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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: flbrewer on April 20, 2013, 12:35:55 AM

Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 20, 2013, 12:35:55 AM
As some of you have read, my first kit is arriving on Monday. I am feeling quite overwhelmed because I've realized that I will have to purchase some sort of propane burner as well as figure out a unique cooling solution for my wort (Florida warm water issue). I've actually considered (gasp) returning the kit. I have a passion for craft beer, but I'm wondering if I've prematurely gotten into this hobby. Am I over thinking my first brew? Thanks to everyone for the support so far.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: sparkleberry on April 20, 2013, 12:40:51 AM
relax. don't worry. have a (home) brew!

take delivery of the kit. make the beer. don't worry about a burner or big kettle or chiller. enjoy the process. it is simple and fun. take a step back and don't get caught up in advanced things before you've even brewed a single beer. it may not be perfect but, if you choose to move forward, learn from any and all mistakes. it's only beer.

RELAX. DON'T WORRY. HAVE A (HOME) BREW!

i didn't get a chiller until about beer number 8 or 9. and i didn't get a burner until further in on the process. you don't need these things to make beer. i have done 3 gallon biab batches on the stove top. don't feel like you need any single piece of equipment until you figure out your brewing process.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: phunhog on April 20, 2013, 12:43:34 AM
Just make a big ice bath and you will be good to go!!  My biggest piece of advice is to put your carboy/bucket into a water bath to try and maintain fermentation temps. It WILL make a ton of difference in your final beer. Have fun!!
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: euge on April 20, 2013, 01:09:09 AM
Wait...

Why do you have to buy a burner or chiller? Perhaps what you should start with is a no-boil kit like a Coopers or Brewferm. What is most important is sanitation at key points and the proper fermentation temps: both which are easily achievable with a first try at making beer.

There is no reason you can't make 5 gallons of fabulous beer with an ordinary household 2 gallon stockpot in the kitchen. Can you explain why the kitchen stove is off limits? All you have to do is heat the water...

Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 20, 2013, 01:15:55 AM
Well it's not off limits, but boiling smelly wort for an hour on our gas range will most likely cause my better half to disapprove of my new hobby quickly. I assume using our nat gas range top would be much more expensive over propane. Lastly, I fear both a boil over and potentially damaging the range ( maybe what I've read is damage to glass top stoves).
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: roll0164 on April 20, 2013, 01:16:19 AM
I'm currently working out batch number 11 and I still don't have a burner or chiller. As of now I've been doing stove top and when I bumped up to all grain I just ended up doing the boils in two 5 gallon pots. As for chilling, I live in Wisconsin so my ground water comes out < 50. I just fill up the bathtub and dump in a couple 5 gallon buckets of snow from my driveway. I think I was below 80 in about 45 min on my last brew.

Now that summer is coming around I'll look at getting a chiller and a burner so I can move outdoors. Otherwise who cares, you're making the beer so you're going to love how it tastes regardless. I'm sure some of mine were pure crap and they still tasted fantastic to me
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: klickitat jim on April 20, 2013, 01:19:07 AM
Ditto. Keep in mind the variety of experience on this forum. Anything from guys like me who have brewed 20 batches in 6 months to full on pros who know all there is to know. Don't panic. Make a batch and ease into it. Remember that 1000 years ago no one had starsan or plastic or stainless steel or etc and they made beer

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: euge on April 20, 2013, 01:21:00 AM
Well I can help you as others can if you want. My advice will be sincere, simple and easy to follow.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: euge on April 20, 2013, 01:29:49 AM
Ha I hate double posting but here goes...

flbrewer what type of kit did you purchase and do you possess the equipment such as buckets and capper etc... in order to ferment and bottle your beer?

Perhaps the kit was an intermediate or advanced variety?

Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 20, 2013, 01:33:12 AM
Ha I hate double posting but here goes...

flbrewer what type of kit did you purchase and do you possess the equipment such as buckets and capper etc... in order to ferment and bottle your beer?

