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First time Homebrewer

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chadjjones89:
Good evening, ladies and gents,

My name is Chad, and I'm going to attempt my first brew in the next couple of weeks. I've gotten the Beginner's Brewing Kit from Midwest Supplies and will be brewing the Irish Red Ale recipe. I am reading Homebrewing for Dummies (a brewer at Abita recommended it to me a few weeks ago when I visited the brewery) and a friend is bringing me How to Brew by John J. Palmer so I can brush up on the basics before I begin.

I know I'm going to have some snags along the way, but i want to cut down on those as much as possible so I can have a good product my first try. Are there any problems I should beware of or any hints you may have for a newbie? Anything at all would be super helpful.

Thanks!

tschmidlin:
Control your fermentation temperature.  Keep it on the low end of the recommended range.

Skip a secondary fermentation - they are generally not needed, but many books still recommend them.

Rehydrate dried yeast if using it, but don't make a starter.  Make a starter for liquid yeast.  Use an online pitching rate calculator (eg mrmalty.com).

Get a good thermometer.  Trust it, but not too much.

Start your second batch right away.  The first will be gone before you know it.

Most importantly, relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.

Cheers, and welcome to the hobby and the forum.

jamminbrew:
One thing to add to Dr. Schmidlin's advise:  Good sanitation practices. I use star-san, and I can tell you, don't fear the foam. In small doses, it will not harm your beer.

garc_mall:
I agree with Tom.

Especially on making sure you make your second batch quickly. You will be so ready to drink your first batch that making a second will distract you for long enough to get your first batch ready to drink.

Also, relax. You will make beer. It will not be the best beer you have ever tasted, but it will be beer. Your next batch will be better. Relax.

Good Luck, and welcome to the obsession.

brewmasternpb:
One bit of advice I can give: never stop trying to better your beer.  I don't know how many times I hear homebrewers (myself included) say, "I don't do that (insert established brewing practice here) and my beer tastes fine".  Truth is, give it a year, and you won't want to make "fine" beer, you want to make great beer.  Good luck!

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