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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2003 * September 15, 2003 * Survey: if I knew then what I know now. < Previous Next >

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Jonathan Henderson (4.72.104.6)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 08:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In order the tap the accumulated wisdom of this board:
What is the most important thing(s) you wish you would have known earlier when you were just beginning to brew? (procedure, equiptment, etc.)

I think I would have begun kegging sooner and would not have been as impatient to start drinking the beer. I try to have several beers going at the same time at various stages to prevent ever drinking a "green" beer again.
-Jonathan
 

Dan Mourglea (152.30.60.137)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 09:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

yeah, the patience part is hard, especially since in the beginning you don't have any homebrew to drink and you are waiting to see if you "done good." I still don't ever see myself doing anything that needs to be aged for more than a couple months (although some of the ones that I drink might benefit from it) because I hate waiting--even when I have 4 on tap already.

Also, I know it's nerdy, but the best way to start out is to sit and conceptualize the process actually writing out numbered steps how you are going to procede (with temps and times written down) because as a newb its easy to get into the middle of it and kinda get harried/stressed and forget exactly where you are.
 

don price (65.32.41.81)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 10:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fermentation temperature control.

Don
 

chumley (216.161.217.100)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 10:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That iodine tests are a waste of time.
Ooh la la.
 

Travis Adams (12.225.188.99)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 10:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is no such thing as too big a pot...
Travis
 

Belly Buster Bob (142.177.105.219)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 11:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

always have a spare propane tank "full"
 

Dan Mossman (171.75.169.118)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 11:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would say after brewing nearly 30 batches (of extract) that all grain isn't quite as difficult as I thought. Of course, I've only done a few so far, but all the process _really_ involves is soaking a bunch of grain and then rinsing it. What it boils down to (yuk-yuk) is that it isn't rocket science. . . unless you want it to be.

---Brew it up!
-Dan
 

Dan Mossman (171.75.169.118)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 12:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh yeah,
I second what BBB, Travis, Chumley (most of the time), Don and Dan said. I haven't kegged yet, but considering that I have 15 gallons in carboys begging to be tapped I think that the time is nearly here!

---Brew it up!
-Dan
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 07:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

bigger vessels = better...

Walt
----
 

Craig Johnson (198.81.26.42)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have learned that:

1. the little (and sometimes large) screwups in my brewing process will not irreparably damage my beer in the end.

2. RDWHAHB

3. There are enough people interested in the technical aspects of brewing that are willing to share their knowledge so I don't have to do my own experiments.

4. brewing is an art not a science at our level.

5. Sometimes there is nothing better than a Coors Light from a can. (I am currently digging trenches,by hand, in my backyard for an irrigation system)
 

Kenny Reed (67.248.200.23)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 01:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ditto what Don said,

"Ferm. Temp. Control"
 

Dave Witt (205.188.208.73)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 01:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Many of my beers would have been better when I started had I known the mantra--pitch a large amount of healthy yeast and aerate the crap out of it.
 

Mike Mayer (152.163.252.67)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 03:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Whatever batch size you think you need right now....double it! And forget about bottles, they are a pain in the...

Mike
Cleveland, OH
 

danno (209.180.170.25)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 03:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm with Dave. Pitch big and Oygenate!
 

Andrew Leach (199.182.46.139)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wort chiller! I just can't see brewing without one.
 

PalerThanAle (65.168.73.62)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 12:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Don't ever ask if you are a dork, because the answer will undoubtedly be yes.

PTA
 

Beerboy (81.134.85.22)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 01:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can't use to many hops. Time works wonders when you have ;)
 

Brandon Dachel (63.238.222.190)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 03:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you think something is wrong with your beer wait at least a week before you do anything. If it's majorly hosed there isn't much you can do to fix it and especially if you are inexperienced at brewing there is a greater tendancy to 'imagine' problems and start trying all kinds of 'solutions'.
 

Greg Brewer (12.107.171.4)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 04:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Liquid yeast in big starters.
 

Denny Conn (63.114.138.2)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 04:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Every batch will be a little different..don't worry if it doesn't look or smell like the last one. Watch carefully and learn to "read" your beer. Don't be afraid to open the fermenter for samples or gravity readings.
 

