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What's Next!?

Hey all,

My first topic here. I picked up the starter kit a few weeks ago, ($110, the amber ale with the 2 plastic buckets) and will be bottling this week. Hopefully it turns out okay, but regardless I’d like to make another batch of something shortly after this one is done. Any suggestions for a “next step beer”?

I haven’t met many beers that I truly didn’t like, especially craft beers so I am open to any suggestions. I’ll list the equipment that came with the kit and am open to additional purchases and suggestions. Thanks a lot!

6.5 gallon fermentor w/ lid & Bubbler airlock
Bottling Bucket w/Spigot assembly
Fermenter Favorites® Bottle filler
5 Gallon Stainless Brew Kettle
21" Stainless Spoon
Siphon, 5 ft. Siphon Tubing & Siphon Tube Holder

I would get a hydrometer to check the SG before you bottle to make sure it is done fermenting. Sometimes the SG doesn’t need to be checked if the fermentation looked normal and the beer was given about three weeks in the primary to finish and clear. Fermentations are usually complete when the beer clears without cold crashing. Just a small amount of risk. This is a good hydrometer for kit brewing since the OG will be as stated in the recipe.

The Chinook IPA is one of my favorites and for starting out is a keep it simple recipe using only one variety of hop.

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Well the sky’s the limit. That said if you’re fermenting at room temperature there are some yeasts that work better at different temperatures so that may guide you a bit. I like an ESB personally British yeast give some good flavor in the mid 70 IMO. Welcome to the forum. Plenty of people willing to help no judgement so ask away.

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Welcome to the rabbit hole that is home brewing! You’ll find a ton of useful info and helpful people in this forum!

Definitely get a hydrometer. Take a look into “swamp coolers” for simple fermentation temp control. When it comes time to bottling, don’t just dump all the priming sugar that comes with the kit in the bucket: use a calculator like this one Homebrew Priming Sugar Calculator

If you like Saisons or other Belgian style ales, check out the Lemondrop Saison or the Patersbier kit. They’re both delicious and will do just fine at room temp or even a bit warmer.

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I’ll jump in by saying welcome to the addicti… errr… hobby! A good piece of advice I was given in the beginnig was to brew whatever sounded good and really focus on your techniques and process. As you move forward developing your skills and techniques, think about where you’re going with this and how it fits your lifestyle. Small batches? All grain? How much space and time can and do you want to devote to brewing?

Read…a lot! Ask any questions. Search the forums for info. People here are more than happy to help you.

Learn about different styles and don’t be afraid to brew them. Don’t get too wound up over mistakes, examine them and correct them. It’s only beer.

RDWAHAHB! :sunglasses:

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Welcome to the forum and this addictive hobby. Nice thing is you can make it as simple or complex as you want.

As @brew_cat said, sky’s the limit! What I liked to do starting out was thumbing through the print catalogs and brew what caught my eye.

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In addition to getting a hydrometer, be aware of the recommended temperature range for the yeasts that are used in your recipies . Yeast is alive, and produces its own heat, and so the temperature of your fermenting beer can be several degrees higher than room temperature.
One of the more common mistakes is to ferment with a yeast that wants low 60s in a mid-70s room, which can add nasty paint thiner flavor to the beer. The two most overlooked ingredients in every food recipe are time and temperature. That’s like 10 time truer for beer.

Most important: Allow yourself to screw-up. Your first batch will likely not be “pub quality” but your brewing will improve over several batches. You learn as much from your actual brewing as from reading. The most disappointing thing I’ve heard from someone when trying to push homebrewing is “I tried it once, and didn’t like how it turned out; it’s easier to just buy.” Again with the food analogy: you don’t wake up and be a master chef, it takes practice.

As others have said, welcome! This forum is probably the most troll-free zone on the Internet, so don’t be afraid to ask “stupid questions” you may get conflicting answers to your questions, but that’s part of the fun too…

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Thanks everyone for the responses, it sounds like I’m in the right place to pursue this! I might pick up the Chinook IPA next, I almost got that instead of the Amber Ale when I bought my kit but not all the people I will be sharing with enjoy IPAs as much as I do, sadly!

For the time being I will more than likely be brewing around room temp or slightly below, I have the bucket in a storage closet which feels pretty consistent to the temperature in my house so it’s helpful to know how important that is to the yeast.

Excited to keep things rolling, thanks again everyone! :smile:

You spent your first $100 on brew stuff. Get ready for a few thousand more :fearful:

Two very good suggestions here so far are a hydrometer and a swamp cooler. If your wort (unfermented beer) is at 70 something the fermentation will raise the temp into the mid 70s or higher sometimes. In some beers this won’t be a problem but if you can scratch up a plastic storage bin, some plastic water bottles, an old T shirt and a fan you can lower the temp easily with just a little work. If your kit didn’t come with one a stick on thermometer for your fermenter is a good idea.

The hardest part of brewing is being patient. You will be tempted to rush things, we all were but waiting will improve your beer.

Good luck and don’t ever be afraid to ask questions here.

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Hydrometer and swamp cooler are the first 2 things you will need as mentioned in every other post. Stick to the script and perfect your technique before improvising with recipes. I think all of us worried about what our friends and family might like but you’re the one buying the kits and brewing the beer so brew to your taste. They will usually drink anything that’s free and if they don’t, then more for you!!! Think about the future when buying new equipment and refrain from buying things twice (brew kettle especially).

Welcome to the hobby which is an addiction and the forum. The guys here are awesome and have helped me greatly in the last 6 years of brewing.

Good advise. The first time you brew any recipe I think it’s best to do it by the letter. If not you will never know if you like the recipe or not. It’s also not a good idea to alter the recipe when you first start out. After you are comfortable and have it down, experiment.

But remember, you can brew beer cheaper than you can buy it, especially if you go all-grain. So, depending on how much you and your friends drink, you might be surprised how fast your return on investment is. I have a decent all-grain setup (much if it DIY) and probably spent $600-$700 over a 5 year period. I usually brew English or American Brown Ales and my total cost of ingredients for a 5 gallon batch is in the $30-$35 range. Divide that by 48 bottles and you get a per-bottle cost of $0.62-$0.72. Some of the factors that affect my particular costs are the fact that my LHBS is close so I don’t have to pay shipping costs. Plus I use their grain mill so I didn’t have buy one. Also, I usually buy my base grain in a 25kg sack and I usually don’t brew very hoppy beers. My point here isn’t to talk you into going all-grain brewing but just to make the point that there is a hidden benefit to buying equipment or just brewing more often.

“Honey I have to brew this weekend because I’ll be saving us money!” :wink:

You are never done though. Always one more brew “thing” you just have to have.

Definitely! I have my Next Thing list and my Win The Lottery list.

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Which one weighs more? Sneezles61

Indeed dont be afraid to mess up. Ask around on this forum. The more questions. You have. The more knowledge you gain. Read some books as well. In the begin keep it simpel brew wise. Untill you become fam with you brewing technology and your brew gear. Like what they say. Learn about temp control and how your yeast will react a swamcooler indeed a good thing to keep ferment temp under control. But most of all have fun welcome to the world of brewing

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