Amateur starting brewing with a few questions

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Newts

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Hi all,

Just thought I'd post on here my brewing experiences so far. I imagine most home brewers experience what I'm experiencing now. I've been reading a lot of information on here and I'm finding the basics of brewing a standard kit beer are quite simple but the further I go into it the more confusing it gets.

I was given a keg kit for my birthday last year and thought I'd start by brewing up a batch and give it a go. I started my first 2 batches in spring and found that they were great. Far better than expected, the second one was so good that me and two friends managed to finish it within 2 days of it carbonating. It then hit summer and every brew I put together had an extremely bitter taste to it. It was horrible. I thought the beer may have been infected but it was 4 batches in a row and I've been disinfecting each time thoroughly and watching all the youtube videos to make sure I'm doing the right thing. Still not 100% this is the reason for the taste but I'm assuming it was.

After the first couple of brews I was loving the hobby so I put some coin into it. I decided to build a decent brew fridge so I invested in taps, kegs, lines etc and modded the fridge that's now in my profile pic. Sanded it all back to get the rust out and gave it a paint job. Fits 4 kegs and have done the calcs to balance the system so it's set up ready to go. I actually killed a fridge by drilling through one of the cooling pipes but luckily the fridge was free and I managed to pick up another one cheap on our local Facebook page.

Now I have a fully set up fridge and I've brought a fridge to brew in with a temperature controller. Just put my first batch of Mangrove Jack's Golden Ale in a keg and i'm waiting for carbonation. I also have a Coopers Draught in the fridge currently brewing that should be done on the weekend :)

I've got a few questions regarding improving my chances every time, increasing the flavour and having overall success with my new found hobby.

1. I'm currently using tap water that I think is heavy in minerals and chlorine. I'm in the desert in WA and the water is generally regarded as poor quality. Is fitting a filter to my tap the way to go or is there a better way to get quality water. I don't really want to be paying for spring water for every batch.

2. I've read that double dosing the yeast in each batch is a good option to make sure the sugar is fermented. Is this worth it? If so, how do I know what yeast to use? At the moment I'm just putting the kit together as per the instructions on the pack and using the yeast included. No additions at all. I'm concerned if I change to much in one brew I won't know what's going wrong.

3. How do you go about getting the temp right at brewing time. Our tap water here is around 25 degrees so adding this to boiling water will never reach the 22 mark to start brewing. The last batch started at 32 degrees and this was a concern. What effect does this have on the brew - fusel alcohols?

4. Last question is how do I go about increasing the flavour of the beer once I think I've got the kits down. What would be the initial additions to add a bit of flavour that aren't too risky that will result in a custom taste?

These are the questions I've thought of so far and I'm sure I'll have more as I go along. Overall loving the hobby! So rewarding being able to actually enjoy the benefits of a hobby. One of the only hobbies I know of where you save money and get to custom make a recipe unique every time.

Any reply will be appreciated.

Cheers,

Newts
 

yum beer

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1. I'd consider getting a filter and maybe look into adding brewing salts back to the water.
Just suing filtered at first will help with flavour.
2. Look into getting better quality yeasts, US-05 for ales, 34/70 or S189 for lagers, both dry yeast and 1 pack for an ale and 2 packs or a starter(do a search, google/you tube) for lagers.
You can get into liquid yeasts down the track.
3. Put some bottles of cooled boiled water in the fridge the day before you do up a batch and use that to get temp down. You want to be at pitch temps
before adding your yeasts. Ales 18-20c, lagers 9-13c.
4. Adding hops and grain are your next steps. Again plenty of info on here to help you out.
 

givemeamash

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+1 for adding the hops and grain. To keep it really simple just throw some extra hops in the fermenter, then build up to a mini boil and partials mashes over the next couple, next thing you know you will be riding the grain train!!!
 

cremmerson

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Thanks for asking the question, Newts.

Similar situation (my first brew bottle opens tomorrow night) and am looking at how I can start doing different things for brew number three. Just scared of searching for "hops" or "first time hops" on the forum...
 

Newts

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No prob cremmerson, if you look at when I posted this it was on the 7th of Feb and it took me this long to finally put an order through for the hops that I want for extract brewing! Every time I think I know what I need there's more to take in.

I've learnt a heap from this forum and I haven't had any problems with asking any question. If you ask a question on this forum people are generally friendly and will point you in the right direction (even if it is another source) so don't be afraid to ask.

Hope your new found hobby is working out for you.

Cheers,

Newts
 

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