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Hello mates - where should I start?

Discussion in 'Welcome!' started by Ichindar, 28/11/18.

 

  1. Ichindar

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    Posted 28/11/18
    I've always wanted to do my own brewing - if for no other reason its cheaper than buying the stuff at the store - but mainly because I find the brewing interesting.

    I'm from South Australia (quite literally I am on the arse end of the Murray River). I am mainly interested in brewing beers but must admit a spot of wine making every now and then would be fun too.

    I am very new to this and look forward to learning!
     
  2. Bobski

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    Posted 3/1/19
    Hey there,

    Where to start? That is a big question and depends on your current knowledge, (IMO). I started out knowing nothing and was fortunate enough to find a homebrew club in my local area. Prior to this, (ten years earlier), I brewed beer from a tin and left it in my shed in Central Queensland. Put me off brewing for years.

    Mid 2017, I was invited to a brew night where three members of the club brewed on three very different and mostly homemade systems, it was my first introduction to all grain brewing and it blew my mind. I had no idea how complex it was, (first-time impressions).

    I had already purchased a starter kit from mangrove jacks, so the next thing i did was get a fridge off facebook, luck has it, I found a giveaway! I ordered a temp controller from ebay and I was ready to roll. The first beer was okay, drinkable but not memorable. Then I started adding hops to malt extract and fermented that with a tin of coopers. This was groundbreaking for me. All the while I was thinking about all grain which was my ultimate goal.

    Nine months later I bit the bullet and ordered a Robobrew from KegLand. Best thing I ever did. I then ordered a heap of grain to get me started, a mate down the road had a mill. Instantly my first brew was a thousand times better and now I experiment and research to plan my next brew. Fast forward to today and I am pretty comfortable with my brewing technique and system and no longer see it as complex as I used to

    Three most important things I was taught early on:
    1. Temperature control is an essential part of homebrew. Yeast performs best when the temperature is controlled. Different temps means the yeast can throw off different flavours and aromas, (esters). Better brewers than me will vary the temp based on the esters they want in their beers depending on the style.
    2. Sanitisation is just as important as temp control. If things are not clean and sanitised properly, you run the risk of introducing unwanted bacteria that will negatively affect your beer.
    3. If you use kits, don't use the yeast that comes with it. The yeast in the kits have been in all sorts of temperatures and this can dramatically affect your beer. It is always better to buy yeast that has been kept in a fridge, longer shelf life and also better for your beer. Click here to read some information about storage etc of yeast.

    My thoughts on the process of getting started:
    1. It is a really steep learning curve. It is a hobby where you will never stop learning. You will also make mistakes and screw things up, but this is an opportunity for learning. My head was swimming with all the new vocabulary I was learning and I'm really glad I didn't jump straight into all grain, I think I may have given up due to my lack of understanding.
    2. I love the social side of it. Yesterday I brewed at a mate's place and we spent the day talking brewing and other stuff but mostly brewing and beer. I recently divorced and it helped me become social again.
    3. It's addictive. I am not completely obsessed but pretty close. I use a fair bit of my spare time looking up beer related topics and products which leads to the next point:
    4. It can also be expensive but take your time, it's not a race, it's a lifetime hobby and there will always be something new around the corner that you'll want to buy.

    I hope this reply helps you find a place to start. Look on facebook (or shout out on this forum), to see if you can find a local home brew club and go to a meet or brew session. Local home brew shops, (LHBS), are mostly very helpful in my experience, look one up in your local area. Finally even visit a local brewey if there is one and ask around to see if there is a club or other people that may be able to help you get started. The world of brewing is a 99% friendly and open community.

    Good luck brother!
     
  3. timmi9191

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    Posted 4/1/19
    Do lots of reading.
    Start on kits
    Move to kits and bits
    Try an extract brew or 2
    Stove top biab
    Full grain.
     
    Barry likes this.
  4. DU99

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    Posted 4/1/19
    You tube video's can be helpful
     
  5. Doctor Jay

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    Posted 13/1/19 at 2:52 AM
    I agree with most of the above, however I replaced the kit part of brewing with using a wort kit from a local brewery (you can get them from local home brew stores).

    The main reason I did this was:

    1. Using wort produces a better product than using extract kits, IMO anyway.

    2. It doesn’t require any extra equipment than what you require for AG brewing (fermenter, sanitiser and bottles which generally come in the starter kits.)

