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where to start

Hello all I have not been much of a poster here yet but reading and learning still so new at it. I started out doing the extract kits and now going to get into all grain. I know the question I am going to ask I am going to be told brew the one you like. let me tell you what I am thinking and please share your thoughts with me. I am thinking buying bulk bag of one malt and then a little change up with the hops. I want to keep my move to all grain simple. So share your thoughts on a base malt and a few hops .

thank all


If I were only allowing myself one grain and one hops it would be 50lbs 2row, 1lb chinook hops. One package of ale yeast and repitch. That should get you about 20gals of a simple beer. Not sure why you want to limit yourself though.

I am wanting to start out simple and learn the hops and yeast as I go so I really understand how it works . I have been doing kits and with them there is really no understanding it just a case of put in what they send you and have beer. that is my thinking on it.

From the kits you brewed which beers did you like? I would look at what hops and yeast they used and start there. Your not starting from scratch. The only difference is you will be making your own wort. Tap the knowledge you already have. Do you have a local home brew store? Talk to them and ask questions on the forum. Home brewers love sharing what they know.

You can’t go wrong buying a bag of 2 row. You can brew a SMASH, single malt and single hop, beer or just use the 2 row as your base malt for other beers. I buy 2 row in bags and most other grains as I need them from my LHBS.

As to hops think of the craft beers you like and research what kind of hops they have. I brew an IPA with 10 lbs 2 row and 1 lb c40, all centennial hops. I also brew Denny’s Waldo Lake Amber quite often with 2 row as the base malt.

If you did a smash you would change up hops each time to see what you like.

If you want to brew bitters, porters, stouts and the like you might want maris otter or golden promise rather than 2 row.

Let me start off by saying I think this is a great idea, and I wish I had more of your discipline when I started brewing. It took me a few kitchen sink beers to ‘slow down to speed up’.

SMaSH beers can be tricky though. I think if you are going to go this route, you may be better off going with something like vienna malt, especially if you are brewing 5 gallon batches. As others have suggested, MO or pale ale may also be a good choice. These have a little more character and should yield a drinkable beer, whereas all 2-row may be ‘thin’. Note I have never done an all 2-row batch so I can’t swear to that.

Also as suggested above, it really depends on what you like. I know for me, I liked a few styles when I started brewing, but actually BREWING DIFFERENT BEERS to which I’d had little exposure (or none) allowed me to really appreciate how good a well-brewed example of the style could be, even to someone new to it.

Not knowing what you like to drink, I would suggest a few different categories of hops. Maybe some fuggles (English), Centennial (one of the best all-around American IMO), and something weird like Sorachi Ace or Nelson Sauvin. If you like one category of these specifically, let us know and we can suggest some specific hop varietals.

One thing to keep in mind as well, fermentation (yeast strain, pitch rate, ferment temp and schedule) can have HUGE impacts on beer. In my opinion (though some may disagree), more than most of the other ingredients. Same wort, same hops, same yeast, fermented at different temps, can yield significantly different beer.

Finally, don’t underestimate the benefit of splitting batches (multiple boils/different hops, same wort) different fermenters and/or yeast strains/ferment temps. This can help you learn quite a bit about different components of the process, and if it interests you as it seems to, it can be a blast.

Keep this thread updated and let us know how it progresses, good luck- :cheers:

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