Author Topic: Advice for a Newbie  (Read 4019 times)

Offline brewday

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2015, 06:54:12 pm »
Yeah, I hear ya.  I see that too.

Perhaps my experience is more related to the particular kit (Brooklyn) that I started with.  The instructions were very clear and included easy explanation of what was occurring (starch conversion, sparging/recirculation) and even a link to a video.  So I guess I'm endorsing starting out AG with one of those kits.

But to this day I still remember what that first mash looked like and smelled like.  Man, I think I might've been hooked right there!
Jon Weaver

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2015, 07:49:13 pm »
Ok, I'll disagree!  Since for the most part sanitation and yeast management takes place after wort production, I don't think it really matter how you get to that point.

But I am one of those who started AG, and based on my experience I wouldn't hesitate to recommend small batch, AG to start.  My first few batches were with a one gallon stovetop all-grain kit.  Very easy, and fun too.  I paid close attention to directions (and sanitation post-boil) and those batches turned out good enough to keep me brewing.  I built one of Denny's cheap n easy coolers after a couple of months, then added fermentation temp, yeast management and water along the way.  I've brewed exactly zero extract batches to date, and looking back I can't think of single reason why I should have.  Starting out small is probably a good idea regardless, but I just think that all-grain stovetop batches are fairly simple.

However, can you perform every calculation used in brewing without resorting to brewing software?  For example, can you calculate something as fundamental as strike liquor temperature and boiling liquor infusions needed for stepping a mash in a non-heated mash tun without resorting to a textbook or the use of brewing software?

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2015, 07:55:35 pm »
However, can you perform every calculation used in brewing without resorting to brewing software?  For example, can you calculate something as fundamental as strike liquor temperature and boiling liquor infusions needed for stepping a mash in a non-heated mash tun without resorting to a textbook or the use of brewing software?

I don't see why I need to.  I have the software and my experiences and my notes and that's good enough for me.

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Offline Stevie

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2015, 08:02:37 pm »

However, can you perform every calculation used in brewing without resorting to brewing software?  For example, can you calculate something as fundamental as strike liquor temperature and boiling liquor infusions needed for stepping a mash in a non-heated mash tun without resorting to a textbook or the use of brewing software?

I have heard you make this argument before, and I really don't think it is as big of a deal as you want it to be.  While software has made recipe creation easier, with the ability to see expected/possible results immediately, using software doesn't mean one is less of a brewer.

Offline brewday

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2015, 08:43:25 pm »
Ok, I'll disagree!  Since for the most part sanitation and yeast management takes place after wort production, I don't think it really matter how you get to that point.

But I am one of those who started AG, and based on my experience I wouldn't hesitate to recommend small batch, AG to start.  My first few batches were with a one gallon stovetop all-grain kit.  Very easy, and fun too.  I paid close attention to directions (and sanitation post-boil) and those batches turned out good enough to keep me brewing.  I built one of Denny's cheap n easy coolers after a couple of months, then added fermentation temp, yeast management and water along the way.  I've brewed exactly zero extract batches to date, and looking back I can't think of single reason why I should have.  Starting out small is probably a good idea regardless, but I just think that all-grain stovetop batches are fairly simple.

However, can you perform every calculation used in brewing without resorting to brewing software?  For example, can you calculate something as fundamental as strike liquor temperature and boiling liquor infusions needed for stepping a mash in a non-heated mash tun without resorting to a textbook or the use of brewing software?

Of course not, I'm just a sales jerk with a weekend hobby.  But somehow I doubt that I would be able to perform those calculations with a few extract batches under my belt either.
Jon Weaver

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2015, 08:51:40 pm »
Anyone who cannot perform all of the calculations required to formulate a recipe and operate a brew house without the aid of software is not a brewer. Learning these calculations are part and parcel of learning to become a brewer.  Brew house calculations are brewing fundamentals much in the way that calculus and differential equations are part of an engineer's fundamentals. 

S. cerevisiae

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2015, 09:38:52 pm »
Of course not, I'm just a sales jerk with a weekend hobby.  But somehow I doubt that I would be able to perform those calculations with a few extract batches under my belt either.