Perhaps the kit was an intermediate or advanced variety?
I ordered the below kit with the glass carboys. I also ordered a case of 22 oz. bottles.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/beer-equipment-starter-kits/deluxe-brewing-starter-kit.html
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 20, 2013, 01:33:44 AM
Well I can help you as others can if you want. My advice will be sincere, simple and easy to follow.
Thanks for the offer!
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 20, 2013, 01:35:24 AM
Thanks guys, good advice here.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: lornemagill on April 20, 2013, 01:45:45 AM
i used to add ice directly to the wort to chill it instead of topping off with water, especially when brewing partial mash/extract.  this cools it instatntly and i never had an adverse effect.  yes store bought ice.  i know this is contraindicated by many but it worked fine for me for many batches.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: euge on April 20, 2013, 01:51:18 AM
So which beer did you choose along with the equipment in the link? It probably has steeping grains and hop additions which are easy to work with. If this is the case we can examine your choices in approach. However, dipping a toe into the brewing experience can be done with less complexity and with excellent results. Then you can decide if you want to proceed and learn more.

Brewing is a lot more robust and forgiving than many would admit. ;)
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on April 20, 2013, 02:56:17 AM
So the long and short of it is this....go slow, start easy, realize there's nothing to lose and everything to gain in the process. We've all started off as novice brewers, and we've all got much to learn and improve upon after countless batches. That's the beauty of this hobby. I started with the simple LME kits and basic equipment, and made the transition to all grain and more sophisticated equipment and procedures when I was ready. It's an evolution, and it can be as painful or enjoyable as you make it. Choose the latter, and just read, ask questions, and move at your own pace...you won't be disappointed. Good luck and keep us in the loop- we are all here to help.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: tom on April 20, 2013, 03:28:33 AM
You can do a "partial boil" by boiling in the biggest pot you have and then topping up with water.  Your NG stove will be much cheaper than a propane burner.  And SWMBO will learn to appreciate your fine brew and its wonderful aromas throughout its process.
Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: majorvices on April 20, 2013, 12:32:37 PM
I started out brewing on an electric top stove in a small apartment and used a wet towel and fan to keep my wort cooled. Now I own a 15 bbl brew house and back to back 30 bbl batches and distribute been all over the state. Don't turn the kit back, grow as you allow yourself to grow. The propane burners and copper heat exchangers and temp controlled chest freezers will all come in time.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: erockrph on April 20, 2013, 02:03:53 PM
I started out with partial boil extract kits on my glass stovetop, with water baths to cool. I quickly moved to designing my own all-grain recipes after I got comfortable with the process, and I'm still doing it indoors on my stove and chilling in my sink. My wife hates the smell, so I just plan on doing it when she's not around. In other words, it may take some planning but brewing is still doable in your situation. You can still make very good beer even with the most basic setup.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: Slowbrew on April 20, 2013, 02:24:55 PM
As others have said, don't give up.

I started out on the kitchen stove with no chiller.  My wife got a candle hobby out of it.  8^)

I used RO water from the store.  I would buy 6 - 1 gal jugs.  Boil 2.5 gals and put the rest in the freezer for 5 or 6 hours.  Then I'd use the now chilled water to top off the fermentor.  Depending on how close to frozen I got the water in the freezer, I could easily drop the temp into a good range.

Relax man, you'll get there.

Paul
Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 20, 2013, 03:53:36 PM
Thanks everyone, very reassuring.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: garc_mall on April 20, 2013, 03:56:31 PM
I do think that we, as more advanced homebrewers (some more advanced than others), look back at our first few batches, and we look at all of the things we would do differently now and don't want others to make the same "Mistakes" we did. However, We all made beer. And if we are still here, that beer was good enough to keep us making more until we got where we are today. You can be as simple as you would like, or as complex as you would like, it will all make beer. As long as sanitation is good, and fermentation temps are close, it will probably be the best beer you have ever had.

and always remember the homebrewer's motto: Relax, Don't worry, and have a homebrew (you can sub commercial beer in for now).

