Author Topic: Help a new Brewer find her style  (Read 961 times)

Offline crynski

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Help a new Brewer find her style
« on: November 05, 2015, 08:56:23 AM »
I am still a new Brewer (one batch last year and 2 down this year) I have been brewing kits but would like to move up to recipes soon.  I am also still getting a handle on what I like in the wide world of beer. So I would like to give a few examples of beer I have enjoyed and have y'all throw some similar recipes at me.  I am shooting for small batches, 1-3 gallons.  I do have a few books with recipes I want to try but experience and feedback are benefits of this forum and its vast knowledge base.  I am not asking for clones just suggestions that reflect my beer style so far. 

What I love:
blue moon
Great Lakes Elliot Ness
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
Illusive traveler
Atwater Dirty Blonde
Shock Top Belgian White
Weasel Boy (zanesville Ohio) Blonde

My first brew was Summer Ale and it turned out easy drinking and pretty enjoyable. 


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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2015, 09:08:29 AM »
Extract? Extract with steeping grains? Or all grain?

Offline crynski

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2015, 12:09:08 PM »
I have done extract with steeped grains and done one all grain kit (one gallon) I want to investigate brew in a bag in the future since I am staying small. 

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RPIScotty

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2015, 12:47:53 PM »
I have done extract with steeped grains and done one all grain kit (one gallon) I want to investigate brew in a bag in the future since I am staying small. 

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My Coleman stacker cooler (http://www.coleman.com/product/2-gallon-party-stackertrade-jug-blue/3000000736?contextCategory=8516#.VjtO3X6rTRY) works perfect for 1-2 gallon AG batches. Depending on the water to grist ratio you use, you can do a pretty large variety of beers. It holds temps pretty well also.

You can do larger batches of smaller gravity beers (up to 2 gallons) with a batch sparge and smaller batches (~ 1 gallon) of higher gravity beers with either a batch sparge or No-Sparge. The small batch sizes let me stay on the stove, in addition to many other benefits. Milds and Patersbiers to stiff mashed Barleywine can be had if you plan accordingly.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2015, 02:22:43 PM »
Hey, welcome to the homebrewing world!  Looks like you love some of the same styles that I do.  Here are some links to several favorite recipes that have won awards over the years (these are not all my own recipes), including some more styles that I think you might like.  If the recipe is for 5 gallons, just cut the ingredients in half or whatever for a smaller batch size, it will still come out the same.  Hope you find something here that you really like.
 
Witbier
Vienna Lager
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Bells Oberon
American Blonde Ale
Saison
My American Honey Wheat or Rye
Brown Ale
German Hefeweizen
Belgian Tripel

Cheers!
Dave

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Offline Vin S

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2015, 02:24:20 PM »
Here are recipes from others   http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/BeerRecipes  . It looks as if you like porters and blonde ales so stick with them because you'll enjoy them. Alts might be a good fit too. Welcome to the world of homebrew. 
   
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2015, 10:05:26 PM »
I use the same two gallon cooler for my small batches that RPIScotty discussed. I used to do BIAB for my smaller batches but prefer the cooler because it holds a more even temperature. If you're not looking to acquire more equipment at this time then BIAB might be the better route because you probably already have a 1.5gal stockpot in your kitchen that you can use for BIAB.

It seems white/witbier and porter are your preferred styles. There are several good recipes for each on the AHA website and if you are an AHA member you can access the recipes for the NHC gold winning recipes for the past several years that will give you not only solid recipes but recipes with proven success. Scaling down these recipes or converting them to extract or partial mashes would not be difficult and I'm sure you will find plenty of help here with those tasks.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2015, 10:37:09 PM »
Welcome! While I don't have recommendations regarding recipes, I'll say that going to a combination of a small insulated cooler (4-5 gallon range) and a quality brew in a bag (BIAB) insert makes for one of the nicest brewing experiences for a small-batch, all-grain brewer (if that's what you're going for).

I used to do BIAB directly in the boil kettle but I found maintaining temperature for the 60 min mash to be kind of a PITA. With the cooler, the temperature is rock-steady for the 60 min mash without having to monitor and cleanup is just dead simple with the BIAB+cooler setup. Having a system that makes the brew day more accessible is best IMO because it'll make you want to be brew more often. I've found small batches and the BIAB+cooler setup really maximizes this aspect. Having opportunities to brew more often are what make this hobby continually more enjoyable for me right now.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2015, 10:46:52 PM »
Welcome ! Good advice from all. I'd add Jamil Z's 'Brewing Classic Styles' as a recommendation for recipes. It gets recommended a lot for new brewers, and with good reason. The recipes are all a very good starting point for any style you haven't brewed before. Brew a recipe once and then you can start tweaking it to suit your tastes. Good luck !
Jon H.

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2015, 10:55:56 PM »
Welcome ! Good advice from all. I'd add Jamil Z's 'Brewing Classic Styles' as a recommendation for recipes. It gets recommended a lot for new brewers, and with good reason. The recipes are all a very good starting point for any style you haven't brewed before. Brew a recipe once and then you can start tweaking it to suit your tastes. Good luck !

Big +1 to this. A majority of the recipes I've tried in 'Brewing Classic Styles' (BCS) have turned out very representative of the style and are all pretty straightforward. As HoosierBrew said, try it 'by the book' first and then start tinkering with some aspect to hone in on what you like. Or not! Jump around, brew something different each time!

Offline crynski

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Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2015, 05:45:32 AM »
Dave thanks for the recipes, that honey wheat came up in another search I did on the forums and it was already on my must try list. I also wasn't sure if just halving a 5 gallon grain recipe for a smaller batch would work so thats good to know.   
Thanks all for the suggestions.  I did get several books from the library trying to decide which ones presented info in a way I liked, but when you read reviews of books online people don't tend to review the actual recipes in them which is why I posted here.