Complete newbie but looking to change that

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by brosborough, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. brosborough

    brosborough New Member

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    So, after trips to Tulsa and watching football games, one of our kids now goes to school there, we have been doing the tailgates, hitting local pubs, and I have found a beer that I now HAVE to recreate. Guess others have as well as I tracked a clone recipe down to this site. So, having never brewed beer before I’m thinking how hard can it be? Please forgive my total ignorance. No “kit” involved with this. It’s a full on from scratch with a million, well maybe not a million” but a million things thrown in. I’d equate it to an imperial stout. Coffee, chocolate, etc etc. so yea. Um no way can I do this as my first beer. Reading the recipe I’m still no so certain it is even in English!!

    So help me get started. What I’m finding so far on YouTube still kind of jumps ahead of me. I’m trying to find something that I can keep watching over and over that might step by step making a stout and explain what all the terms are/mean. As I learn that maybe I can find some much easier recipes to start off with. Maybe someone has a good book or three I need to buy off Amazon? I see many. Hoping for some recommendations based on what I want to do.

    Second, full on equipment list. At first I thought money is no object. Go find an all-in-one solution. Ok money is an object. $4,000 is a bit out of my budget. Lol. Again I just had no idea.

    So not sure what you need to know to help me piece this together. Maybe I’ll learn it all in the books recommended. Figured whatever I buy to make the harder Stout will work for my intro beers as well. So maybe this list will help? Or perhaps I’m just far to inexperienced to even know what to tell you yet.

    1. Whatever I buy needs to be used on the stouts. So spending money up front is preferable than buying something twice.

    2. the recipe I have makes 5 gallons.

    3. I want to keg my beer, not bottle.

    4. Not sure how much access I’ll have to kitchen. Wife might say this makes to much of a mess? Guess it depends how long cooking has to last. I’m guessing we can boil and transfer to cool in a day? No matter what it is? If not, what would it take to set me up in the garage? And on wheels so I can move to the house after cooking to cool. It gets really hot where I live in the summer.

    5. No extract. At least not for the stout. Might go that route to start but want to get used to grains and such as that is the direction I’m going as fast as I can.

    not sure what else I should tell you at this point.

    Thanks
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Sounds ambitious! First, you can get started for around $200. I wouldn't dismiss extract - you have a lot to learn and mashing shouldn't be a start - begin with fermentation control - yeast makes beer, we just feed it. If there's a homebrew shop in your area, start there. They'll be able to guide you as to what to buy. Given the kitchen constraints, extract could save your marriage - much less equipment and mess there. That bunch-of-stuff-in-it comes down probably to a rather simple recipe - think about it: Each ingredient is an increase in cost and breweries are businesses! They don't want to have a bunch of stuff around, runs up cost. Keep it simple to start. My origin story is after a trip to Germany, my wife wanted me to brew her a Schwarzbier. That was eight years ago and I think I'm getting close.
     
  3. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome. You're doing right by wanting to read up on the process and start easy. Probably the best book you could start off with is How to Brew 4th edition, by John Palmer.:
    https://smile.amazon.com/How-Brew-E...1572490877&sprefix=how+to+brew,aps,366&sr=8-3
    This book will tell you what you need to get started and then lead you through brewing tour first beer, From there it progresses on to more complex methods. I've been brewing for about 12 years and use this book for a reference when I'm not sure about something.
    Happy reading and good luck in your future brewing.
     
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  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    My first batch was a northern brewer kit I bought on line, two buckets, a little stock pot kettle, liquid extract, some steeping grains, a syphon, bottling wand, it was like $100 dollars. I still use many of the bits that came in that kit. Buy a kit, try it out. The two most important things on that first batch are:

    If you are on city water, chlorine is a bad thing. Easy solution is a little tablet you can get from a homebrew, or wine shop. Forget what they are called.

    Have a cool place to leave it while it ferments.

    Good luck, try it, it's fun.
     
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  5. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    #5 BOB357, Oct 31, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
    Campden tablet Craig. Potassium Metabisulfite.

    Coincidentally, I also started with a Northern Brewer starter kit. My first brew was a pre hopped caned Mexican Lager. I added a pound of dextrose and fermented with the yeast that was taped to the top of the can. About a month after bottling it tasted just like Newcastle Brown Ale:)
     
  6. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a win!
     
  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Yes!
    You made BEER! FTW!
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My first was also a kit, a kit version of the ESB recipe I've recently published here. It was underattenuated, not at all what I wanted but quite drinkable. In other words, I made beer.
     
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  9. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    That is what it's all about :)
     
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    My first 4 or 5 brews were just a tin of LME from Muntons or some other one and a kilo of DME cause the guy said it made the beer taste better than using a kilo of sugar. I never even boiled, just sanitized the fermenter, heated the LME to dump it in and filled with water and stirred everything before adding yeast.

    They weren't great beers but they were all beers and reasonably good for what it was.

