From the HBD Archive
From: m14051@mwvm.mitre.org (John DeCarlo)
Subject: Advice from a fellow neophyte
Date: 1989-10-27 14:18:08 GMT

>From: microsoft!jamesb@uunet.uu.net

>I have just recently developed an interest in the fine art of
>home brewing. I have yet to brew even my first batch, I'm still
>collecting equipment. What I am looking for is general words
>of wisdom and warning, supply connections and ingredient suggestions,
>recipes and stories. If you have any of the above and would like to
>share it with the world, I for one would truly appreciate it.

Well, I expect you to get some really good stories from many more
experience brewers, but let me just tell you a few lessons I think
I have learned :-).

1) Relax, don't worry. I made mistakes the first two times merely
by being over-worried and trying to do too many things at once.
The best way to avoid this is to plan ahead everything you are
going to do. Even write it down the first few times. Avoid
running around consulting books and such *during* the brewing
process.

2) Sanitize. Use one tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of unflavored bleach
per 5 gallons of water. Some claim you should rinse, others that
you should just drip dry with such a weak solution. I have tried
both and haven't seen a difference. So I'm not worrying. I still
am glad I sanitize everything I can't boil, and it isn't all that
hard if you plan in advance to have the 30 minutes or so. BTW,
I use the dishwasher heated rinse and dry cycle to sanitize my
bottles--I can just get the two cases to fit in there.

3) Use malt instead of sugar. If you use a kit, don't follow the
directions in there at all. Get some malt to replace the sugar
and boil the wort 45-60 minutes. You probably want to get some
advice on finishing hops to use after a while.

4) Sparge. (Is this the correct term?) Anyway, anytime you use
whole leaf or pelletized hops you need to strain as much of it
out as possible. I didn't do that on my second batch (when I
realized I needed some finishing hops after the wort boiled
an hour) and regretted it. Even managed to get some of the
pelletized hop powder into the bottles. (Still drinkable,
amazingly enough.)

5) Rack before bottling and priming. Leaving behind the sediment
in another container allows you to bottle all the liquid you have.
I am much happier now that I learned this technique.

6) Boil the priming sugar. I generally use 3/4 cup corn sugar
and boil in one pint of water. Mix it well into the beer before
bottling.

John "Getting more confident after four batches" DeCarlo

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