Mannster

Last minute advice for first timer?

20 posts in this topic

Ok... so my wonderful wife bought me my kit for Christmas and I am looking to begin this week. I have been reading the great posts and have just one question...

 

other than observing the cleaning processes, sticking to the schedule, cold crashing and tilting the keg to minimize the trub in the bottles - what other major things should I be thinking of?

 

also, I am a huge fan of the flavor profile of Shiner Bock... is there a craft brew that someone would recommend that is similar?

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You got it.  Follow the basics and you'll do fine.  As far as the Shiner Bock, there are a few folks who may be able to suggest a recipe for you.

 

Welcome to the hobby and the forum!

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28 minutes ago, SilverBrewerWI said:

Keep reading and reading and reading and reading and between, brew and read and drink and read.  Did I mention keep reading?

Read Rick Beer's stuff first referenced in his posts.

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3 hours ago, Mannster said:

I have been reading the great posts and have just one question...

 

Only one? I thought I read two, but who's counting? LOL. Welcome to the habit and the forum.

1.) Take your time.

2.) Try to learn from your mistakes.

3.) Some mistakes are delicious.

4.) Control your temperatures and stay close to the low end. 

5.) Remind yourself daily, "Patience will reward you."

 

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One day, you will begin to experiment with partial mashes.  When that day comes, you can try this Shiner Bock clone:

 

Veilchen Bock

 

Mr. Beer Oktoberfest HME, 1.87 lb.

6-row, 0.5 lb.

Vienna, 0.5 lb.

Melanoidin malt, 0.17 lb.

Crystal 60, 0.17 lb.

Roasted barley, 0.06 lb.

Flaked corn, 0.25 lb.

Hersbrucker hops, 0.25 oz for 5 min.

Mangrove Jack's Bavarian Lager yeast (M76)

 

Mini-mash @ 150 ºF for 60 min.

20-30 min. boil -- no bittering needed for this one, so very short boil only.

 

OG was 1.045

 

Welcome to the hobby and good luck with your first brews!🍻

 

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for your first few kits, make them exactly as instructed. follow good sanitation practices. keep your temperatures around 64f for ale yeast (the yeast under the lid of mr beer kits is typically ale yeast). give your beer 3 weeks to fully ferment, bottle with the correct amount of sugar in the bottles.. make sure they are sanitized too!  then move the bottles to a place with 70f+ temps and leave them be for about 4 weeks. if you want to you can experiment. after 2 weeks try one. after another week try another. then another week try one. and watch how the flavors change with time (for the better!).  patience is your friend.

 

http://howtobrew.com/book/introduction

 

the above is a wonderful site full of brewing information and knowledge from a guy named Palmer. he is kind of a 'god' or icon of homebrewing. a lot of us got our first schooling on fermentation and brewing from his site.  learn all you can wherever you can and dont be in a hurry to get to advanced brewing. as mentioned above rickbeer has taglines in his signature block with quicklinks to very helpful info here too.

 

the bare bones mr beer kits still make good beer. the deluxe kits make better beer! over time you can add hop additions, different malts, steeping grains... to make even more betterer beer!  also dont make the newbie mistake of thinking more alcohol by volume makes better beer. we say here 'chase flavor, not abv.'  a common mistake for newbies is to think dumping 2 lbs of sugar into their wort will really really be super cool!!!! then they get disappointed when the beer comes out watery and tasting like crappy rocket fuel. dont blame mr beer.  another common mistake is to go all dr frankenstein without knowing what you are doing. hmmm... wonder if i dump in 8 oz of molasses, a can of tuna fish and throw in a couple fist fulls of barley, 6 oranges and some bubble gum if i can make a super cool beer??!!!  uh.. nope.  again, dont blame mr b.

 

so dont rush to over-complicate things.  build a base of knowledge... take your time to grow. have fun. ask tons of questions.  if at any time you find yourself thinking 'ya know? this is too much like work. its just not fun anymore...' then either go back to basics and simplify.. or find a different hobby. brewing should be fascinating, fun and never a chore.

