I've been brewing regularly now since October. Not a long time but I've been pretty active at it, brewing once a week until a few weeks ago. I took a break to let lagers occupy the freezer.
I started by studying How to Brew. Then bought a 5 gal pot, built a wort chiller, built some fermentors using Cambro clear 6 gallon buckets I found at Cash n Carry. My first brew was a partial mash Stout kit from Morebeer. It turned out great. I did an APA kit and then my own recipes after that.
I jumped to all grain about two months into it. Great move. It got me into the science side of things and much more fun.
I started down the typical recipe experiment path, trying all different kinds of malts. Sometimes eight different grains in there. Same with hops. Try this, try that, etc. Then I heard about Belgian beers. Knew nothing about it then and still don't but I know that I like a few commercial examples. This led me to buy Brewing Classic Styles, reading the BJCP style guide. Trying several commercial examples.
I moved away from capping and started kegging. Great move! But my first kegged APA tasted like an exam glove. It got better though, more like an apple peel. An ah ha moment. Now I know what Acetaldehyde is, and DMS, and diacetyl, and oxidation etc.
Now I'm going down a path of simplicity but with quality. Learned about temp control, yeast starting, mashing techniques, what's required vs what isn't, hop handling, etc. Now I'm playing with FWH and Flameout additions. My grain bills are getting shorter. Using less two row, crystal and darks. More quality like castle pilsner. Just ordered a 55# sack of Maris Otter which will be base for most of my ales at least for now lol. APA will be all MO.
I'm getting burned out on IPAs and Stouts now that I'm interested in these finer points of flavor. I like the challenge of esters and subtle malt flavors rather than blowing away taste buds with alphas and charcoal.
I wonder where this is heading. Every time you begin to think you know what you are doing, a whole new world is discovered.
What a cool hobby!
"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"