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17

You can make beer from kits that are better than just drinkable as a newbie. Especially, when you continue to consult websites like this and others to get research and questions answered about how to do this or do that. For the newbie using a kit their are two areas to focus on that will give you great beer. Sanitation. You hear it over and over because ...


16

AFAIK, there are no benefits. They're all basically the same. Brewing sugar is corn sugar and while there may be chemical differences between it and other types of sugar, the end result in your beer will be indistinguishable. Sugars like piloncillo or demarara can add a bit of flavor, but the result of adding corn, cane, beet, or brown sugar are pretty ...


11

Skip the Mr. Beer kind of kits and go to a local Home Brew Supply shop. They'll sell you a brew kit for $75-$140 depending on how nice you want it. My local place had a deal for a while where you got your first recipe either free or deeply discounted when you bought a full kit, so that was nice. The actual kit you need isn't all that important, believe it or ...


10

Neither of those... The next purchase to making better beer is a thermostat controller and a fridge. The controller you can get at your LHBS or at an online shop. Then cruise craigslist for the fridge. You can get a fine chill in the sink with ice, like you already are doing (right!). A secondary isn't necessary really anyway. And several people make great ...


8

There are no concerns over going to a smaller batch size. 3 gallon carboys and buckets are easily found. Check out USplastics.com they have all sorts of funky food grade buckets and things. The other great thing about doing say 2.5 gallon batch is that you can start passing up on starters. Just pitch an entire tube of White labs and you are definitely ...


7

The shelf life of a recipe kit varies based on what type of ingredients come in the kit. Yeast- Liquid yeast should be used within 3 months of the production date for best results but can be viable for up to 6 months but a yeast starter is recommended for yeast that old. Dry yeast can be viable for up to 1 year if stored at room temp and even longer if ...


6

Yes. A simple base recipe to think about is just this: Base malt, 90-95%: For the alcohol ;-) Crystal malt, 5-10%: Add a little sweetness and malty, caramelly characteristic, but not too much! Hops: Some nice American hops based off of your preferred beers Yeast: American ale yeast, for a cleaner finish characteristic of American IPAs This is a very ...


5

You don't need a kit, just go to a homebrewing store and buy all the equipment, it's about $100 for all equipment etc. look here: What equipment do I need to buy to start making beer?


5

It's not the kits that suck, it's the instructions. Modern kits contain ingredients of MUCH higher quality than homebrewers used to have to deal with. If you buy your kit from a shop that has high turnover (morebeer and northernbrewer are pretty safe bets, I'd think) than you don't risk getting old extract. That being said - the instructions (and advice ...


5

You can brew a great batch of beer using tips that Brewchez mentions in his response. The only thing I'd mention about the John Bull kits, is that it's a "hopped extract", meaning the hop additions are already included in the syrup. If you try other (usually more expensive) ingredient kits, you'll generally find that you'll get unhopped extract with hops ...


5

Northern Brewer has 3 gallon carboys in both glass and plastic. And you can get 3 gallon kegs, as well. If you can halve all of the ingredients in a kit, I can't think of any problems with brewing that way. My concern would be trying to split a jug of LME into halves. You'd probably need a scale to do it accurately.


5

A very simple thing you might try, which doesn't require any further equipment at all, is "dry hopping". Depending on what you meant by your first beer not being "hoppy" enough, dry hopping might be the solution. Dry hopping will not add any bitterness, but it can add a great deal of wonderful hop aroma. If you currently rack from your primary fermenter ...


4

Brew UK are pretty good and have a range of starter kits such as the St Peter's Microbrewery kit. This will get you up and running. I got the Woodforde's Wherry kit to start off with (admittedly from a local home brew shop - it was a present from my wife). If you are going to go into bottling, I'd recommend a second fermentation bin with a tap and a little ...


4

To give more localised advice, there's a small Homebrew shop at the bottom of Widcombe Hill in Bath, if you ever happen to be in Bath (Their website is very unfinished, however). The other supplier I know of is the-home-brew-shop.co.uk, based near Farnborough, Hampshire, where I was on placement.


4

First, welcome to brewing! I would first urge to look around in your neighborhood to see if there's a local homebrew shop. They can help you with the equipment and knowledge to get started. But, if there isn't one around you, there are a couple of online homebrew shops that sell the equipment needed to get started. The three I've used in the past and ...


