Brand new to brewing!

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by WmReign, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. WmReign

    WmReign New Member

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    I have not yet purchased any equipment or kits yet. I figured I would take advice from experienced brewers before I take on this new hobby.
    I'm a good cook in the kitchen and can follow recipes, I'm familiar with sanitation and contamination. My full time job is swimming pools so I know plumbing and filtration.
    I like the idea of crafting 5 liter kegs just enough to share with a friend. I live in apartment so no space for a large setup and small batches seems more reasonable.
    I would like to go into the direction of self sustainability when it comes to raw materials, yeast grains and hops. I know I am capable or propagating yeast and buying local hops and grains.

    If knowing what you know now, what method and setup would you go with to get started??
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!
    I wish I started with BIAB. Mashing isn't really hard at all and lifting only a few pounds of wet grain isn't that much
     
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  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It can be as simple or as complex as you'd like.
     
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  4. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    +1 to BIAB.

    It's the option I chose (about 10 liter batches) because I wanted to brew all grain, but keep things simple and in the kitchen. I'm loving it.

    Good luck!
     
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  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forums. What a smart man you seeking advice before jumping head long into the hobby I admire that for sure. I'm thinking you'll also have your mash Ph ect down pat too seeing as you adjust PH in pools too with acid.

    If starting out and can afford it id go for one of the many all in one electric brew systems out there. Digiboil or Ezeboil is one Grain father is another robo brew in Aus also another new similar one Called Gutan they make fermentors too.

    Of course choice is yours depends on what you like a diyer a large pot and Biab bag fermentation bucket it's all you need amongst other bits and Bob's really.
     
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  6. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Before spending a large sum of money on a robobrew, grainfather or the like, you may want to buy a starter kit which will come with ingredients, buckets, and a small kettle. If you get the bug you will no doubt want to start looking at an all in one system, but if you don't get the bug you have not spent a lot of money...

    I started with this one a year and a half ago, and still use much of what came with the kit on a brew day
    https://www.amazon.com/Northern-Bre...s=gateway&sprefix=northern+bre,aps,184&sr=8-1

    The deluxe kit looks like a good value too
    https://www.amazon.com/Northern-Bre...prefix=northern+bre,aps,184&tag=bestcont06-20
     
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  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    Welcome to Brewers Friend
     
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  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    What he said. And you came to a good place to ask for advice - many different styles of brewing and many different experience levels. We have every kind of brewer from the artist to the engineer to the scientist here. Someone will likely have the answer to your question. And BIAB is a good place to start - I've seen BIAB starter kits out there. Pick up one - it'll ultimately be cheaper than trying to buy all the pieces parts a la carte. And start with small batches - that way if something goes the wrong way, you won't be stuck with two cases of bad beer. Finally, my process geek recommendation: Pick a simple style you like and brew it over and over until it comes out the same way every time. That way you'll know the more complex stuff you'll brew later will be the result of the recipe and not some random factor.
     
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  9. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome! The first thing I'd recommend is getting a copy of How To Brew (4th edition) by John Palmer. It will start you out on the right foot, lead you through your first brew, and continue to lead you into whatever type of brewing you decide upon. I always recommend starting out with extract recipe kits to get used to the process. Once you hit your comfort zone, progress to whatever you decide is the best route for you. Stove top BIAB requires less equipment and is a simpler process than other all grain methods. As you read How to brew you'll likely decide on what will work best for you.
    Again, welcome and good luck.
     
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  10. WmReign

    WmReign New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies!
    I was looking at a lot of kits out there. BIAB is looking good, robobrew looks like a great investment latter and has me pondering a DYI with a hot plate and a regulator down the road. I have a SS pot for starters.

    Going to fermentors
    What’s the benefits from cone shape, carboy and bucket?
     
  11. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I have a small setup as well. I use a 3.5 gallon SS Brewtech fementer and a 4 gallon Gigawort electric system for a 1 pot mash and boil, using BIAB. Note that both of these are a bit pricey, but they give you an idea of what you can achieve working in a small space with a small batch.

    What kind of temperatures do you have in your apartment? For most ale yeasts, you need to be in the mid 60's for fermentation. If you live in a hotter climate, you might want to find a method to cool your fermenter.
     
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  12. WmReign

    WmReign New Member

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    The thermostat is at 69 F all year round, is that doable?
     
  13. Charlie W

    Charlie W Member

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    Welcome to Brewers Friend. All the replies you get on this forum will be good advice. No one will steer you wrong here. I started years ago with LME and DME on the stove and decided to jump to all grain. I enjoy it. You will find what works for you. Another book you might consider buying is Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. Learned quite a bit from that book.
     
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  14. WmReign

    WmReign New Member

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    Thanks, I’m learning a lot from searching different products and terms. Looking forward to getting a good book to refer to. Tips are really helpful
     
  15. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Radical brewing by randy mosher is another good one. Part history book part recipes part brewing process
     
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  16. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    That can work. You just need to use yeasts that work at that temperature. There are several ale yeasts that will work.
     
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  17. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I'd say look at a fermonster for fermenting, cheap and light, with a big opening that makes cleaning really easy.
     
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  18. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I started with BIAB stove top batches into a 5 L glass demijohn for fermentation. It's not a bad way to start out as you get to see pretty much everything in minature. The beer is also finished quickly so you always have an excuse to be brewing.

    If you've got the pot already you just need relatively small setup to do a stove top all grain batch. And even if you scale up later you'll use nearly everything in those later batches. The only thing I'm not using anymore is the original pot. I'd start with:
    • mesh bag to hold the grains (large hop bags are often big enough for small scale batches)
    • 5 litre/1 gallon demijohn
    • airlock and bung
    • sanitiser
    • funnel
    • tubing and a good idea how you're getting the beer out the fermenter
    • bottles and something to cap the bottles (or swing top bottles)
    • refractometer (nice to have)
    • thermometer (needed if mashing, nice to have if doing extract)
    Find a local homebrew store (LHBS) to get most of these and hopefully some advice.

    Then once you've got a few batches under your belt you can start looking at the endless ways to improve (or overcomplicate) your process. And come back and get deluged with opinions on what you should do. And what's the number one next most important step to improve your beer. Personally I think it's experience. So getting in a few small batches at relatively low cost is a great way to form your own opinions.
     
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  19. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #19 HighVoltageMan!, Aug 29, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
    BIAB isn't a bad place to start. I think extract is the best place to start, you don't have to worry about the mash or all the chemistry that can come with the mash, so you can focus on the fermentation side to start with and get that down first. Everything you use to brew an extract can be rolled into a BIAB or another mashing method. That way if it doesn't work out your not out as much money.

    The second thing would be to use only dry yeast to start out, it's easier to handle, has a higher cell count per package, is cheaper than liquid, keeps better than liquid and requires less oxygen when pitched into wort. My favorite all around dry yeast is S04, you can make everything from American IPA to cream ales to brown ales and porters. Plus it takes off like a rocket. Once you get accustom to dry you can get into the liquid side of yeast which offers a higher variety of yeasts.

    I wish you luck and may all your beers be stellar!
     
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  20. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I'll second the dry yeast. For several years I used liquid yeasts and starters, but over the past several years, there are more and more good dry yeasts out there. The bonus is that they are less expensive and most of them seem to be pretty hardy with regards to storage. I like the Safale US-05 (which will ferment nicely at 69 °F) for a somewhat clean ale. A lot of the Belgian or Saison dry yeasts will also ferment nicely at room temps.
     

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