Author Topic: Tips for the beginner  (Read 4248 times)

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7223
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2012, 04:25:10 PM »
My only advice is to never lose the attitude that you're "still learning." I know after a few years doing this, I thought my beer was the best and that I knew it all.

Holy crap, was I wrong.

I feel like the more I learn the less I know.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline ikari

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2012, 04:37:03 PM »
I just want to thank people for their advice here. I have sent a lot of it to my friends and we are going to try to augment what we have done to accommodate the suggestions. This weekend is bottling day, and we are going to start our Russian Imperial Stout as well. I'm anxious/concerned about the state of our IPA. I think we made it at least drinkable (of course it will be 2 weeks after bottling till we find out), but you always kinda have those thoughts in the back of the head.

We're using a wet yeast this time for the stout and we'll see how we go. It's still a kit overall (Brewer's Best), partial mash, blah blah blah; but we may do this batch and another before trying an all grain method.

On that front, though, I heard a lot more equipment is used. What sort of stuff would we need for All Grain?

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7223
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2012, 04:40:29 PM »
I just want to thank people for their advice here. I have sent a lot of it to my friends and we are going to try to augment what we have done to accommodate the suggestions. This weekend is bottling day, and we are going to start our Russian Imperial Stout as well. I'm anxious/concerned about the state of our IPA. I think we made it at least drinkable (of course it will be 2 weeks after bottling till we find out), but you always kinda have those thoughts in the back of the head.

We're using a wet yeast this time for the stout and we'll see how we go. It's still a kit overall (Brewer's Best), partial mash, blah blah blah; but we may do this batch and another before trying an all grain method.

On that front, though, I heard a lot more equipment is used. What sort of stuff would we need for All Grain?

Mashtun: which can be a cooler such as a Coleman Extreme or a direct fired pot with a false bottom. Then you have to figure out how you want to sparge or skip that step altogether.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tubercle

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1639
  • Sweet Caroline
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2012, 05:07:40 PM »
Extracts and partial brews make excellent beers. Do that if you have limited equipment but go all grain as soon as you can, if you can. It's much easier than it sounds, I went all grain on my 3rd batch.

Dry yeast makes very good beer.

Understand the difference between clean and sanitized but don't get obsessed. Just do both to an acceptable level.

Don't ever stress out over making beer. Too much to worry about already. If this adds to it, just go buy some. It's supposed to be fun.

Beer has been made for several thousand years. You won't come up with anything that hasn't already been tried. I refuse to think I'm not as smart as the Summerians, but then again I learned from them.

Keep it as simple as possible. Figure out what beer you like best and make it. Don't worry what others think about it, it's YOUR beer. If they criticize, invite them to make their own.

Sweet Caroline where the Sun rises over the deep blue sea and sets somewhere beyond Tennessee

Offline gmac

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2024
  • London, Ontario
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2012, 05:43:48 PM »
For all grain, I have a burner, a 60 qt pot but you can get by with smaller and a cooler with a stainless braid.  Check out www.dennybrew.com  it's not the only way to do it but it sure works for me and hundreds of others.

But, get comfortable with extract first, once you finish the sparge, you're doing the same as extract.  Doesn't matter if it's all grain or extract, if you aren't fermenting properly, it won't matter.  You can make good beer, actually great beer with extract.  I'd work with extracts and get your boil/hop/ferment process down before spending more money to go all grain.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4535
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2012, 05:51:53 PM »
Cheapest way to go all grain is "Brew in a Bag", go a search.

These days I do not drink while brewing. The beer comes out better, the brew day goes better, and my safety level is higher.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7223
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2012, 06:17:42 PM »
I wouldn't be in a all-fired hurry to jump into grain brewing. It really is another kettle of fish with a lot more areas to make mistakes or have problems. The education can be brutal considering the longer brew day and when a batch sucks after a bunch of effort it is tough to bear.

After that bit of discouragement... At least get the other areas down pat before delving into a more complicated process.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tubercle

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1639
  • Sweet Caroline
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2012, 06:57:56 PM »
I wouldn't be in a all-fired hurry to jump into grain brewing. It really is another kettle of fish with a lot more areas to make mistakes or have problems. The education can be brutal considering the longer brew day and when a batch sucks after a bunch of effort it is tough to bear.

After that bit of discouragement... At least get the other areas down pat before delving into a more complicated process.

Fellow brewing brother Euge...allow me to disagree just a moment (sorry, been drinking too much extract brew and this borders on PWD).

