Noobie’s next steps

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SpeedySapper

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So my Mangrove Jack’s Pale Ale starter kit is in the bottles carbonating, and while waiting for the first taste, my reading of the forum seems to be all about grainfather, mashing, and kegging.

What are the next steps on the home brewers’ career path? Is it another kit in bottles, trying a keg, or a full on mash up?

What is the usual trajectory?
 

Shotgun07

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As someone new to home brewing myself I have thought of this. Watched a million and one YouTube videos, here is my train of thought. Do six months to a year of extract kit brews see if I enjoy the hobby long term. Then if I still love it look into upgrading my kit a couple of bits at a time. Other wise the outlay of $ to the time doing it is drastically in the $$ favour if I don’t enjoy it long term. Someone also suggested fresh wort kits to me, so I have given one of those a go. Hope that helps
 

Hangover68

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Dont rush into anything, as above stick to doing kits and see how it goes. Next step if you don't have it already is some kind of temperature control , an old fridge or freezer with an inkbird , STC1000 or similar controller.
 

SpeedySapper

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As someone new to home brewing myself I have thought of this. Watched a million and one YouTube videos, here is my train of thought. Do six months to a year of extract kit brews see if I enjoy the hobby long term. Then if I still love it look into upgrading my kit a couple of bits at a time. Other wise the outlay of $ to the time doing it is drastically in the $$ favour if I don’t enjoy it long term. Someone also suggested fresh wort kits to me, so I have given one of those a go. Hope that helps
Good plan.
 

SpeedySapper

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Dont rush into anything, as above stick to doing kits and see how it goes. Next step if you don't have it already is some kind of temperature control , an old fridge or freezer with an inkbird , STC1000 or similar controller.
Great thanks. Is the temperature control for bottled beer, or during the fermentation?
 

JDW81

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It all really depends on if you're a slow and steady or jump in at the deep end kind of person.

I did a few kits, (i.e. tins of extract) then moved on to fresh wort kits from Grain and Grape. Used this as an opportunity to try some different yeasts and experiment with dry hopping.

The things that will make the biggest improvement in your beer are good quality yeast, pitched at the right rate, temperature control and sanitisation.

All grain is great, but not essential to making high quality beer (some of the best home brews I've had are by FWK/extract brewers, who take care of the basics as well as anyone). If you can nail the yeast and temp control steps, then moving to all grain will be a breeze.

JD
 

Siborg

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Take your time, mate. I did 3-4 kit brews myself before experimenting with partial mashes and steeping specialty grains. Out of those, I'd say only 2 batches were drinkable. It's a great hobby once you get the hang of it, but there's no need to go into full all-grain mashing straight away. What I wish I knew for those early batches was how important temperature control for primary fermentation is. I was fermenting with yeast under the lid of the tin and 25-30 degrees and had no idea why it came out tasting like sour fruit salad. An old, but working fridge or freezer will be your best friend, coupled with a heating belt (depending on how cold the winters are in Auckland) and a digital temperature controller. If you get your fermentation temperatures right, 80% of the quest to make decent beer is done. Then, you can start experimenting with different ways of producing wort, including partial mashing, steeping specialty grains, trying new hop additions. Then, if you are that into it, you can invest (or start investing...it can be a bit of a black hole) in some all grain gear.
 

Siborg

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Oh yeah....fresh wort kits are also a great way to experiment with getting your fermentation (and sanitation!) techniques down pat.
 

philrob

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Good advice so far. I got into AG after only about 10 batches, and have always gone low tech, and still use my budget 3V system from 15 years ago.
The major things to make good beer is yeast quantity (the kit sachet is ridiculously undersized), and fermentation temperature control. I use an old fridge with a Tempmate controller.
The rest can follow at your own pace if that's what you want to do
 

Paddy

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My path started with a Mangrove Jacks kit then was quickly into kegging then pressure fermenting as a time saver mostly perfecting K&K, FWKs expanding my skills to cider, lagers, brown beers and loads of ales to suit my taste in yeasts, hops and the odd fruit ale. Now at 11 yrs I'm very tempted to step into AG setting up the new house with taps and circuits, collecting gear and discarding gear along the way to suit my approach. I pay a lot of attention to Gash and DH on the tube which has guided me well. Never tossed a brew yet, but did have a couple of shockers with Hop combos and artificial sweetners and punished myself by drinking them so I never forget those "good Ideas". Good luck on your own path of beer enlightenment!!
 

Pocco

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I think the hardest part is the waiting bud. I've just stepped into kegging and a pressure fermenter. There is so much time to read and watch clips while waiting on the beer to be ready. Then it's all drunk before you know it. I did 12months of bottling and enjoyed it. Now into another step. So much to learn along the way.
 

SpeedySapper

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It all really depends on if you're a slow and steady or jump in at the deep end kind of person.

I did a few kits, (i.e. tins of extract) then moved on to fresh wort kits from Grain and Grape. Used this as an opportunity to try some different yeasts and experiment with dry hopping.

The things that will make the biggest improvement in your beer are good quality yeast, pitched at the right rate, temperature control and sanitisation.

All grain is great, but not essential to making high quality beer (some of the best home brews I've had are by FWK/extract brewers, who take care of the basics as well as anyone). If you can nail the yeast and temp control steps, then moving to all grain will be a breeze.

JD
Thanks for the advice. I‘d usually jump straight in, but am mindful that the little things can easily trip you up, and experience helps to avoid pitfalls. (Must be an age thing…)

I brew in an under stair cupboard which is home to a hot water cylinder, so fermentation temperature stays around 21/22°C at this time of year. Would additional temperature control be beneficial?
 

philrob

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Would additional temperature control be beneficial?

Yup, even in Auckland, you'll appreciate it in summer. 21/22°C is about as high as I want my ales to go, but only after starting them at 18°C for the first 2 or 3 days. For lagers, you can't truly brew them without temperature control.
Having said that, I don't pressure ferment, nor use those fancy newly available yeasts which tolerate or prefer high temperatures.
 

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