Magnus Graham (148.177.161.211)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 04:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lots of air at the start,
No air at the end.

Infection is very difficult (in bucket and syphon brewing).

Grain is easy.


Mag
 

Alan Chambless (209.157.66.2)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 07:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another vote for fermentation temperature control. It used to amaze me how different the same recipe would taste until I understood that yeast fermenting at 80 in the summer produced very different flavor than the same yeast fermenting at 62 in the winter. Another mystery solved by knowledge!
 

Dave Witt (205.188.208.73)
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 10:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Beerboy, better to over hop and wait, than to underhop.
 

Michael (24.88.129.188)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 02:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

>>>What is the most important thing(s) you wish you would have known earlier when you were just beginning ...>>>>

Let's see...

- GPA's don't mean a whole lot 20 years down the road.

- Sludge ponds are really not the best place to get pet turtles.

- My parents were actually right.

- If she had every school picture taken while wearing a tiara, run....run very, very fast.

But, I digress...

- It's only beer. Enjoy the hobby and experiment.

- All grain rules. Don't be intimidated and make the leap. Don't let anyone tell you that you need a totally automated RIMMER system to make world class beer. It just ain't so if you have the basics down.

- Balance. It IS only beer, but man, can the pounds add up quick. I had to find a balance between beer, exercise, diet...it's all lifestyle, and all good.

Cheers.
 

Jeff Sherer (172.145.91.2)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 03:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Great topic.

1) Not only is mashing much easier than it's made out to be, it's FUN.

2) No-rinse cleaners rock. Recently switched from bleach after about 40 batches. It's not really the no-rinse that is so cool, it's the short short short contact time. So I can drop sanitized stuff on the floor (as I am so apt to do, even though I almost never drink when I am brewing) and it won't throw off my whole schedule.

3) Along the same lines as #1, Dan Listermann's "Wanna Mash?" booklet has a great quote. I'm paraphrasing, but it goes something like "You can study your whole life and not know everything there is to know about mashing. Or you can follow a few simple steps and basically get the same results." To me, this pretty much sums up homebrewing.

I wonder what my list will be like in 10 years...

Jeff
 

Beer_Lifter (66.75.143.228)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 05:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The jump to all-grain is much less painful than people make it out to be. I wish I had made the jump sooner.

You can make great beer with dry yeast. Liquid yeast has some great adevantages, but if you don't have the ability to judge when you will have the opportunity to brew, there are many fine dry yeasts available.

Use that anti-foam stuff when making big beers. I've been using it for less than a year - it is cheap, and it has been a godsend.
 

Todd Metcalf (129.42.208.186)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 01:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would have to say when I stopped using bleach and started using a on rinse sanitizer. Even with the proper deluting of bleach, I still wasted tons of time & water rinsing, trying to get the bleach all out.

The other thing is liquid yeast with starters. Bigger is better, but you need to give the yeast at least a little starter.

Lastly, using a cooler for a mash-tun. My first attempts at all grain where using a big pot and dumping it into a double bucket. Not only was this messy, but I had troubles maintaining temperatures for an hour. The cooler made mashing all grain like a Ronco Rotisserie, "just set it and forget it"
 

tranquil_liza (68.42.12.17)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 10:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"tons of water rinsing trying to get the bleach out"?? did you use the whole gallon??

i use bleach on everything except the kegging pieces. for that, i use iodofor.

i rinse my carboy for about 20-30 seconds. i'm rinsing a carboy....i'm not watering my lawn.
 

Ray Danen (143.183.121.2)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 11:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Glass is the way to go!
Idophor is easy!
Promash makes all grain even more enjoyable!
Refractometers save beer!!!
 

Ian Forbes (64.252.8.238)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

...don't bother with extract. Start with all grain. The beer you make will thank you.
 

Robert R. Heinlein (205.188.208.73)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 02:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Always keep a spare yeast culture on hand for brew day. Prepare for a mishap.

(who dropped their starter on the floor when trying to pitch?)
 