    3. It allows you to understand and build your knowledge around fermentation.

    4. It produces great beer!

    This isn’t necessarily something for long term brewing, as kit brewing is cheaper, but if it’s a stepping stone to AG brewing.
     
    krz, Barry, Bobski and 1 other person like this.
  6. awfulknauful

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    Posted 13/1/19 at 3:27 AM
    I started with a couple of can kits, decided I wanted something more, got myself a RSVB (Guten) after reading the whole Guten thread. Thought it was going to be easy, but it wasn't as easy as I had read, as I have become more confident and competent it is becoming easier with every brew.
    I love a stout, reading about salt additions, hot steeping and cold steeping of grains, certainly loads to learn but even that becomes addictive, the thirst for brewing knowledge.
     
  7. TwoCrows

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    Posted 13/1/19 at 3:34 AM
    The Doctor Jay is in the house......

    Fresh wort kits for around $45 and some yeast , some dry hops. You will get the all grain experience. Add a fridge and temp control , now you are getting there.
    Bottle or keg, keg would be better. put your money on temp control and kegging, best start to great beer. My $0.02

    Brew your own AG later if you are still interested and time savvy.

    Still one of the best summer beers was a saison fresh wort kit and Belgium yeast , great for warm temp fermenting.
     
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  8. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 13/1/19 at 7:08 AM
    The best advice I could give is, never, never, ever throw the towel in, it seems hard but perseverance will pay off. Sometimes it may seem difficult but hang in there and it becomes easy, so much so that it becomes a second nature, read as much as possible and take it all in.
     
    Woong, Barry, Bobski and 1 other person like this.
  9. Kev R

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    Posted 13/1/19 at 9:52 AM
    Read the Palmer book how to brew it's free on the net.
    DON'T read the instructions under the lid of a kit
    DON'T use the yeast under the lid a kit
    As Bobski said, temp control of fermentation made the biggest improvement to my brewing. You can pick up a fridge on gumtree for <$100. There are pre made temp controllers avalible from some of the sponsors or if your handy with electrics make your own with a STC
     
    Barry likes this.
  10. Bobski

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    Posted 13/1/19 at 11:44 PM
    I'd add to this by saying look at infections or major stuff ups, (they will happen), as learning opportunities. I backtracked on my last infection and found where I most likely stuffed up, hopefully, I'll never make that mistake again.
     
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  11. krz

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    Posted 14/1/19 at 11:09 AM
    He's already thrown the towel in, no response since his original post. He must have had one to many the night he made that post!
     
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  12. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 15/1/19 at 5:44 AM
    I don't like towel throwers, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is busy on a wine making forum. :)
     
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  13. Fem.ale_brewing

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    Posted 15/1/19 at 6:31 PM
    Never mind towel throwing. Reading all the replies has helped me, at least! I only started brewing late last year and seems I’m on the right track...

    Started with an unplanned purchase of a Coopers kit and luckily the weather was still cool enough to keep the brew from overheating. After trying this and finding the beer pretty average, I found my LHBS and purchased a temp controller and the Mangrove Jacks microbrewery kit. As soon as I got home, I dragged a second-hand fridge up onto the deck and brewed a wort cube straight up. Turns out the fermenter needed a bit more cleaning and that brew was rubbish. It was around this point that I joined the brewing club in our area along with my partner to make friends with people who could impart their experience and knowledge.

    Next brew was the the extract that came with the kit and additional dry hops - this brew was put into glass bottles and enjoyed by many friends! Success was sweet :)

    Onto the fourth brew now, which is a cube from a brewery in town. Pretty keep to look into all grain but feel that this won’t happen for another six months or more.

    Anyway, that’s how I started. I think learning one or more new things to improve on each brew keeps you coming back. The process is interesting and waiting for the result is like waiting for Christmas! It’s a lot of fun and sharing the end product was one of the best parts, IMO.
     
  14. Mit

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    Posted 15/1/19 at 8:33 PM
    Another newbie in the house here...I have been brewing from can kits, with one mediocre coopers clone and one not-terrible ginger beer under my belt. I do have a dedicated fridge with temp control though, so got that going for me. This is the first time I've heard someone say to not use the yeast that comes with a kit. It's a bit hard for me to get yeast where I live in regional NW QLD, the LHBS is first and foremost the bookshop with a small selection of kits and equipment tucked in the corner. Do you think it's easiest to buy yeast online somewhere? Or is that even risky considering how far it would likely have to travel (along with how bloody hot it is up my way)?
     

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