Author Topic: Suggestions for first time brew?  (Read 2107 times)

Offline beerdoodle

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Suggestions for first time brew?
« on: April 16, 2016, 01:54:35 PM »
Hi, I'm new to the forum and homebrewing. It's nice to be here.

I'm planning on brewing my first beer next month and I'm going to get a partial mash kit. I'm looking for something that is relatively easy without a lot of ingredients and steps. I like pretty much all kinds of beer styles.

So, I'm looking for recommendations for both beer styles, and extract partial mash kit brands; which brands are the best and which ones to avoid. Where should I buy them, etc...?

Links will help.

Thanks.

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 04:02:28 PM »
Hi, I'm new to the forum and homebrewing. It's nice to be here.

I'm planning on brewing my first beer next month and I'm going to get a partial mash kit. I'm looking for something that is relatively easy without a lot of ingredients and steps. I like pretty much all kinds of beer styles.

So, I'm looking for recommendations for both beer styles, and extract partial mash kit brands; which brands are the best and which ones to avoid. Where should I buy them, etc...?

Links will help.

Thanks.

I all grain brew so I'm not familiar with extract partial mash kits, but I'd suggest a nice pale ale to start with.
Do you have a local home brew shop? If not there are a lot of good shops on the web. I've bought stuff from Morebeer, Williams, and Northern Brewer.
 
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 05:10:04 PM »
This Amber Ale from Northern Brewer (or similar from your local) might work well too.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/american-amber-ale-extract-kit

Moderate color, moderate ABV, one steeping grain and two hop additions. It shouldn't be too much going on at once, so it will allow you to focus on understanding why you're doing the steps that you're doing.

Offline euge

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 06:00:59 PM »
Welcome to the forum! And Brewing...

What size pots do you have and other equipment?
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Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 06:47:32 PM »
Partial mash is often used as a misnomer for extract plus specialty grain brewing these days, but they are different techniques.  Partial mashing is a more advanced technique that allows a brewer to capture some of the goodness from all-grain brewing while working with equipment that is commonly found in a home.  It used to be a stepping stone between extract plus specialty grain brewing and all-grain brewing back when concentrated boils were more common.  Today, most new brewers either bypass extract plus specialty grain brewing and start with all-grain brewing or they jump to all-grain brewing directly from extract plus specialty grain brewing due to the existence of reasonably priced all-grain brewing equipment.

Offline marfastewart

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2016, 08:55:50 PM »
I'm glad you posted this as I'm also brand new and getting ready to brew my first batch next Sunday. I joined a brewing co-op and they have all of the equipment there, they use 10 gallon pots but I'm not entirely sure on the specs. We have the option to go all grain. I was going to order a kit, just to make things a bit faster since we won't have the luxury of doing it at home.

I was looking at this Irish Red kit from MoreBeer.com: https://www.morebeer.com/products/irish-red-ale-extract-beer-kit.html

Edit: I'm also looking at Carabou Slobber from Northern Brewer. It looks like this is a four week project, however. Is this too risky for a first time brewer? http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/CaribouSlobber.pdf

It seems like the yeast needs to be purchased separately, also the mesh bags for the boiling. This must be a complicated question but I'd love some suggestions on specific ones to get. I'm on information overload...

Thanks for the help!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 09:29:20 PM by marfastewart »

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2016, 09:46:20 PM »
I'm glad you posted this as I'm also brand new and getting ready to brew my first batch next Sunday. I joined a brewing co-op and they have all of the equipment there, they use 10 gallon pots but I'm not entirely sure on the specs. We have the option to go all grain. I was going to order a kit, just to make things a bit faster since we won't have the luxury of doing it at home.

I was looking at this Irish Red kit from MoreBeer.com: https://www.morebeer.com/products/irish-red-ale-extract-beer-kit.html

Edit: I'm also looking at Carabou Slobber from Northern Brewer. It looks like this is a four week project, however. Is this too risky for a first time brewer? http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/CaribouSlobber.pdf

It seems like the yeast needs to be purchased separately, also the mesh bags for the boiling. This must be a complicated question but I'd love some suggestions on specific ones to get. I'm on information overload...

Thanks for the help!

The specialty grains are not boiled.  They are steeped in mesh bags at around 150F for 15 to 30 minutes and removed before the bringing the wort to up a boil when making extract beer.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 01:32:14 AM by Saccharomyces »

Offline euge

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2016, 09:48:26 PM »
Both of you guys came to the right place to learn up before making big decisions.

Kits are nice but armed with the right info one can skip the kit and get right into brewing good or even excellent beer. Spend a week or so on the forum reading threads and participating by asking questions. Oftentimes you'll get answers in minutes.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2016, 10:47:26 PM »
Welcome!
I think a kit is a good way to start. A nice middle of the road beer like a pale ale, amber, or brown ale that doesn't rely on heavy hops, roasted malts etc. Is a good start. The only problem with kits are that the instructions suck. Generally they have you ferment at a warmer than optimal temperature and add too much priming sugar at bottling. I recommend reading a book, such as Palmer's "How to Brew" first and hanging out and asking questions here.
I also recommend going with the dry yeast option. It's best to make a starter for liquid yeast which is very easy and a skill you will want to learn, but a bunch more information and dry yeast is fine.
One more thing: absolutely grab some of your favorite beer to drink on brew day but don't crack the first one until your almost done. Brewing beer is easy and fun but requires attention to detail and care around hot liquid.
Have fun!
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Offline jweiss206

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2016, 06:00:17 AM »
Quote

Edit: I'm also looking at Carabou Slobber from Northern Brewer. It looks like this is a four week project, however. Is this too risky for a first time brewer? http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/CaribouSlobber.pdf

It seems like the yeast needs to be purchased separately, also the mesh bags for the boiling. This must be a complicated question but I'd love some suggestions on specific ones to get. I'm on information overload...

