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Top Tips for Newbies

Not knowing exactly what you’re doing. Everyone has been there and not everyone was wise enough to read a book or lucky enough to know someone who knows what they are doing to help. I was tossing together a list of the top things I wish I had known when I started and was looking for input. For the sake of this list I’m sticking to extract brewing because it seems that is where most people start. So far I have:

General yeast care: Includes pitching rates, temp control and leaving it do it’s thing for three weeks.
The importance of a hydrometer
The fact that secondary fermentation is not always necessary.
Cleaning then sanitize, sanitize, sanitize everything!
Aerating your wort
Correctly measuring stuff

Keeping fermentation temp down should be added to the above.

The list is incomplete until you add RDWHAHB.

Good points both! Fermentation temps are stressed under the general yeast care.

I feel wort chillers are important for a new brewer that is doing full boils. I have seen many new brewers get turned away from the hobby simply because they were too cheap to buy a chiller and struggled with chilling.

The list should begin with RDWHAHB.

I wish I knew there was a 1/2" version of the autosiphon. It gets the job done a lot faster than the standard model.

The first all grain brew we did we got our plate chiller stuck so we just tried to siphon out the beer into the carboy and not surprisingly those things aren’t made for high temps and it melted…
Needless to say we needed a new autosiphon and got the 1/2" and man was that thing awesome the first time we used it.

The list should begin with RDWHAHB.[/quote]

Pulls out the newbie card…

Ok, what’s “RDWHAHB”?

The list should begin with RDWHAHB.[/quote]

Pulls out the newbie card…

Ok, what’s “RDWHAHB”?[/quote]

Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Home Brew. You’ll figure it out.

The list should begin with RDWHAHB.[/quote]

Pulls out the newbie card…

Ok, what’s “RDWHAHB”?[/quote]

Relax, Don’t Worry. Have A Home Brew! It’s from the great Charlie Papazian and his book " the complete joy of homebrewing" a must have.

[quote=“mplsbrewer”]Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Home Brew. You’ll figure it out.[/quote]I always say it as “another home brew”.

Spray bottle for sanitizer, endlessly useful.

Start batch #2 as soon as possible after the first one.

I know that part of your premise is that we all dont have someone to teach us but with the rate that this hobby is picking up speed at there are a lot more LHBS and those are your best friend, besides this forum of course.

First 5 or so batches should be something simple, dont get going on an IRS or Barleywine when just starting out. Pale Ale, IPA, Porter, Dry Stout simple recipes to get your process down before you start going crazy.

Keep it simple when your starting out, When you get a “kit” make the first one as directed. If you want to change it afterwards only change 1 thing at a time. (and keep good note so you can remember what you did change)

Buy a notebook and write everything down like a recipe book. Every time! That way when a beer turns out stellar you can make it exactly again.

Nothing will improve your home brew better then proper pitching rates (use Mr.Malt and learn to make starters, or buy multiple packs of yeast) and keeping fermentation temps in check. Fermenting at the high end of a yeasts limit isn’t the ‘best’ way to ferment. Shoot for the low end. Make a swamp cooler or even go buy a used mini-fridge and a digital temp controller. And always remember whatever the ambient temperature is in a room, your fermenting beer will be higher… could be 3-5degrees higher all the way up to 10degrees higher. So if you want to ferment at say 65F, get the ambient temp to about 60F.

Trust me… pitching rates and temperature control will turn average to good beer into great beer!!!

Also, buy more fermentors… NOW!!! You can never have enough buckets, carboys, better bottles. Which you use is your choice. Please don’t ask us “which is better”. Just do a search and you’ll find endless threads discussing it. There is no ‘right’ answer. It’s personal preference.

+10 to mplsbrewer for posting this

This is my top 5 list for brewing great beer:

  1. Cleanliness/Sanitation
  2. Fermentation temperature control
  3. Yeast (quality and amount)
  4. Freshest possible ingredients
  5. Time - give yourself enough time to brew, and give the beer enough time to ferment and condition.

[quote=“Brewbeer22”]This is my top 5 list for brewing great beer:

  1. Cleanliness/Sanitation
  2. Fermentation temperature control
  3. Yeast (quality and amount)
  4. Freshest possible ingredients
  5. Time - give yourself enough time to brew, and give the beer enough time to ferment and condition.[/quote]

This is probably my favorite summary of tips for newbies, and I agree with the ordering.

I agree with this one entirely. Along with that, try not to over-think all the details that you’ll be exposed to on forums like this one. Use a good book like “How to Brew” (enough info there already) and brew. Then brew some more. Take advice (including mine) from forums with a grain of salt and do what makes sense for you.

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