4

If you're doing 2.5 gallon boils, and then adding another 2.5 gallons of (say) 55F tap water, then you're final temperature will be around 133F - the mid point of 212 and 55. For ales, pitching temperature is recommended at 75F, so you'll need to leave the wort for a few hours to naturally cool, or submerse in an ice bath to accelerate the cooling. If ...


4

No, the brew is not ruined. It's actually quite a small amount of sugar, and that will have been fermented out now, assuming it was sitting at room temperature (at least 15°C/59°F) Simply add the same quantity of sugar again and bottle. One thing that may have happened with the delay is the beer may have picked up a yeast bite if it's still sitting ...


4

First of all, don't open the bucket if you can at all avoid it. I know this your first brew so you're excited, but in general you want to leave it alone. I don't touch my brews for 4 weeks unless dry-hopping (as in, I pitch yeast, close the bucket and don't look or think about it again for a month). Second--your beer is probably fine. The most vigorous ...


4

John Palmer's How to Brew or Charlie Papazian's New Complete Joy of Homebrewing are good beginner books. In terms of equipment, I suggest using the inventory from the lowest-tier kit sold by Midwest Supplies (currently $70) as a minimal shopping list, plus a 5-gallon kettle, plus a no-rinse sanitizer such as Star-San or Iodophor, and plus a ...


3

I've used it a couple of times. The alcohol boost is completely fermentable. Which means that it won't leave any sweetness behind. You could theoretically add several, but adding that much will create a lot of hot alcohols that will take a long time (6 months +) to mellow in the bottle. But in a single dose it does not really change the taste of your beer. ...


3

I can't speak to Midwest, but I know NB has some good recipe kits because I developed them for them. I can personally vouch for those.


3

Have a look at An Enthusiast's Guide to Homebrew Beers: Making Ales, Lagers and Unique Hybrid Styles by Sam Calagione, it's got a recipe for 60 Minute IPA in it, as well as another for Hopfather a 100 IBU IPA. The recipes are all extract brews, so you only need some way of boiling the extract with hops and you're set. I've made quite a few of the recipes ...


3

I would say a wort chiller and and auto-siphon both seem like excellent ideas. The chiller will save you a TON of time in the process, and the auto-siphon is good for sanitization and ease of use. Auto siphons are pretty cheap too, but the chiller might cost you a fair amount. As for the carboy, I usually don't rack to secondary, I just leave it in the ...


3

I agree with Denny, except that I can taste brown sugar, especially when used for priming. It is very subtle and mostly an aroma, but tastes slightly different from cane/beet/corn sugar. Same is true of honey; it mostly ferments out but leaves a subtle residual flavor. I like to use brown sugar on bottle or keg conditioned stouts (oatmeal, milk) and I like ...


3

If the wort you use is pre boiled (which it sounds like it is), about your only option is to dry hop it. That will give you aroma and a bit of hop flavor, but won't increase the bitterness. Wait until fermentation is finished, then add about an oz. of hops to the fermenter. If you want to keep it British style, use something like Goldings. If you want to ...


3

If you want to add hop bitterness, you can get hold of some dry malt extract (DME) from your local homebrew store. Boil it up with some water, say a gallon, and add 1-2oz of your desired bittering hop and boil for 45 minutes. Add this to the fermenter along with your other pre-boiled wort and top-up water. That will give you the extra hop bitterness you are ...


3

Changing the yeast should give you a noticeable improvement as well. Try some different strains, an English strain, American Strain, maybe a Belgian strain. You might find a yeast strain that you really like. Either way it will probably be a huge improvement over the yeast that's included with your kit.


3

No hands on experience on this kind of brew, but a few thoughts: You have a few options, add the ginger to the boil, to the primary fermenter or to the secondary fermenter (or if you don't have/use another fermenter, to the primary after the active fermentation is done). Each will most likely give different results, I would guess adding it to the boil may ...


3

Since you're going to be boiling the kit (either DME or LME - you still have to boil it) - I'd say just add those hops with 5 minutes left to boil then carry on as usual. Generally anything added within 15 minutes of flameout will contribute to aroma as the oils responsible won't be wholly lost - as they would be if you were to boil the same hops for 60 ...


3

In my experience, I haven't see any significant difference between stirring it vs just sprinkling it in. I've done it both ways and neither seem better than the other. Here is my thinking on why it shouldn't matter: Dry yeast is dormant and it takes time for it to rehydrate and become active. The amount of time it takes for it to rehydrate and become active ...



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