We will give you all sorts of advice here, don't worry about telling us that we are going too far. This group is a bunch of people who are obsessed with homebrewing, so we can get a little fanatical.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: denny on April 20, 2013, 04:35:13 PM
I waited for years to start brewing becasue I thought it would be difficult and I didn't have the space in my small house.  Then my business partner started brewing and I saw just how easy it was.  15 years later, I've brewed 436 batches, I'm a BJCP judge and a member of the AHA Governing Committee and I'm working on 2 books about beer.  Funny how easy and fun it turned out to be.....
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: klickitat jim on April 20, 2013, 05:25:49 PM
Ya just make beer. It will be ok. You will live through it. Lots of help on here when you need it.

"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"

Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: joe_feist on April 20, 2013, 09:00:42 PM
I brewed in the kitchen without a chiller for 3 or 4 years. My wife said it stunk up the place, but over time came to appreciate it all. Now she actually likes it. Don't worry about all the stuff you haven bought yet or may never buy actually. Do you have a book. Papazian's Joy of Home brewing is great starter book because its such a relaxed read- in my opinion.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: narcout on April 20, 2013, 11:36:09 PM
I ordered the below kit with the glass carboys. I also ordered a case of 22 oz. bottles.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/beer-equipment-starter-kits/deluxe-brewing-starter-kit.html

That's the same kit I started brewing with 8 years ago in an apartment in Nashville - no burner, no chiller, made excellent beer.

The groundwater here in LA is pretty warm most of the year, but a simple immersion chiller does the job just fine.  An ice bath in the kitchen sink will serve you well for the time being.

I would definitely recommend getting a $7 rubbermade storage bin and using it to keep your fermentor cool though.  Just fill it with water and change out frozen two liter bottles (or refreezable ice packs) twice a day. 
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: donsmitty on April 21, 2013, 12:18:46 PM
Flbrewer, You will get plenty of help form the guys/gals on this forum.  My son and I started brewing this year after he received a kit for Christmas.  Being new to the hobby, we had a lot of questions and I am getting great advice through the posting here on the forum. 

Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: jimrod on April 21, 2013, 02:45:16 PM
Wait a minute Denny.........."15 years later, I've brewed 436 batches"

Denny, that's 4 beers a day everyday for 15 years.....Okay.......that sounds about right....never mind.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: denny on April 21, 2013, 04:46:18 PM
Wait a minute Denny.........."15 years later, I've brewed 436 batches"

Denny, that's 4 beers a day everyday for 15 years.....Okay.......that sounds about right....never mind.

And for the last year, my work schedule has been so screwy that it's not uncommon to go 1-3 weeks with no beer at all!  I don't wanna think about that!
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: tomsawyer on April 22, 2013, 12:27:51 AM
I'm pretty sure that natgas is going to be cheaper than propane.  My wife likes the smell of boiling wort, maybe yours will also.  Although if she doesn't, the cheapest turkey fryer setup will work just fine.

I chilled for many years by sticking the pot in the sink and just changing out the water every five minutes or so.  Once it gets pretty cool you can add some ice to get it on down, or just add the wort to a fermentor and wait until it cools off completely.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: niquejim on April 22, 2013, 12:30:39 AM
It would help if we knew would part of Florida, fellow Florida brewer. If far we can talk, if close we can teach and reassure
Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: bluesman on April 22, 2013, 12:44:14 AM
Brewing beer at home is one of the most rewarding things that I've ever done. It all started about 20 years ago and has evolved into a full fledged hobby for me. I love homebrewing for the art and craft. It comes from the heart and soul. Once I brewed my first batch there was no turning back. My wife is my greatest fan. It certainly helps to have the support of your significant other.