Starting simple and periodically adding complexity allows a brewing apprentice to experience the hobby from a very different perspective.  For example, I spent a good part my first year of brewing as a partial-mash brewer.  By partial mash brewer, I do not mean extract with specialty grains.  I mean 5-gallon brewer who derives a percentage of his/her extract from mashing and lautering.  In order to become an accomplished partial mash brewer without the aid of software, one has to learn how to compute mash extraction rates in points per pound per gallon (PPG) because the extract is going to be mixed with dry or liquid extract with a known PPG value (a fundamental that is learned while formulating extract recipes).   I would have never learned that valuable lesson if I had jumped into all-grain brewing by parroting what a piece of software told me to do.  Moving from PPG extraction rates to extraction efficiency percentages is little more than dividing a total gravity points (TGP) by a weighted total of dry basis, fine grind (DBFG) or hot water extract (HWE) values for the grains in the grist.  TGP is part of the PPG calculation.  These calculations are fundamentals that all brewers should know how to perform without having to resort to using software or a textbook, and they are best learned one or two calculations at a time.

« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 09:36:03 am by S. cerevisiae »

Offline brulosopher

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2015, 09:55:39 pm »
Here's what I'd do if I were to start today:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/06/11/getting-started-if-i-knew-then-what-i-know-now/

I absolutely advocate for starting with all grain!

Offline ShotShell_Rebel

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2015, 11:06:57 am »
This is great advice to get started and avoid some pitfalls as far as a source to get equipment what do u guys recommend?

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Offline crynski

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2015, 08:47:23 pm »
If you are reasonable driving distance from a home brew store go in and see what they have. I bought the kit I did because it was available and I could talk to the folks in the store when I got it. But I drink slow and a 5 gallon batch lasted me forever so I am scaling down to one gallon.  I only have my 2nd batch fermenting now (and its cider), my next is going to be a Brooklyn brew kit also, because I want the small batch and they had them kitted in my favorite style (I want to do a couple kits before I try just working from a recipe).  Also if you bottle don't assume after the 2 weeks it is what it is, my first beer was just OK, but the summer ale I brewed got better with age and the stuff I opened months later (when it was summer again) was really good.

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Offline Jeffinn

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2015, 12:09:41 pm »
However, can you perform every calculation used in brewing without resorting to brewing software?  For example, can you calculate something as fundamental as strike liquor temperature and boiling liquor infusions needed for stepping a mash in a non-heated mash tun without resorting to a textbook or the use of brewing software?

I don't see why I need to.  I have the software and my experiences and my notes and that's good enough for me.


+1 to this
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Offline denny

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2015, 12:21:21 pm »
However, can you perform every calculation used in brewing without resorting to brewing software?  For example, can you calculate something as fundamental as strike liquor temperature and boiling liquor infusions needed for stepping a mash in a non-heated mash tun without resorting to a textbook or the use of brewing software?

I don't see why I need to.  I have the software and my experiences and my notes and that's good enough for me.


+1 to this

+2...and I'm smart enough to not use a step mash!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2015, 12:33:12 pm »
Anyone who cannot perform all of the calculations required to formulate a recipe and operate a brew house without the aid of software is not a brewer. Learning these calculations are part and parcel of learning to become a brewer.  Brew house calculations are brewing fundamentals much in the way that calculus and differential equations are part of an engineer's fundamentals.
Mark, I love you passion, but this is elitist bull crap.

Offline denny

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2015, 12:59:52 pm »
Anyone who cannot perform all of the calculations required to formulate a recipe and operate a brew house without the aid of software is not a brewer. Learning these calculations are part and parcel of learning to become a brewer.  Brew house calculations are brewing fundamentals much in the way that calculus and differential equations are part of an engineer's fundamentals.
Mark, I love you passion, but this is elitist bull crap.

Like many things Mark advocates, what's right for him may not be right for other people....like you and me!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Stevie

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Re: Advice for a Newbie
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2015, 01:01:27 pm »
If I didn't have software, I would have created a spreadsheet to do the work for me.