Author Topic: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)  (Read 2618 times)

Offline James Lorden

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Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« on: October 25, 2011, 09:25:20 AM »
Recently I have helping a friend learn to homebrew.  He has not been satisfied with a few of his early extract batches and keeps talking about switching to all grain and buying new gear.  I have telling him that if he focuses on process that things will turn around.  To prove the point I recently put the all-grain equipment aside and brewed a few partial match brews then I entered those beers in a local competition.  Well wouldn't you know that both of those beers took second place in there respective catagories.

For my friend and other new brewers I would just like to offer support - I also made some bad beer in the past, but it wasn't because I didn't have stainless steel fermenters or the ability to step mash grain.  It was because I wasn't pitching adequate ammounts of yeast, aerating, or monitoring fermentation temps.  The reason that my early extract batches were not great and my current extract batches 10 years later are good is because I have a good process.

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying you shouldn't buy fancy equipment (lord knows I have more then I need).  What I am saying is that the reason should be because it adds to your enjoyment of the hobby, not because you think you need it in order to make good beer.

Cheers!
James Lorden
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Offline euge

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 11:48:15 AM »
I agree. That's why my suggestion is to get fermentation temps under control before buying any fancy system upgrade or kegging rigs. For most people this will involve refrigeration and a controller.

And I kinda like returning to the stove-top. Brought the fun back into the endeavor.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 11:51:44 AM »


And I kinda like returning to the stove-top. Brought the fun back into the endeavor.

Same here. 

I'm going to be teaching a friend to brew soon, starting with extract partial boil kits.  Wish I had someone to show me the ropes when I first started.  I didn't know what I was doing and had no guidance, hence my first few batches weren't very good.
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 11:54:58 AM »
I agree. That's why my suggestion is to get fermentation temps under control before buying any fancy system upgrade or kegging rigs. For most people this will involve refrigeration and a controller.

And I kinda like returning to the stove-top. Brought the fun back into the endeavor.


Fermentation temp control and sanitation are two of the most important process factors.  These two items and a good recipe can't be beat.
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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 11:58:10 AM »
I agree. That's why my suggestion is to get fermentation temps under control before buying any fancy system upgrade or kegging rigs. For most people this will involve refrigeration and a controller.

And I kinda like returning to the stove-top. Brought the fun back into the endeavor.


Fermentation temp control and sanitation are two of the most important process factors.  These two items and a good recipe can't be beat.
Agreed.  Good beer can be made at 70F if you can't control the temp to 64F or whatever.  But good beer can't be made without good sanitation practices.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 12:22:51 PM »
i still claim that controlling cleanliness and fermentation temp are the keys to good beer.  after that is a matter if you like or don't like a style, or a brewer's take on a style rather than good beer or bad beer
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 12:35:09 PM »
Unfortunately, many people like to throw money at their problems. It's easier than learning.
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 01:28:29 PM »
Wish I had someone to show me the ropes when I first started.  I didn't know what I was doing and had no guidance, hence my first few batches weren't very good.

I got all of my early brewing knowledge from this old guy that worked in a little LHBS that has since closed down.  Without me knowing it at the time, this guy was giving some of the worst possible advice.  After a few years of reading books on my own, finding forums, and entering some competitions I finally got to the point where I figured out how to make pretty good beer.  I remember being particularly proud of one batch in those early days that I brought in for this guy to try.  I remember him saying "it's all right ???".  My blood boiled! I remember thinking to myself "if this guy takes his own advice then this bottle I just gave him should be the best homebrew he's ever had!

I can look back and laugh now, but in reality it's true.  It seems like there are a lot more resources (including helpful people) for todays starting homebrewers.
James Lorden
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 01:31:18 PM »
Recently I have helping a friend learn to homebrew.  He has not been satisfied with a few of his early extract batches and keeps talking about switching to all grain and buying new gear.  I have telling him that if he focuses on process that things will turn around.  To prove the point I recently put the all-grain equipment aside and brewed a few partial match brews then I entered those beers in a local competition.  Well wouldn't you know that both of those beers took second place in there respective catagories.

