Author Topic: New brewer  (Read 897 times)

Offline Captain Jack

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New brewer
« on: May 07, 2015, 02:50:48 AM »
I received a kit as a gift and the company was Brooklyn Brew Shop. I worked on everything last night and put it in the fermenter with a blow off tube where it sits now.

I am saying this just stating where my brewing experience is right now, (that is the only brewing experience I have) although I am extremely interested in pursuing brewing as a serious hobby.

Before I worked on it yesterday I spent hours and hours watching videos on everything. It is a lot to digest so I tried focusing on things that are relevant to my kit. One thing that I noticed is a lot of brewing, especially beginners, use extract malt. My kit did not include this only grains. I guess what I am asking is would you recommend I try extract brewing or would that be back tracking and just continue with grains as long as it turned out well?

Offline santoch

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 03:05:34 AM »
Welcome to the hobby

Once you have wort, there's really no difference between AG and Extract.

There are many guys who started out All Grain from the start, though the vast majority do start with extract.
The thought process is that for a newbie, it's much more important to get the processes like sanitation, boiling, racking, bottling, etc down pat first before throwing on the added complexity of all mashing.
That said, Brew-in-a-bag (BIAB) and batch sparging are relatively easy to learn and perform as long as you can keep the temp and pH of your mash in line.

I've been brewing for about 13 yrs, and I still will make an extract batch every now and then simply to save time.  I'd say most of us who've been around homebrew for a while don't consider it backtracking.  You can make great beers using extract if you know what you are doing.

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Offline case thrower

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 11:21:27 AM »
Captain, welcome!  I, too, got my start with a Brooklyn Brew Shop kit about 3 1/2 years ago.  I saw a write-up about the kit in a magazine and told my wife she was getting me that for Christmas.  To answer your question, think of extract brewing as having someone else do some of the work for you.  If you were to make a batch with nothing but extract, you would skip the mash, mix the extract with water and go straight to the boil.  By following the basic directions that came with your kit, you have everything you need to make the best beer you've ever made.
And don't worry.  When I started, I didn't have this forum to fall back on so when I saw what was going on in my boil kettle and fermenter, I was thinking "Is that supposed to be doing THAT?" and "Why does it look like THAT?"  Relax.  If you've followed the directions, the beer is doing what it's supposed to do and everything will be all right.
Dave C.

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The future's uncertain and the end is alway near.

Offline brulosopher

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2015, 12:16:21 PM »
Welcome to this fun and and very addicting hobby!

Offline erockrph

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2015, 01:26:20 PM »
Don't think of extract brewing as "backtracking" as if it is somehow a step down from all-grain brewing. Although I consider myself an all-grain brewer primarily, I still brew extract batches a lot. While you do give up control of a few steps in the process, you can still make excellent beer with extract, and be done in a fraction of the time. I can easily brew an extract batch in under an hour. That enables me to play around with new recipes, or brew on a weeknight after work, with minimal time investment. It's a great tool in the toolbox, and shouldn't be considered inferior to all grain brewing.

Welcome to the hobby, and welcome to the forum as well. We have a great bunch of brewers who share their knowledge freely around here. Feel free to ask and learn.
Eric B.

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

Offline pete b

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2015, 01:43:55 PM »
I agree that extract brewing is not backtracking at this point for you. If you found all-grain to be not stressful or overwhelming that's great but I think for some people learning in chunks is better. With extract you can get competent with many parts of the process: controlling your boil, sanitation, hop additions, varieties and amounts of hops, adjuncts, proper yeast health and counts including starters, fermentation temperature control, gravity readings, when beer is ready, post fermentation ingredient additions, when to use a secondary fermentation (hardly ever), bulk aging, bottling and or kegging, bottle conditioning, evaluating your beer, recipe development, etc., etc., you get the picture. For me it was good to have some confidence in this stuff before tackling all-grain. Its not that all grain is that difficult, its just that its easier for most people to learn a bit at a time.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2015, 01:57:24 PM »
I agree that extract can be a good way to start and get a feel for the whole process. I'd recommend using Briess extracts whenever you can, though, because they have a greater degree of fermentability than most or all others. Meaning that your beers will ferment to a level of attenuation more comparable to all grain brewing than when using other extracts, which can leave a beer sweet and heavy.
   Practice good sanitation and control fermentation temps as well as possible. For a couple years I sat the fermenter in a plastic tote of water and swapped out a couple frozen water bottles twice a day to control fermentation temps and it works surprisingly well. Controlling fermentation temps is HUGE to making good beer. Don't be afraid to ask for help !
Jon H.

Offline akwarmike

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2015, 05:43:21 AM »
Welcome to the addictive hobby called home brewing.  Extract or all grain doesn't matter you'll find what you like and just do it.  Keep it clean and like Charlie say's "Relax, Don't worry, have a home brew!"
Homebrewing since 1998

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Offline ffdfireman

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Re: New brewer
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2015, 03:16:26 PM »
Welcome to the hobby

Once you have wort, there's really no difference between AG and Extract.

There are many guys who started out All Grain from the start, though the vast majority do start with extract.
The thought process is that for a newbie, it's much more important to get the processes like sanitation, boiling, racking, bottling, etc down pat first before throwing on the added complexity of all mashing.
That said, Brew-in-a-bag (BIAB) and batch sparging are relatively easy to learn and perform as long as you can keep the temp and pH of your mash in line.

I've been brewing for about 13 yrs, and I still will make an extract batch every now and then simply to save time.  I'd say most of us who've been around homebrew for a while don't consider it backtracking.  You can make great beers using extract if you know what you are doing.

HTH-

Welcome to the hobby.  I agree with the post above.  You will see plenty of posts disagreeing with me, and the always persistent AG vs. Extract debate.  I have been brewing for around 10 years and still prefer to to brew with extracts/partial mash.  So I, also, do not consider it a step backward.  The great thing about this hobby is that, outside of sanitation, there isn't much you can do wrong.  Some mistakes turn out great, and others.....Well almost everyone here has had to dump a batch at some point.  The fun comes from constantly learning from each other, and trying to fix/or improve all the time.  You'll find yourself addicted to this.  I'm still trying to come up with a recipe that my wife will love so she quits buying that damn Summer Shandy.  lol
Again welcome and Cheers!