 I have found that all grain is no more effort than extract. It adds about an hour to the brew day in my case. More if you are less experienced but the gap closes with experience. I basically started with all grain and after reading all the trials and tribulations of extract brewers went back to that to experience what the extract brewers were experiencing so I would have a better understanding. I found myself limited as a result and struggle to duplicate what I can with all grain and find it actually more frustrating, which is the opposite reason I brew my own. I regressed in a sense.

 Yes, the education can be brutal if you let it, but the rewards are synergistic if you just let it happen. It's the attitude of why you brew that matters. Not time or effort.

Personally I am making some very good brews with extract now. This is a side of the art I never really got to experience and would have no problem if this is all I had to my disposal from here on out.

I've said enough.

 But thanks to you I have come to know and love the art of making sausage!!!

OK, the Tubercle is singing off and makes apologies for highjacking. Back to good and wholesome advise for the new brewer.
Sweet Caroline where the Sun rises over the deep blue sea and sets somewhere beyond Tennessee

Offline duboman

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 784
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2012, 06:10:35 AM »
Quote
We're using a wet yeast this time for the stout and we'll see how we go.

When using liquid yeast strains it is highly recommended that you make a starter to ensure you are pitching the proper cell count.

Visit: www.yeastcalc.com Here you can plug in the batch size, date of yeast pack, gravity of beer and it will calculate the appropriate sized starter required.

Making a starter is easy and you can use anything like a mason jar or milk jug to do it. All you need is some Extra Light DME, yeast nutrient and yeast. A starter is like a small unhopped beer with a gravity of 1.040.

Using a 10:1 ratio you can create any size starter. For example a 1L starter you would boil 1L of water, add 100 grams DME and boil 10 minutes, cool to below 70, pitch yeast in put contents into sanitized vessel. Erlenmeyer flasks are great because you can do everything in one vessel. Once pitched, just shake every time you walk by it and it will ferment in about 24 hours. Then you can cold crash and decant the excess beer, swirl up the slurry on brew day and pitch when ready.
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Online Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2325
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2012, 07:09:42 AM »
1) manage/control your fermentation temperature (fridge, swamp cooler, whatever works)
2) manage your yeast - build a starter, build/buy a stir plate, and make sure you're pitching an appropriate amount
3) read as much as possible
4) move on to all grain if/when you want to
5) learn from your mistakes.  You will make them, as long as you learn from them no worries.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline erockrph

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2415
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • Critical Tastings
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2012, 07:24:11 AM »
These days I do not drink while brewing. The beer comes out better, the brew day goes better, and my safety level is higher.

And my kitchen floor stays cleaner  :D

I will still have some brews if I'm brewing with friends and it is a social event as much as a brewday, but I almost always forget something (Fermcap, Whirlfloc, hop addition, etc.) if I've had a few brews.

One other piece of advice - keep detailed notes of everything. You won't know what to fix/change if you don't know what you did.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11665
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2012, 08:56:24 AM »
Oh, and avoid the temptation to drink on brew days.  Seems like half the time I brew, someone stops by, we have a couple beers and then things get missed/forgotten/generally F'd up.  Wait until at least the end of the boil to crack one.  Listen to the voice (liver) of experience on this one.

That is sage advice.


+2!  I wait til everything is cleaned up and put away, then I reward myself!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11665
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2012, 08:58:04 AM »
My only advice is to never lose the attitude that you're "still learning." I know after a few years doing this, I thought my beer was the best and that I knew it all.

Holy crap, was I wrong.

I feel like the more I learn the less I know.

As the great Jethro Gump once said, "The more I know about beer, the more I know I need to know more about beer".
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11665
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2012, 09:00:35 AM »
We're using a wet yeast this time for the stout and we'll see how we go. It's still a kit overall (Brewer's Best), partial mash, blah blah blah; but we may do this batch and another before trying an all grain method.

On that front, though, I heard a lot more equipment is used. What sort of stuff would we need for All Grain?

Keep in mind that to use liquid yeast for a beer that strong, you will have to make a starter.  See mrmalty.com for details.  If you don't make a starter, you'll likely be back here asking questions about a stuck fermentation!

I'd be sure you have the basics down before you go all grain, but you should check out my Cheap'n'Easy system at www.dennybrew.com
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Online Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2325
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Tips for the beginner
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2012, 09:14:50 AM »
Keep in mind that to use liquid yeast for a beer that strong, you will have to make a starter.  See mrmalty.com for details.  If you don't make a starter, you'll likely be back here asking questions about a stuck fermentation!

Once COULD pitch multiple packs... though I doubt that was the intent.

Cost being no factor, a this would be an alternative approach.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton