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FedoraDave

Here's a little protocol for asking questions

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I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds, but since this is a forum dedicated to helping new brewers make the best beer they can, as well as trouble-shoot some persistent issues, I thought I'd start this thread for the new brewers among us.

This isn't to chastise anyone for asking questions. We're all about asking questions, but some of us more experienced brewers have noticed a lack of specificity when a newbie asks for help. So this is just an attempt on my part (on behalf of everyone who is genuinely interested in helping answer questions) to establish some basic protocols.

See, it doesn't do much good to start a thread that just says, "My beer tastes bad! Help!" What usually happens in these cases is that someone wants to help, but has to ask a few probing questions of his own in order to try to pin it down.

So. A few things to keep in mind that will help us help you:

1) Tell us what recipe you made.

2) Tell us what procedures you followed.

3) Tell us if you "tweaked" the recipe at all. The addition of a simple adjunct can radically alter the finished product. If you added anything, tell us how much, and again, what procedures you followed.

4) Tell us your temperature at the time you pitched the yeast.

5) Tell us how long you fermented it, and at what temperature.

6) Tell us how long you let it condition. A lot of "bad" beer is really just green, and you let your eagerness override your patience. It happens to everyone.

7) Try to be as specific as possible when detailing what's "wrong" with your beer. Is there an off-flavor or aroma? If so, describe it. A green-apple flavor means one possible glitch. A Band-Aid flavor means a different glitch. Tasting "bad" or "funny" doesn't really tell us anything, but specific tastes do.

Please understand that these aren't meant to be hard and fast rules that dictate your questions. But keeping them in mind will help us answer your questions, and it will also make you a more aware brewer. Taking notes on all your brews will improve your technique, your awareness, and ultimately, your beer.

We're all here to help each other solve problems and improve the beer we make, so let's all work together. Thanks!

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thanks dave i have only posted a few times but from everything i have read on the borg those are great guidelines cheers

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Nice post, Dave. I hope you don't mind if I add a couple of comments.

When you tell us your fermentation temperatures, tell us whether the temperatures are from a temperature strip on the fermenter or the ambient room temperature.

If you're making a recipe from the site, please either include a link to the recipe or paste the recipe into the post.

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Dear Dave. My beer tastes yukkie. It was in a blue bottle, and I found it at Wal*Mart at the check out stand. It was about 38*F, and when I twisted the cap off, it spit at me. I had no choice but to defend myself. I slapped it around and dumped it in a glass. It had a ugly smell, and tasted like crap. It went flat as soon as I dumped it in the glass.
What can I do?

...Remember those type questions? :P

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yankeedag wrote:

Dear Dave. My beer tastes yukkie. It was in a blue bottle, and I found it at Wal*Mart at the check out stand. It was about 38*F, and when I twisted the cap off, it spit at me. I had no choice but to defend myself. I slapped it around and dumped it in a glass. It had a ugly smell, and tasted like crap. It went flat as soon as I dumped it in the glass.
What can I do?

...Remember those type questions? :P

Dear Mr Nong,
Stop buying beer at Wal*Mart! :laugh:

Good post Dave, it will help alot of people.

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I think we should get this set as a stickie. Anybody know the process for that?

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All of us should, and can, search not just this site, but all over the internet and "find answers"....but no matter how much we advise this, you know that people will still just come on in and pound a question.....I do that, although I try not to ask "standard" questions.

On the other side, the veterans should understand this and be patient. I would think that the more time passes, the more repetition you'll see. It can be tamed....but probably never eliminated.

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I have to say as still a new guy on here.As stupid as my questions have been over the last couple of months all of you have had some great advice and patience with us thanks! :cheer:

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Thanx Dave. Those suggestions will help a FNG like me ask more intelligent questions that will help all of you experienced folks not want to drop kick your computer. I may copy and paste this elsewhere so I can reference it when I'm in a panic.

Cheers
Jeff :evil:

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Fee wrote:

All of us should, and can, search not just this site, but all over the internet and "find answers"....but no matter how much we advise this, you know that people will still just come on in and pound a question.....I do that, although I try not to ask "standard" questions.

On the other side, the veterans should understand this and be patient. I would think that the more time passes, the more repetition you'll see. It can be tamed....but probably never eliminated.

I don't think Dave was trying to discourage anybody from asking questions or to tell them to search for answers before asking. I think he was just trying to encourage people to provide enough information so that their questions can be answered.

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I agree that this should be set as a sticky.

I think just about every newbie comes here and pokes around a bit before asking his question, so if this is right at the top of this topic, there's a good chance they'll read it before asking their question and then provide the proper information.

I know that I would have never thought to include information like fermentation temp, ambient room temp, pitching temp, etc in my first few questions on here!

I think this is a great guideline for us less experienced brewers to go by, so lets get this stuck to the top of the page!

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bpgreen wrote:

Fee wrote:

All of us should, and can, search not just this site, but all over the internet and "find answers"....but no matter how much we advise this, you know that people will still just come on in and pound a question.....I do that, although I try not to ask "standard" questions.

On the other side, the veterans should understand this and be patient. I would think that the more time passes, the more repetition you'll see. It can be tamed....but probably never eliminated.

I don't think Dave was trying to discourage anybody from asking questions or to tell them to search for answers before asking. I think he was just trying to encourage people to provide enough information so that their questions can be answered.

This is it, exactly. We want to answer questions and solve problems! That's what this community is for! But sometimes there's a delay in getting to the root of a problem if there's a lot of back-and-forthing between the OP and whoever is trying to help. Often, it's the same information that's lacking, which is what prompted me to start this thread.

Searching for answers here and elsewhere is always encouraged, but I think it's wise for anyone, new or experienced, to provide as much background as possible if they're asking a question, so the answers will be just as specific and to the point. The issue isn't a lack of patience on the part of the "veterans"; it's more a matter of new brewers not specifying what, exactly, they're asking.

I know it won't be eliminated completely, but if it helps even a couple of people get their answers more quickly, and learn to become better brewers, then it's worth it.

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FedoraDave wrote:

bpgreen wrote:

Fee wrote:

All of us should, and can, search not just this site, but all over the internet and "find answers"....but no matter how much we advise this, you know that people will still just come on in and pound a question.....I do that, although I try not to ask "standard" questions.

On the other side, the veterans should understand this and be patient. I would think that the more time passes, the more repetition you'll see. It can be tamed....but probably never eliminated.

I don't think Dave was trying to discourage anybody from asking questions or to tell them to search for answers before asking. I think he was just trying to encourage people to provide enough information so that their questions can be answered.

This is it, exactly. We want to answer questions and solve problems! That's what this community is for! But sometimes there's a delay in getting to the root of a problem if there's a lot of back-and-forthing between the OP and whoever is trying to help. Often, it's the same information that's lacking, which is what prompted me to start this thread.

Searching for answers here and elsewhere is always encouraged, but I think it's wise for anyone, new or experienced, to provide as much background as possible if they're asking a question, so the answers will be just as specific and to the point. The issue isn't a lack of patience on the part of the "veterans"; it's more a matter of new brewers not specifying what, exactly, they're asking.

I know it won't be eliminated completely, but if it helps even a couple of people get their answers more quickly, and learn to become better brewers, then it's worth it.

+1

These guidelines are also something new brewers should keep in mind when taking brewing notes and deciding what to record. I recently went back over all of my notes from all of my batches and my most recent brews have the most detailed notes, with some of the earliest ones having alot missing that I know consider vital to record. I also noticed that one of my older batches that had an off flavor, could possibly have been caused by an issue I learned about later (having to do with mash temperatures), but I did not even record the mash temp and so can not be certain if that was the cause or not.

So bottom line, if you want to make great beer, take great notes. It will help you repeat the process later and also identify potential issues either on your own or with the help of community experts.

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bpgreen wrote:

Anybody know how to request herring his made into a sticky?

I don't know a lot about seafood, but I don't think I'd want my herring to be sticky. Flaky is generally what I'm shooting for... :huh:;)

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swenocha wrote:

bpgreen wrote:

Anybody know how to request herring his made into a sticky?

I don't know a lot about seafood, but I don't think I'd want my herring to be sticky. Flaky is generally what I'm shooting for... :huh:;)

That's what I get for not proof reading when I post from my tablet.

I think I meant to say "having this" instead of "herring his"

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+1 Nice post! Something else that is lacking is a brief:

1. Mix
2. Ferment
3. Bottle (prime)
4. Carbonate
5. Condition
6. Chill
7. Drink

Maybe a glossary with OG, FG, UME, HME, etc.

Elkhorn

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bpgreen wrote:

I think we should get this set as a stickie. Anybody know the process for that?

+1 BPgreen!!

Dave, Being still fairly new, with two brews under my belt, I have tried to make it more of a habit to read and help others just starting than to ask questions. I have had my fair share as well though and you as well as the other vets, such as BPgreen, swen, Yankeedag to list only a few (sorry to the others who I may have not mentioned but didn't forget), have come storming to the rescue. Without this forum, I don't think I would have purchased an LBK and had the pleasure of enjoying a home brew, even though I have wanted to for years. Thanks for everything you all do and the incessant answering of questions.

Now that this protocol was laid out it will be much easier to read and learn as well as "diagnose" issues. I can't wait to see this as a sticky as well as see if we can all come together and stick to it for the better understanding of all!

:cheers:

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We don't mind answering questions and trying to solve problems. It was/is done when we had/have questions of our own.

My intent was to help people with questions frame those questions in a way that will produce answers, rather than more questions. It's frustrating for everyone if more probing has to be done to try to nail down a problem that hasn't been put into some kind of context.

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Dave has done a pretty good job here, as he normally does. This type of stuff is why I started the "Simple Guide Line". It's note worthy (only to me) that it was to put new brewers on the general path we all travel. Dave, again, raised valid points. We DO enjoy helping others, and we do enjoy a good home brew.
I am guessing that when it comes to the SGL, people see that it's way too long a novel, and skip on in search of their question. And, if not found, they come and ask here. It happens. We know it. We don't mind. So, if you've questions about brewing, here we are.

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