve been dissuaded by many people insisting I should first master a smaller beer. I rather like the jump in with both feet approach.

My third kit was the NB “Witbier” It was a very easy kit and the beer was very drinkable. My only suggestion if you do that kit is to zip tie a sanitized hop bag on the exit end of your siphon, as there is quite a bit of debris with the bitter orange peel. Filter on the intake end plugged multiple times from personal experience.

You can make a small Belgian beer. Not all of them are 8% and higher monsters. How about a Belgian Pale, Belgian Wit?

I’m really thinking hard about something on the smaller side of a dubbel. Has anyone personally tried NB’s Dubbel kit?

Are you really set up to make a lager? I am not going to say it is more complicated, but it requires much more diligence and attention to detail than an ale. Huge starters or lots of yeast required. How would you control fermentation temps in the 45-55* range? Plus they take longer which means that you would not really know if your problem is solved for a longer period of time.

I haven’t tried the NB Dubbel kit, but if that is what appeals to you why do it? It doesn’t look particularly difficult, except that is takes a long time to be ready and with the somewhat higher starting gravity you will need to make sure to pitch enough yeast - either by making a yeast starter or by getting a second smack pack.

I’m not set up for lagering yet, but I wasn’t really interested in lagers anyway. My 24 pack of Yeungling for 15 bucks is gonna do just fine.

brew a belgian single.

Try the Patersbier. Great Belgian flavor, and a very simple recipe to boot.

Thanks for all of your ideas and encouragements!

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