For my friend and other new brewers I would just like to offer support - I also made some bad beer in the past, but it wasn't because I didn't have stainless steel fermenters or the ability to step mash grain.  It was because I wasn't pitching adequate ammounts of yeast, aerating, or monitoring fermentation temps.  The reason that my early extract batches were not great and my current extract batches 10 years later are good is because I have a good process.

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying you shouldn't buy fancy equipment (lord knows I have more then I need).  What I am saying is that the reason should be because it adds to your enjoyment of the hobby, not because you think you need it in order to make good beer.

Cheers!

I disagree...
And, here's why...
I'm selling stainless fermenters, pumps, chillers, hop rockets, kettles, etc.
If you call before midnight tonight, I'll give you 20% off the 200% retail markup.

Obviously, I'm only joking, above.
The only reason you need all that stuff, is because you want more "stuff".
You can brew amazing beer with very, very simple equipment.
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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 01:35:17 PM »
Unfortunately, many people like to throw money at their problems. It's easier than learning.

Nice thoughts mr lorden.  Impatience is a killer too, there are no shortcuts in homebrewing and one must spend a chunk of time reading and brewing.

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 01:59:53 PM »
Wish I had someone to show me the ropes when I first started.  I didn't know what I was doing and had no guidance, hence my first few batches weren't very good.

I got all of my early brewing knowledge from this old guy that worked in a little LHBS that has since closed down.  Without me knowing it at the time, this guy was giving some of the worst possible advice.  After a few years of reading books on my own, finding forums, and entering some competitions I finally got to the point where I figured out how to make pretty good beer.  I remember being particularly proud of one batch in those early days that I brought in for this guy to try.  I remember him saying "it's all right ???".  My blood boiled! I remember thinking to myself "if this guy takes his own advice then this bottle I just gave him should be the best homebrew he's ever had!

I can look back and laugh now, but in reality it's true.  It seems like there are a lot more resources (including helpful people) for todays starting homebrewers.
Obviously (or maybe not?) I meant someone who is experienced and brews good beer to guide you through your first couple batches.  Not someone who has been doing it for a long time, but doesn't know sh*t about the process and making good beer.
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Online Joe Sr.

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 02:30:46 PM »
one must spend a chunk of time reading and brewing.

Reading is so important.  As much info as you can from as many sources as possible.

I got most of my early knowledge from BYO and writing in to Mr. Wizard.  Back in the day.

Every now and then, re-reading or revisiting the basics is important.
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Offline skyler

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 10:45:28 PM »
Fermentation temp control is the most important step after sanitation... but it is also a very difficult one to manage. Here in CA a lot of brewers can't get their wort under 75 degrees without expensive equipment... and maintaining proper fermentation temps without a dedicated freezer/fridge is basically impossible 9 months out of the year. I always tell people as soon as they get into the hobby to look into a used fridge or chest freezer... I just can't abide by hot ester bombs that get made when folks pitch at 78 and ferment in the low 80's.

That said, most of the other costly equipment is all about convenience, not better beer. I don't need my mill, pump, or fancy chiller, but they make my brewday easier. That said, I would never advise a new brewer to shell out the cash for something like that, but I always tell people they should manage fermentation temperature and that my preferred method is with a dedicated "fermentation freezer."

Offline majorvices

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2011, 10:30:37 AM »
Fermentation temp control is the most important step after sanitation...

I'd say it is every bit as important as sanitation.
Keith Y.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Point Proven? (and a message for new brewers)
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2011, 10:58:57 AM »
I don't know about you guys, but just think of how much you have learned from this forum (and others).  When I started brewing on my stove in the mid-90's, I couldn't just post a question or read a topic and become instantly educated.  I had to find the answer or experiment until I learned it from experience.  We have it so good now and the info is everywhere.

I still remember first trying to make a MT from the directions in the first Joy of Homebrewing book.  Drilling a million 1/8" holes in to the bottom of a plastic fermenter...........I gave up.

Now I'm all over YouTube taking notes on how I'm going to make my RIMS or HERMS (haven't decided yet) system! 

So, +1 to good sanitation, having a good process and being patient.

+1000 to have someone you know to pass on their knowledge........ ;)
Dave Zach