Thanks for the help!

I don't think it's a risky recipe at all. That four weeks work you're referring to is unnecessary. I don't see any reason you would need to transfer this recipe to a secondary fermenter especially with a Brown Ale. You could just leave it in your primary fermenter for the same amount of time and have the same results with less risk of contamination when transferring to the secondary fermenter. Secondary fermentation is typically only used these days when adding additional ingredients (fruit, oak chips, wild yeast etc.), aging for an extended period of time or for clarifying the beer (usually a lager or lighter colored beer). My second brew ever was also a Moose Drool clone, but I included black strap molasses in the recipe which proved rather complicated for a beginner trying not to screw up the basics. I'd also use dry yeast to start with, so you don't have to worry about starters and such which can come with more experience later. Good luck.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 07:12:21 AM by jweiss206 »

Offline btn

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 11:40:43 PM »
Hoppier and/or darker ales like ambers or brown ales can cover up some flaws common to new or inexperienced brewers.

I would also find a beer type with an optimal yeast performance temp range you can accommodate. 

Offline beerdoodle

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2016, 11:10:40 PM »
Clearly, I came to the right place. Yeah, I'm wanting to do an extract kit (preferably with specialty grains) and not a partial mash kit. I think I'm going to get an Northern Brewer kit, they all seem highly reviewed on their site and I have to order a couple more things from them before we are ready to brew anyway.

I'm going to start brewing with my dad. We are splitting the costs of the equipment and we found a sweet deal locally on craigslist from someone selling their equipment. I've heard that extract kits do better with a full water volume boil so we are going to get a 6 gallon stainless pot, which will help us transition to all grain. It's kinda the standard starter/bucket-brew/bottling kit; 6 gallon primary bucket, 5 gallon glass secondary, 6.5 gallon bottling bucket.

Any tips that may help out with shoddy instructions?

Offline santoch

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2016, 11:29:36 PM »
if you are boiling 5 gallon batches, then 6 gallon pot is too small.  You will eventually want to go all grain and you will spend the money all over again for a bigger pot.
Do yourself a favor and get as big a pot as you can find now, so you don't have to spend the money twice.
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Offline war2112

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2016, 12:00:28 AM »
Clearly, I came to the right place. Yeah, I'm wanting to do an extract kit (preferably with specialty grains) and not a partial mash kit. I think I'm going to get an Northern Brewer kit, they all seem highly reviewed on their site and I have to order a couple more things from them before we are ready to brew anyway.

I'm going to start brewing with my dad. We are splitting the costs of the equipment and we found a sweet deal locally on craigslist from someone selling their equipment. I've heard that extract kits do better with a full water volume boil so we are going to get a 6 gallon stainless pot, which will help us transition to all grain. It's kinda the standard starter/bucket-brew/bottling kit; 6 gallon primary bucket, 5 gallon glass secondary, 6.5 gallon bottling bucket.

Any tips that may help out with shoddy instructions?

Hello,

I am also a newbie. I pitched the yeast on my first batch 24 days ago, fermented for 12 days, and has been in bottles since. I am currently drinking one of my brews and it is quite good - way better then I expected.

This was a kit with 5 lbs. of Light Pilsner extract, bag of grains for steeping, 4 different hops ( this is an American Pale Ale recipe) and the priming sugar. It has turned out pretty darn good. Slight flaws but from the advice here i Know why. However, it is actually quite good and I drinking the hell out of it!

Santoch recommended a 5 gallon pot and I do not disagree. I live in an apt however with a coil rangetop and this was not going to work for me. So I have a 16 quart pot and can only do partial boil. But you can get good results.

You will hear it here over and over again about the next point. Forget the secondary. Really, put it aside. I also have a 5 gallon glass carboy from years ago. It is not needed and may do more harm then good. It\s an old practice and is not needed.

You are correct to not follow kit instructions, at least to a degree. Most call for way too high ferm temps and are vague about boil and yeast. Stick to the advice you hear from these guys here who have been doing this for awhile.

Offline war2112

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Re: Suggestions for first time brew?
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2016, 12:06:59 AM »
if you are boiling 5 gallon batches, then 6 gallon pot is too small.  You will eventually want to go all grain and you will spend the money all over again for a bigger pot.
Do yourself a favor and get as big a pot as you can find now, so you don't have to spend the money twice.

Santoch,

I wish I myself could do the big ass pot.

But I live in an apt with a coil rangetop.

That being said, I did receive advice from you on my first batch and I have followed your pointers in other posts. Glad you are here for us newbies!

I am drinking my first batch and I am quite surprised actually.  did do the best I could but it has turned out quite nicely.

Today was brew day for me for my second batch. Hope it is even better than the first!