That being said, I encourage you to go for it. It's a very rewarding hobby. There are ups and downs just like with anything else. One thing is for sure, you'll have the full support of all of us here on the AHA forum.

So sit back, fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride my friend.

Welcome to the AHA forum.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 22, 2013, 12:55:38 AM
+!.  Well said.
Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 22, 2013, 01:14:45 AM
It would help if we knew would part of Florida, fellow Florida brewer. If far we can talk, if close we can teach and reassure
Sorry, Jacksonville.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: Jimmy K on April 22, 2013, 01:07:21 PM
I think I'd have to appologize for being one of the people who convinced you that you need lots of equipment. I mis-read one of your other posts and didn't realize you were just getting into brewing. There are many people who make great beer with minimal equipment - in reality, equipment makes brewing beer easier, but it doesn't make the beer better. Skill makes beer better.  Also, in spite of the ideal and/or complicated techniques you'll read about, many corners can be cut and you'll still make good beer that you'll enjoy drinking.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 22, 2013, 01:28:50 PM
I think I'd have to appologize for being one of the people who convinced you that you need lots of equipment. I mis-read one of your other posts and didn't realize you were just getting into brewing. There are many people who make great beer with minimal equipment - in reality, equipment makes brewing beer easier, but it doesn't make the beer better. Skill makes beer better.  Also, in spite of the ideal and/or complicated techniques you'll read about, many corners can be cut and you'll still make good beer that you'll enjoy drinking.
No apologies needed! Good point on the equipment not making the beer better. That being said, after weighing all my options, I took the plunge and bought a Blichmann burner and a 10 gallon SS pot.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: Jimmy K on April 22, 2013, 01:39:14 PM

No apologies needed! Good point on the equipment not making the beer better. That being said, after weighing all my options, I took the plunge and bought a Blichmann burner and a 10 gallon SS pot.
Well there you go!
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: garc_mall on April 22, 2013, 03:46:03 PM
No apologies needed! Good point on the equipment not making the beer better. That being said, after weighing all my options, I took the plunge and bought a Blichmann burner and a 10 gallon SS pot.

Ha. You now have better equipment than my all grain equipment that I have been using for the last year and a half. But I sure am jealous. I think I might try to upgrade my burner and pot this year.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: klickitat jim on April 22, 2013, 03:47:03 PM


"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"

Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 22, 2013, 04:19:33 PM
No apologies needed! Good point on the equipment not making the beer better. That being said, after weighing all my options, I took the plunge and bought a Blichmann burner and a 10 gallon SS pot.

Ha. You now have better equipment than my all grain equipment that I have been using for the last year and a half. But I sure am jealous. I think I might try to upgrade my burner and pot this year.
With your experience and my equipment, we should make great beer!
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on April 22, 2013, 04:33:16 PM
No apologies needed! Good point on the equipment not making the beer better. That being said, after weighing all my options, I took the plunge and bought a Blichmann burner and a 10 gallon SS pot.

Looks like the forum (and thirst) reeled him in!

Welcome to the obsession!
Title: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: flbrewer on April 22, 2013, 04:44:39 PM
No apologies needed! Good point on the equipment not making the beer better. That being said, after weighing all my options, I took the plunge and bought a Blichmann burner and a 10 gallon SS pot.

Looks like the forum (and thirst) reeled him in!

Welcome to the obsession!
About that...I'll need about $20 from each person that has commented on my numerous threads to offset the cost.
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: fmader on April 22, 2013, 05:33:30 PM
No apologies needed! Good point on the equipment not making the beer better. That being said, after weighing all my options, I took the plunge and bought a Blichmann burner and a 10 gallon SS pot.

Looks like the forum (and thirst) reeled him in!

Welcome to the obsession!
About that...I'll need about $20 from each person that has commented on my numerous threads to offset the cost.

.....and he fits right in  ;)
Title: Re: Second thoughts on brewing
Post by: euge on April 22, 2013, 05:50:44 PM
Didn't take much arm twisting.... ;D