    Oh my first one was a Festa brew where I just dumped the premade wort and pitched yeast.
     
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  11. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Brosborough, looks like you are jumping into this hobby/obsession with both feet! Welcome aboard!

    Like most others I started with extract kits, a 5 gallon boil kettle (BK) and a carboy. One of the benefits of extract kits is that it eliminates the mash as another thing you need to learn about because someone else has already taken care of that part. Two other benefits are reduced equipment cost and you can brew on the stove. There is no mess...as long as you don't have a boil-over!

    Starting with all-grain isn't a huge step. It's a little more equipment but significantly reduces the cost of ingredients. I had to get a 10 gallon BK, a propane burner and a cooler. I now use my 5 gallon BK to heat sparge water. (FYI: You only need a 5 gallon bk for extract because you are only boiling 2.5 gallons and adding 2.5 gallons of water to the carboy/fermentation bucket.) There are many options for mashing and sparging, which is why it's easier to start with extracts. My method is to mash & batch sparge in a large (52 quart) cooler.

    When I first went all grain, I found these videos very informative.
    Brewing an Imperial Stout (and maybe a standard stout too...) with Joe PT 1
    Brewing an Imperial Stout (and maybe a standard stout too...) with Joe PT 2

    A few other things:
    1. Fermentation temperature control is one of the things I wished I focused on sooner. Cheapest option is a swamp cooler. Or get a small freezer or fridge with a temperature controller.
    2. Much of what you can buy you can also make yourself. I made my own immersion chiller and a stir plate for yeast starters.
    3. Have patience.
    4. As Bob mentioned, get John Palmer's How To Brew!
    5. Brewing with a propane burner means brewing outside. If you want to say inside you'll need an electric system.
     
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  12. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    I don't really have enough experience to help out, but I started all grain kit, just the ingredients to make a little 7 litre batch, with the grain crushed.
    I didn't want all the stuff that came with the kit version of it, so I just bought a bag (BIAB), 10 litre bucket with tap, bottling cane and that's about it. It made quite a decent beer.
    I have to admit that I had/have big pots, thermometers, inkbird controller etc. And I bottled in 500 ml plastic sprite bottles

    I have since invested in a better (and bigger) bucket, but I still use the little one, bigger pot so I don't need to sparge, hydrometers, refracto meter, chiller etc, almost all 2nd hand.

    My second batch came out very nice (according to me) and is almost finished..
    Next batch is in the planning, but waiting for the weather to cool down a bit

    Oh, and I second the John Palmer book!
     
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  13. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Actually Extract is a good starting point for brewing. I have been brewing about a year and a half and I go back and forth between BIAB and extract batches based on time constraints and the weather. Once you get into it, you can never have too much equipment. My wife bought the starter kit from Northern Brewer as a gift last year.
     
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  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I reckon if I were to start from scratch again I'd go a robo brew or digi boil type set up and get cracking on that straight from the get go.
    Their not that exy you don't need to upgrade your electrical wiring. Their small compact don't take up a heap of space.
    As long as you follow the brew steps I recon it's hard to stuff it up.

    Good luck there OP.
     
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  15. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Just got the mashing upgrade for my Digiboil for $75US.
    Includes: False bottom, Malt pipe, Wire support, Malt pipe handle, Malt pipe bottom screen.
    Happy with my current 2 vessel system, but the upgrade will make it easier for big beers.

    The complete unit is $230.
    https://www.morebeer.com/search?search=digiboil

    This is a great deal for a beginner. You can easily use it for extract brewing, with or without steeped grains, partial mash and all grain. No need to upgrade every time you move up to a more advanced procedure. Basically the same as the 1st generation Mash&Boil.
     
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  16. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    If this was around when I started up 3 years ago, I would have went that route Bob.
     
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  17. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep and the market is flooded with all in one electric brewing options now. When I first started just 5years back it was Grain father or that German electric brewing system can't remember name the one that pumps liquor up through the grain bed reverse. But both of them were easily over $1000+ up front so too big an investment up front.
    As Bob said now smack down $300 and your off and racing. I recon the all in one electric systems coupled with the cheap pressure fermentors has really hombrewing easier.
    Basics still apply though rigerous cleaning and sanitizing ect ECT and you can't go wrong.
     
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  18. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Braumeister?
     
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  19. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    10-4

    If anyone would have predicted systems like this when I started, they would have been a billionaire by now:)
     
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  20. brosborough

    brosborough New Member

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    Thank you so much for the input. Yes. I have a spare fridge and deep freeze in the garage. Fridge is my beer fridge so I can clear a space for whatever I need to. I’m still equipment shopping and ordered the first book posted. Thanks. There is so much out there I really have no idea what is a OMG must have vs. wow is this convenient vs. didn’t need that thing for $100 bucks. Guess it’s like any other hobby. Between my Fishing, scuba, reef tanks, and now this I could probably end world hunger. /sigh
     
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