Todd Metcalf (129.42.208.186)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

liza,

When I used bleach it was only a small amount. The HB store that I used when starting told me to rinse the carboy until I had no more bleach smell (and I was not using some flowery sented bleach, just the cheap stuff). Perhaps it was the soft water, I don't know it was a long time ago... but it took forever rinsing the stuff out to get rid of the smell. Perhaps the ratio of water/bleach that the store told me was a little stronger than was needed (it still was only a little bleach).

I guess this is a good example of your resaults may vary (I couldn't remember the forum's acronym for it).
 

Dave Aronoff (141.214.71.70)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 05:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wort chiller.
Fermentation temperature control = important.
 

LouisianaGeorge (134.163.253.126)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 05:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The most important thing I've learned in all my hobbies is when choosing between methods for doing something try the simplest first. People will tell you to do these elaborate things that may not make enough difference to you to justify the extra effort. For instance, when my wife makes the dough by hand, her pizza tastes a little better than when she uses the bread machine, but the difference is small enough that she only does a hand-made dough once or twice a year.
 

Belly Buster Bob (142.177.7.179)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

that was me that dropped the starter in my driveway (gravel) Thanks for reminding me.
 

Chris Testerman (199.168.32.6)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brew clubs are a great way to learn about homebrewing.
Don't be afraid to experiment, it might be the best thing you have ever made.
If you want to be a good homebrewer, be a good husband.
 

Bill Aimonetti (143.183.121.2)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I always kicked myself for not being smart enough to figure out that despite instructions the priming sugar can be added to the batch rather than each bottle. In those days everybody I knew said to add it to each bottle. I thought I was clever by using a triple beam and weighing each bottle dose to get even carbonation then (several years later) the idea of using a bottling bucket and adding the priming solution to the batch was introduced by some genius. I felt like such a dumbass. By that time I was kegging so I couldn't take advantage of the "new technology". Does anyone know who came up with this brilliant idea?
 

Connie (12.91.250.49)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I jumped right in after my sister inlaw gave me a Mr Beer type kit. 66 extract batches followed while accumulating a vast awray of equipment. I bought the super immerson chiller from BBB. Used a large stock pot on top of the stove, etc..etc. Later I bought a MaxiChiller (CFC) rendering the immerson chiller useless (for me). I bought a 10 inch SS false bottom from BBB, a hard plastic FB for a Gott cooler, and later I bought the Sabco full width FB(I use a homemade manifold in a Gott cooler). I bought several sanke kegs (not all at once) and had SS full couplings tig welded in at $35 each. built a copper tubing heat exchanger into a keg with several tig welds $$$$, never got the hang of that and don't use it. Pump, tubing, fittings, a dozen or more carboys and 25 kegs of various sizes.....bottom line is I'd try to think this through a little better so I wouldn't wind up with so much extra equipment and I'd skip the extract or go into all grain as quickly as possible.
 

chumley (199.92.192.126)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow, Bill, you must have been brewing a long time. Charlie P. had the 3/4 cup sugar in 5 gallons back in the Complete Joy of Homebrewing back in the 1980s, which is from what I learned to brew from.
 

Bill Aimonetti (143.183.121.2)
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 11:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah Chumley, that was in the early-mid 80s, I was priming bottles in 86 - 87 though. When did Charlie publish the bottling bucket idea? I will feel even more stupid if I was doing it after it was out. I will never forget some of those unpredictable cidery gushers in Grolsch bottles. Quality ingredients didn't exist in NM then. The LBHS displayed baggies of loose brown hops on the shelves and swore by EDME dry yeast. Things have really come a long way in what seems like a short time.
 

Chris Colby (66.25.197.116)
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 12:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If I could go back in time and protect John Connor from the Terminator . . . er, I mean, talk to myself about brewing, I'd say:

1.) It's all about the yeast; everything else is secondary. Pitch enough yeast, aerate the wort well and control the fermentation temperature.

2.) Jump straight to all-grain; it's not that difficult. (If not, at least come up with a way to do a full-wort boil.)

3.) For the love of god, get a kegging system.


Chris Colby
Bastrop, TX

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