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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: jth138 on November 23, 2010, 03:38:29 PM

Title: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: jth138 on November 23, 2010, 03:38:29 PM
Hey Beer lovers! 

             I will be attempting to brew my first beer sometime in late December / Early January.   Does anyone have any tips, hints, or any suggestions?  thank you!   Cheers!
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: a10t2 on November 23, 2010, 03:55:07 PM
Get a book. I suggest How to Brew (http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html) - the online edition is free but a little out of date. Section 1 will tell you everything you need to know for your first brew day.

Make a schedule/checklist ahead of time, so that you don't have to scramble to find the book if you forgot something.
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: oscarvan on November 23, 2010, 03:56:04 PM
I do, as I am only a few steps ahead of you..... (looking at a five gallon batch of APA happily bubbling away as I type.....)

1 Locate the nearest home brewers supply. Go in and listen. Home brewers LOVE to talk about what they do.

2 Get one, or more, of the how to books. I read Charlie Papazian's "The Joy of Home Brewing. Palma is another standard.

3 After finding this forum, smart move, read as much as you can. Most of the answers are here.

4 Get a starter kit. Your local supply will set you up, and then an all extract beer kit......

5 Brew.
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: jth138 on November 23, 2010, 04:05:06 PM
thanks for the advice!   i already own 2 books and i have been reading them and reading up on various websites (mostly this one)

i have:   How to Brew, and The Complete Meadmaker.

i am mostly interested in brewing beer, but would also like to dabble with wine / mead

i bought a turkey fryer so that i can brew outside and eliminate the mess inside, and also the headache that would come from my beautiful wife  ;)

i will also be purchasing a Deluxe Two Stage brewing kit from my local Brew Shop.


i am leaning towards keeping the beer in Cornelius kegs, but i don't understand them 100%.
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: tumarkin on November 23, 2010, 04:10:19 PM
Your local home brew supplier is a great resource. I'd also highly suggest that if there is a local brew club that you join it. Clubs are a great resource. You can hook up with other brewers for advice and to watch/help them brew. That can really accelerate your learning curve. This forum is also a great resource. Welcome!
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: oscarvan on November 23, 2010, 04:14:28 PM
Good, sounds like you're on the right track. I am skipping bottling and going straight to kegs.

Cornelius kegs are stainless steel 5 gallon kegs used in the soda industry. There are two styles, Coke and Pepsi, that differ mainly in the connections on top (pin or ball). Pepsi (ball) is the home brewers favorite. This is handy so that when you go somewhere and bring your beer to share, the connections will fit.

CO2 pushes the beer out of the keg. You need a CO2 bottle and a regulator, some hose and connectors. On the liquid side you can use a short hose with a picnic tap, or you can get all fancy and put through the door taps in a refrigerator like I did.

Also, the keg can be used for conditioning the beer, or if you're really anxious to taste your brew, to force carbonate at a higher pressure.
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: cheba420 on November 23, 2010, 04:20:53 PM

Visit Palmer's website:http://www.howtobrew.com/ His book is completely on line and its one of the best resources out there. I've burned through a couple high lighters on that book alone. Theres a ton of information in there and its just a great road map in general. Get yourself organized, make sure everything is clean, clean, clean and have some fun!

Kegging is a whole different animal. It certainly makes the process easier and in my opinion, more enjoyable. Its a pretty cool feeling to walk over to your own fridge and pull a pint of tasty goodness! It is expensive to get into so I think most people get into the hobby a little deeper before they make the financial commitment of kegging. A kegging set up is going to run you a couple hundred dollars. You'll need a keg or two, a co2 tank, a regulator and a spare refrigerator. Like I said, its expensive but a hell of a lot better than bottling! Check out the kegging thread on this site for more info.

Best of luck!
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: jth138 on November 23, 2010, 04:51:38 PM
thank you all again! 

Palmer really stresses the need to have everything clean.   will make this one of my main focuses.   i am thinking two 5 gal. buckets one with sanitizer and one for rinse just to have handy.

is there a recommended beginners beer that i should brew?  i'm not a big fan of IPA.   i usually drink Porters, Ales, Lagers, and as much Oktoberfest as i can get my hands on.   

thanks i am extremely excited about brewing!   
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: svejk on November 23, 2010, 05:04:21 PM
In addition to the other good advice given, I suggest that you search youtube for homebrewing videos.  It is really important to do lots of reading so you understand what is happening, but it also helps to watch.  For first recipes, porters are great.  Lagers are trickier, so get good at brewing ales before trying those.  Also, some beginning homebrewers think that beers that are lighter in flavor are easier to brew - the exact opposite is true.  They are difficult because there isn't a lot of flavor to cover up any mistakes.  Have fun!
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: jth138 on November 24, 2010, 03:35:23 AM
i am definitely trying to soak up as much knowledge as i can.   i have watched a few videos on youtube but i will continue to watch more.

i have a question about Cornelius kegs.  once you transfer the beer from the carboy to the keg, can you then store the keg if it is not being used?   if so, how long roughly do you think it will keep? 

Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: tschmidlin on November 24, 2010, 08:27:28 AM
Yes, you can store it "indefinitely".  How long is really dependent upon several factors, the most important being the beer style, your kegging practices, and how it is stored.  For many beers it is no big deal to keep them for a year+ if they are kept cold and you minimize O2 to the keg, and some will benefit from aging.  Hoppy aroma/flavor beers should generally be consumed quickly. But people are drinking 200 year old beer from a shipwreck (not many people ;)) so there's that . . .
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: oscarvan on November 24, 2010, 02:53:07 PM
I read somewhere that you can put a CO2 head on the barrel, then disconnect and push the pin on the "in" side of the keg, repeat a few times and that this will displace most if not all of the air (and thus O2) in the barrel improving your chances.
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: redbeerman on November 24, 2010, 02:54:16 PM
My advice is to not overthink in the beginning.  Develop your process and learn the equipment you have at your disposal.  The more you keep it simple in the beginning, the more time you will have to analyze your mistakes (yes, you will make them) and learn from them.  Add to your knowledge and experience a little at a time and you won't become overwhelmed.  You will find the folks here to be very knowledgeable and helpful without too much BS ;).  I've been brewing for 18 years and I am still learning new things and improving my process and results.  Welcome to the obsession. ;D
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: jth138 on November 24, 2010, 04:06:18 PM
i really appreciate everyone's advice!   it is really exciting to start home brewing and to be a part of this forum. 

i have been watching more videos, and learning about kegging beer.   i have a mini Sanyo fridge that i got for free.  i am going to have to do some modifications to it (remove the shelves and bend the freezer down)  but then i should be pretty much ready for 1 if not 2 kegs to fit inside.   

i am also making a schedule / checklist for when i actually start brewing.   
Title: Re: New Brewer / New Member
Post by: richardt on November 24, 2010, 05:00:11 PM
Cleaning and Sanitation is critical -- take the time, effort, and chemicals needed to get the job done right everytime.

Temperature control is a BIG deal --  buy a Ranco or Johnson controller online (Digital or Analog) and rig it up to your fridge.

Yeast strain selection is also a BIG deal --  Buy the liquid yeasts and make starters.  Your beer style options are now unlimited.

One more thing:  It's not the gear; it's the brewer and his/her understanding of the process and the use of fresh ingredients.

Read as much as you can; peruse the forum; go to brew club meetings, study for and take the BJCP exam--all these things will help you learn from the veterans, like I stilll am.