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  1. #1
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    So I want to get into home brewing...

    I've wanted to get into home brewing for a while, I think this fall will be when I start. I know absolutely nothing about it. I've looked at a few starter kits, mainly from the Brooklyn Brew Shop. Any tips on how to get into this hobby?

  2. #2
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    Start small, stove-top extract kits are a great way to cut your teeth into the hobby.
    Try an find a local home-brew store if you can, most of them carry pre-made extract kits, or possibly even have their own starter kits.
    The Brooklyn Brew Shop 1 gallon kits are also a great step into BIAB/All-Grain brewing, and don't require much more equipment on your part than you standard stove-top extract kit.
    Check out online information from John Palmer's How to Brew - By John Palmer - Introduction site, it's very informative, and covers just about everything. Homebrewtalk.com is another great resource, the members are very helpful.
    Des Moines looks to have a few home-brew shops, so check them out (Beer Crazy - Home, Heartland Homebrew Supply). Also see about attending a local home-brew club, it's invaluable to get first-hand experience, and feedback from other home-brewers.
    Take things slow, learn to have great patience, and don't be afraid to make mistakes.
    Lay out, and stick to a well thought out sanitation plan/schedule, it's very important. Star San and Idoaphor are priceless tools in home-brewing!

    Most of all, have fun!
    Let us know how it works out, and feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  3. #3
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    Read and read some more on homebrew talk before figuring out what route you want to take. I agree starting off small is a good idea. I did one full extract batch then went to mini mash on the stove.

  4. #4
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    I'll 2nd John Palmer, either in print or electronic. I like print because I can write notes in the margins. I don't know anything about your area, but there is a place here in Minneapolis that will provide the equipment and help you through the process. They do it party style. If that's not an option, then start with an intro kit of some kind, choose a light ale kit with a smack pack that requires minimal time in a 2ndary and save your bottles. In addition, cleanliness goes a long way and set up (sanitation, etc) should be done prior to brew day to minimize the brew time. If you have any kitchen skills this should be relatively easy and enjoyable. If you do enjoy it I would further suggest joining a homebrew club in order to get tips, tricks and tastes. Most of all, enjoy the merits of a worthwhile hobby.
    No fuss with the MUSS

  5. #5
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    It's been quite a few years since I made a batch at home, but here's my 2 cents worth:

    Home brewing is 90% dish washing and waiting. If your equipment and bottles are not sterile, you risk losing the whole batch.
    Start with a simple recipe for the first couple of batches. The suggestion of starting with pre-made extraction kits is a good one, imho.
    Ale yeast is far more forgiving than lager yeast. If you want to do a lager, you will need to have a climate controlled area that is pretty cold and big enough for your brewing vessel.

    Cheers and have fun!

  6. #6
    Beer Please!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boognish View Post
    Home brewing is 90% dish washing and waiting. If your equipment and bottles are not sterile, you risk losing the whole batch.
    I would like to second this. Sterilization is the most important thing you can do or not do and screw something up.
    telling me to stay out of a former bombing range next to a dump while you build huge houses next to it? Screw you.-sandmangts

  7. #7
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    Great! Thanks for the info, I'm excited to start my first attempt which unfortunately will have to be about the middle of next month but I wanted to get a head start on planning now. I'm personally a fan of porters and stouts, would it be a good idea to start with a kit like that or would I potentially run into problems there as a rookie? Any suggestions on what specific kit I should start out with?

  8. #8
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    You want to sanitize everything very well, which is to say you need to kill %99 of bacteria and wild yeasts. Sanitizing is NOT sterilizing which kills 99.999% of bacteria/yeast/microb's etc. I wont deny that this is a crucial step. I'n my brewery, 95% of my time is devoted to cleaning and %5 to actually brewing beer. I would start out with a product called Star-San from Five Star. It's easy to use with a quick contact time. As far as which beer to brew first, well that's easy. The one you want to drink! For your first time out though, I'd recommend an Extract Brew, and for god's sake make a five gallon batch. Believe me, once word get's out you're making beer people are going to start hanging around your garage more after rides. Extract brewing really amounts to making soup, and I'm pretty sure if you navigated through that "Prove Your a Human" game on this site you can make soup. I'd also recommend picking up a book called "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing" as Charlie tends to emphasize the fact that this hobby should be fun. Nothing against Palmer, it's a must read, but not for your first brew. Have fun!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boognish View Post

    Home brewing is 90% dish washing and waiting. If your equipment and bottles are not sterile, you risk losing the whole batch.
    This isn't just home brewing. Brewing at any scale you need to be clean and sanitary...to the point of being OCD with it. I brew in a commercial brewery; you can brew the best beer, but if you're not clean something will go wrong. Don't worry, you can't mess up so bad that you'll kill somebody with beer. I only say this because almost every brewer has a batch that goes sideways at some point...
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  10. #10
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    Thinking of getting my dad a home brewing kit for his birthday, so this is all pretty informative. Thanks for this.

  11. #11
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    The cleanliness and sterilization are the big reasons I don't brew anymore. What a PITA! It's just not who I am. Also, it was economical but I wasn't producing what I wanted to drink, doppelbocks at the time and would be Nugget Nectar or Flower Power now. Good luck!

  12. #12
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    SKDmann,
    Start small and sterilize...the back bone !
    I am new to this forum, however, I have been brewing for 20+ years!!
    My 'special friends' love the beer! I enjoy the brewing but most of all, I LOVE making my own receipes and harvesting my own yiest...this is when the fun begins! As the saying goes...the sky is the limit!
    Contact me whenever you have questions !

  13. #13
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    A porter or stout would be a good first beer. They are relatively forgiving of mistakes. A kit would be a good idea to start. Go to your local homebrew shop - they will help you get the right kit. Most any kit should be OK.

    Remember, if you can make ramen noodles, you can make beer. It is a really simple process. Just take your time and don't rush anything.
    I was gonna stop by and see you, but the Jehovas witnesses came by. When they left I started drinking. Voicemail from Paul

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by glorth2 View Post
    The cleanliness and sterilization are the big reasons I don't brew anymore. What a PITA!
    i hated bottle washing with a passion; then you factor the tedium of filling & capping... kegging was the single best investment i've made to the hobby. now sanitization typically consists of rinsing out the primary bucket and corny - i.e., about 10mins per batch. i certainly wouldn't be brewing as often if i had to do the bottle routine again.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by glorth2 View Post
    The cleanliness and sterilization are the big reasons I don't brew anymore. What a PITA!
    It is a pain. The two guys I know who still brew at home don't bottle anymore due to this. They put it in kegs. It's still a process, but not as much of one as with bottling.

    edit: what the guy above me said.

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