 

welcome aboard.

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Welcome,

 

The fact that you already stated that you are doing the necessary research and now are seeking advice, you are on the right track to becoming a brewer.

As Zorak said, brew as the kit is intended for the first few brews, this will get your process down and let you correct your mistakes.  I would also suggest to let the first beer finish completely so you can taste the final product before starting a second batch.  That is the only way you can truly know if you made mistakes and need to change your process.

Here are my top 5 (in order of importance)

1.  Read and Listen - many forums out there as well as podcasts, educate yourself

1.  Clean - make sure everything is dirt free, you can't sanitize dirty equipment

1.  Sanitize - go above and beyond the recommended time on this step, if you are not sure it should be sanitized then it should be.

4.  Process - each time you brew make sure to have everything ready and follow the same process each time

5.  Temperature control - ferment at the lower end of the recommended temperature range for your yeast then allow the temperature to raise as fermentation slows down.

6.  Patience - brewing can seem to take forever to pay off but trust me the wait is well worth it. (yes I know this was 6)

 

Good luck, Welcome to the obsession we call brewing,

 

Big Dawg

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Being a somewhat new brewer myself, the biggest thing I can suggest is to ferment at the lower end of temp recommendation. Like around 62-65F for most recipes. 

I have taken to doing basic changes like swapping out the MrB yeast and and dry hopping... also, I have added varying amounts of LME or DME (just the light pale).

As others have said, patience is your friend. I find that some of the brews need to sit for quite a bit more than what your kit says. Atleast 2 months is good.

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1 hour ago, Cammanron said:

Being a somewhat new brewer myself, the biggest thing I can suggest is to ferment at the lower end of temp recommendation. Like around 62-65F for most recipes. 

I have taken to doing basic changes like swapping out the MrB yeast and and dry hopping... also, I have added varying amounts of LME or DME (just the light pale).

As others have said, patience is your friend. I find that some of the brews need to sit for quite a bit more than what your kit says. Atleast 2 months is good.

 

That's my experience, too.  The hoppier ones seem fine right at the minimum conditioning time; things like IPAs, obviously, and Witch's Flight, Columbus' Cascading Amber, etc.  Non-stout recipes that are more malt forward, however, seem to need more than the recommended time to come of age.  For example, I bottled Heavy McWee in early March of 2017.  The recommended carbonating + conditioning time is 3-4 months.  They were merely okay then; nothing to write home about.  After eight months in the bottle, though, and they've become a great beer.

When I first got back into brewing about 18 months ago, the thought of brewing beers and having to wait eight or nine months before enjoying them was horrifying.  :)  But now my pipeline is big enough so that I don't even think twice about it.  I even schedule brewing based on conditioning time; I'll alternate between one that needs a short time and one that'll be tucked away for a good long nap.

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I haven't done any partial mashes yet, but I will in the near future. I'm still conditioning 2 batches that are almost ready now, and I have some craft brews to play with before I get to start the partial mashes.

My LBS guy sorta looks down his nose at me every time I show up and ask him some advice about which hops would be a good recommendation with this or that HME.... and yeast combination (he knows i use MrB). He really knows his stuff, but I would look to go to another place if there was one anywhere close to conveniently near me.

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8 hours ago, Cammanron said:

I haven't done any partial mashes yet, but I will in the near future. I'm still conditioning 2 batches that are almost ready now, and I have some craft brews to play with before I get to start the partial mashes.

My LBS guy sorta looks down his nose at me every time I show up and ask him some advice about which hops would be a good recommendation with this or that HME.... and yeast combination (he knows i use MrB). He really knows his stuff, but I would look to go to another place if there was one anywhere close to conveniently near me.

The folks at my LBHS are really cool about MB kits. One of the employees even made MB years ago, and still has her LBKs. They sell non-MB kits, so I don't see how they could be judgemental anyway, it's still a kit. And especially since I told them MB offers partial mashes now. I think they were secretly impressed by that, lol. 

