Hey all! I hope this is the appropriate forum for this topic. So recently a friend and I decided that we’re going to start learning to brew our own beer. Part out of necessity (Northern New Jersey…ain’t a lot of local micro brews and such) and part out of boredom (Northern New Jersey, ain’t nothing out here). Heheh. Actually I had been quite interested in some time and I had some friends back in CO that used to brew like mad men.
But we are new to the home brew world, and are taking our first steps. I was wondering if there are any tips that y’all would have for a beginner. Our first experiment is with an IPA, doing the partial mash thing. We figure a physicist and an engineer should be able to work through the intermediate stages. We got a basic starter kit, food grade buckets and blah blah blah. We don’t have a glass carboy (we’re looking into it) or any real fancy stuff. However, we did notice a few things with our first try.
First off…didn’t really notice bubbles through the air lock. This one has got me worried as all documentation claims that you should see it. Still our OG was 1.055 and our FG was 1.012. That made us feel a bit better, but still we’re waiting on our second stage fermentation to finish up so we can bottle and wait some more before we can see if we messed up. Not sure if the food grade bucket is appropriate as a second stage as some of the things I have read said you want to minimize the oxygen in the fermenter.
We used a kitchen stove, gas, to boil our wort…had to partially cover it a bit in order to maintain the rolling boil. Was this OK? I’ve seen mixed messages on that.
Water, since this is the primary ingredient it seems important. We bought a bunch of distilled water in jugs from the store and we used that. In retrospect I wonder if that was a good idea or if we should still boil it or do other things to ensure quality.
Homebrewers Association has been a great source of information, we watched the videos over and over again to make sure we “knew” what we were doing, tried to gather as much information as we could before hand. But now as we sit waiting for our beer to mature, we are thinking about starting another batch (I think we’re going with a stout) when we bottle the current bucket.
In general I suppose I’m soliciting advice, maybe common mistakes beginners make, or things to watch out for, our equipment we may want to upgrade to, etc. Thanks for the time and advice all!