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Beginners Persistence - Simple steps to some better tasting beer

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CaptnToast

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Hey Guys .. just wanted to share my story as i went through the ups and downs of a Beginner brewer.

I'm still at the kit / extract stage of the experience but I've got them tasting pretty good now and something i wouldn't be afraid to share with friends.

That wasn't always the case and i was get some pretty mediocre results ... enough so that it made me want to give up and indeed i did for a couple of years.

So i wanted to share the simple (Cheap) things I found that took my extract brewing from disappointing to enjoyable. A common theme I found reading forums and YouTube was you can improve but you'll need to buy this or that and wanted to list the things i found helped the most and if i was starting again i would spend money on and would focus on.

These tips are imagining you have bought a basic brewing start kit and have made your first Kit and Kilo and being disappointed.

1) No rinse Sanitizer (Starsan etc) - Was a little more expensive that other Sanitizers but worth it. I used to use the cheaper cleaners / sanitizers but the double handling / rinsing was killing me and not making the process enjoyable. This will help with some of that pain

2) Bottling tree - Similar with the above trying to dry bottles on dish racks is no fun and this also helps you transport the bottles if your bottling location is separate from your kitchen. If your super flush get one of those bottle cleaners that squirt the solution in to the bottle and fits nicely on your bottle tree for extra convenience.

3) Yeast Nutrient - I was gob smacked the difference in fermenting ferocity and length after I added some Yeast Nutrient. The standard yeast always seemed to stop bubbling after 1 full day and i think the yeast never had a chance of finishing the job and would leave that 'homebrew' taste. Since using Yeast nutrient the ferment seems to really crack on for a good 3-5 days and seems to clean up after itself a lot better.

4) Bulk Priming - I had real carbonation issues using the drop lollies as they seemed to take forever to prime (if at all) most still got there but took ages. Using 150g - 180g of dextrose dissolved in 300-500 ml of water and then add this to a 2nd fermenter and rack your wort to this just before bottling. This was properly the biggest step financially to make as you need a racking cane & second fermenter.

5) Bottling and Squeeze - I only just stubbed on this on YouTube and had never seen it mentioned before. When filling your Plastic PET bottles as you are applying the lid squeeze the air out and seal. This prevents Oxygen from getting in to your bottles as much as possible. this along with Bulk priming has made a huge difference to final flavor and seems to get rid of alot of that 'Homebrew' taste

6) Temperature control - Where i live half the year its too warm to even consider brewing without a second fridge with a temp controller. This is a big step to invest in a temp controller and space for a second fridge but if you can this will help no end. Luckily i scored a old bar fridge and bought a STC 1000 off Ebay and made up the controller (was a fun project). Even wrapped the fridge with some wrap i had laying around from another project.

Now with above said and some of us brewing on a budget there are some purchases involved with above so take your time and work through them and hopefully you will get through the growing pains better than i did :)

These have been my Major learnings from my first 10 brews and only now feel i have the confidence to spend a bit more $ on my hobby and go after some more complex recipes and expand. It is a skill and needs honing so don't get disheartened as i did .. if your not getting the results keep researching and try something different in the way you go through your brew and bottling days and try and think ahead to ensure your ready and won't get flustered as you go through the process

Hope this helps someone who was borderline quitting cause they weren't getting the results they were hoping for.

Cheers Tim
 

razz

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Well said CaptnToast. A good read and some very valid points.
 
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Good write up. Its the disappointments which hopefully give one the impetus to do better, does for me, never throw the towel in, just keep learning where the mistakes are made and improve on them. No matter what you are trying to do.
 

Seuss

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Thanks.

My first beer was a disappointment so it's nice to hear all this from someone at your point in learning.

Just bottled a cider and about to attempt another beer. Fingers crossed.
 

Cloud Surfer

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What a great thread. I just bought a bottling tree and one of those auto bottle cleaners to go on top. At the same time, I took the carbonation cough drops I bought from the brew shop back for a credit and will do batch priming instead. That looks like a much better and more efficient way to carbonate.
 

elnoss

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Old thread I see, but I just wanted to add that having something like a bottle tree to dry your bottles upside down is a life saver.

For those of you on a budget, I use one of those flat bread crates they deliver loaves of bread in upside down, the holes are the perfect size for bottlenecks and they can fit more than enough bottles. Sadly before the lockdown in Melbourne I lent mine to a friend who lives outside of the lockdown (in country Vic), so recently I've been using two standard green milk crates, cutting out some of the floor, they function almost the same as the bread crates. Saves so much hassle! I don't know how I'd dry my bottles otherwise
 

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Hangover68

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You don't need a 2nd vessel for bulk priming, works just as well adding to the FV prior to bottling.
I cold crash then add the priming sugar then let sit for a few days to settle.
 

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