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19 minutes ago, epete28 said:

The folks at my LBHS are really cool about MB kits. One of the employees even made MB years ago, and still has her LBKs. They sell non-MB kits, so I don't see how they could be judgemental anyway, it's still a kit. And especially since I told them MB offers partial mashes now. I think they were secretly impressed by that, lol. 

At my local store, I drop them off a bottle now and again, so they know what I make is OK.

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13 minutes ago, Nickfixit said:

At my local store, I drop them off a bottle now and again, so they know what I make is OK.

They keep telling me to bring some. I may let them try my Thunder Bay IPA. Once a month they have a day where a bunch of the customers convene and share/make beer together. I'm never free to go, but sounds like a blast.

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my lhbs dude is cool. (i think he was a former hippy.) we talk about yeasts/malt/hops, he makes suggestions now and then...  i can ask advice or opinion..  dont much like his helper but he is cool.  he's very laid back and mellow.  always makes sure customers walk out  with what they need . if you are picking up an oddball hop like eldorado that can be really strong or have weird results if you abuse it.. he'll ask 'have you ever used (insert) before?' and give you pointers.

 

if you want to see if your lhbs is a butthead , snob or just ignorant... do take a bottle of your best homebrew and offer him a sample. dont  be shocked if he makes negative comments. just be sure to point out youre just starting out learning the craft and ask his 'expert' opinion on what you can do to make it better.. even if he is a butthead, stroking the ego often wins people over.

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4 hours ago, zorak1066 said:

my lhbs dude is cool. (i think he was a former hippy.) we talk about yeasts/malt/hops, he makes suggestions now and then...  i can ask advice or opinion..  dont much like his helper but he is cool.  he's very laid back and mellow.  always makes sure customers walk out  with what they need . if you are picking up an oddball hop like eldorado that can be really strong or have weird results if you abuse it.. he'll ask 'have you ever used (insert) before?' and give you pointers.

 

if you want to see if your lhbs is a butthead , sbob or just ignorant... do take a bottle of your best homebrew and offer him a sample. dont  be shocked if he makes negative comments. just be sure to point out youre just starting out learning the craft and ask his 'expert' opinion on what you can do to make it better.. even if he is a butthead, stroking the ego often wins people over.

Mine too gives me reviews. Has them in his phone so he does not forget. Also helps with suggestions on partial mash etc.

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10 hours ago, epete28 said:

They keep telling me to bring some. I may let them try my Thunder Bay IPA. Once a month they have a day where a bunch of the customers convene and share/make beer together. I'm never free to go, but sounds like a blast.

You could offer them some to review if they give you written report even if you don't go. Especially if one of them is a cert beer judge. 

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On 05/01/2018 at 5:11 AM, zorak1066 said:

my lhbs dude is cool. (i think he was a former hippy.) we talk about yeasts/malt/hops, he makes suggestions now and then...  i can ask advice or opinion..  dont much like his helper but he is cool.  he's very laid back and mellow.  always makes sure customers walk out  with what they need . if you are picking up an oddball hop like eldorado that can be really strong or have weird results if you abuse it.. he'll ask 'have you ever used (insert) before?' and give you pointers.

 

if you want to see if your lhbs is a butthead , snob or just ignorant... do take a bottle of your best homebrew and offer him a sample. dont  be shocked if he makes negative comments. just be sure to point out youre just starting out learning the craft and ask his 'expert' opinion on what you can do to make it better.. even if he is a butthead, stroking the ego often wins people over.

I thought about that, but to hell with him. I'm always nice and always buy several things whenever I show up. I'll keep my great beers for people who are nice. 

Maybe one day....l dunno.

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no harm in that. i'm that way too. for awhile i was sharing mine with a coworker who was interested in home brewing and loved beer. when he started getting like he couldnt be bothered talking with me about beer any more i stopped offering samples. more for me.

 

 

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