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Recomendations?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by SassieCassie, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. I just got into home brewing and it's so much fun! I'd like to learn more about it and I was wondering what are your favorite magazines and books? I've already picked up John Palmer's "How to Brew" and The Complete Joy of Home Brewing.

    I'm also looking for a website that sells ingredients. I have a home brew store that is local, but I'd to see what else is out there.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ipas-for-life

    ipas-for-life Savant (400) Virginia Feb 28, 2012

    Brew Your Own magazine is pretty good. Brewing classic styles and designing great beers are books that have helped me.
    I have ordered supplies from Northern Brewer and More Beer and am happy with both.
     
  3. Are you brewing All grain or extract+specialty grains or partial mash?

    If you are brewing extract; will someone please post vikeman's post of homebrew42's extract tips?

    I use brewbrothers.biz but I have also had good experience with midwestsupply
    If you are or when you step up up to all grain, a great book is Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong.
    Since thi sis new for you, I also recommend something fun like radical brews or extreme brewing. Not great books but will make for fun beers.
    And a personal note, lose the Duff, I can't keep track of all of them I see here. Glad you are getting into this.
     
  4. MLucky

    MLucky Savant (380) California Jul 31, 2010

    If you've read those two books, a couple more than I found really useful were Chris White's 'Yeast' and Gordon Strong's 'Brewing Better Beer'. You might pick up an issue of Brew Your Own and/or Zymurgy. Those magazines usually have good recipes each month, tips for beginners, etc etc. And just follow your interests: whatever styles interest you the most, you can find whole books devoted to them, and piles of info on the internets.

    As for online retailers... there are a lot of 'em and I've had good experiences with just about all of the ones I've ordered from. To me, it makes sense to order from somebody nearby, to cut down shipping time and the potential for extreme temperatures to harm the yeast (assuming that's what you're ordering... if you're buying equipment this doesn't apply, obviously). Where I'm located, Williams Brewing and Brew Brothers can usually give me next day service. I'd just google "homebrew supplies" and check out the websites of whoever's in your region.
     
    SassieCassie likes this.
  5. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (790) Texas May 21, 2010

    Those two books should get you started. This forum will also be helpful.

    If you have a local homebrew store, that'll probably be your best bet for ingredients and equipment (and quite possibly advice). Anything you order online will incur shipping costs. That being said, sometimes I still get things online (bulk hops). I've used brewmasterswarehouse.com with success (shipping is cheep there) and hopsdirect.com too. There are other good online suppliers too.
     
    SassieCassie likes this.
  6. Most of the bigger online stores offer excellent service, ingredients, and generally competitive prices, even with shipping added in (not counting full sacks of grain). It would be unfair of me to name only those that pop into my head at the moment, so I won't. Local retailers are all over the map from barely adequate to superb. Only you can be the judge of that (hopefully, you've got one of the good ones). I'm fortunate to have at least two of the excellent variety within a 15 minute drive of my home. I'm willing to pay a bit (not a lot) more for outstanding customer service and the conversation that always accompanies any purchase. IOW, I'm paying for the experience as well as the product. Also, I know that the more I spend there, the less likely they are to shut down (every little bit helps). If I'm going to give my money to somebody, it might as well be somebody I know.

    All of the books and magazines that have been mentioned are excellent. If you haven't already done so, I would strongly urge you to join a local homebrew club.

    Welcome to the obsession!
     
  7. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Savant (355) Louisiana Dec 3, 2005

    Here are HB42's Extract Brewing Tips...(Courtesy of Vikeman)

    http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/how-do-i-start-homebrewing.62630/#post-855434

    First of all it's important to realize that good quality, fresh extract alone can brew fantastic beer as long as your recipe formulation and brewing technique are good. One of the best beers I've ever brewed, extract, all grain, or otherwise, was an abbey singel that was nothing but pilsen DME, a little table sugar, a touch of hallertauer, and wyeast 1214. I've brewed show stopping English bitters with nothing but Muntons extra light DME, a touch of crystal, some goldings, and wyeast 1968. And nothing is more popular than my simple extract hefe, which is nothing but 6 lbs of wheat DME, an oz of noble hops, and wyeast 3068 (it doesn't get any easier than that, and it's a great beer).

    if you want to brew great extract beers, the following guidelines are imperative:

    1) FULL WORT BOIL.

    I can't stress this enough. If you're doing concentrated boils, you're never going to produce flawless beers, no matter what else you do. If you're brewing 5 gallons of beer, you MUST start with at least 6-6.5 gallons of wort, and this is ESPECIALLY true for very pale colored or very hoppy beers. Late extract additions are helpful for those who do concentrated boils, but they're not a sub for a real FULL wort boil.

    2) Use only high quality, extra light, light, or pilsen extracts, and I much prefer dry extracts over liquid, as they tend to be fresher and lighter in color.

    Every extract beer that you brew should be based on either extra light DME, or pilsen DME. When an all grain brewer builds a recipe, they start with a pale base malt and work from there, even for the darkest beers, and a great extract brewer should do the same. Extra light extract is nothing but basic good quality 2-row, and a touch of carapils, while pilsen extract is 100% pilsner malt, and either of these are a fantastic slate on which to build any amazing beer. If you want to brew beer like an all grain brewer, then you need to think like an all grain brewer and build your recipes from the ground up.

    3) Use only FRESH extract!

    Don't buy extract kits that have been sitting on a store shelf for who knows how many millennia. This is especially true with liquid extract, which has a much shorter shelf life than dry and tends to darken and taste stale over time. This alone is a good reason to completely avoid liquid as far as I'm concerned. And try to find a retailer that moves their product and always has fresh inventory. For example a larger online homebrew supply may be better at providing fresh products than your stagnant local shop.

    4) Do NOT scorch your extract.

    This is yet another reason why I prefer DME over LME, as DME floats while LME sinks to the bottom of the kettle. If you decide to use LME however, remove the kettle from the burner and FULLY dissolve your extract before putting it back on the heat.

    5) Know which grains can be steeped and which can't.

    The only grains that can be steeped are crystal/caramel/cara malts, and roasted grains like chocolate malt, roasted barley, and black patent malt. EVERYTHING else really needs to be mashed. Doing things like trying to steep oatmeal or munich does nothing but load up your beer with unconverted starch, which is not doing your beer any favors. If you want to include other grains in your extract beers, then do a mini mash, NO exceptions.

    5) DO A FULL WORT BOIL! Partial boils kill beer. Seriously.

    6) Keep your yeast happy at all times.

    It's very important to pitch healthy yeast in adequate numbers, and use yeast that's appropriate for the style. Many extract kits come with a packet of generic "ale yeast" that is typically of low quality. You're never going to brew a fantastic English bitter with an old, stale packet of characterless "ale yeast". Get familiar with handling liquid yeast strains and making starters, and pay attention to proper pitching rates and proper fermentation temperatures, as both are extremely important for producing high quality beers devoid of off flavors.

    7) Never ever rush your beer.

    Great beer takes time, and most beers will benefit from spending some extra time in the fermenter and in the bottle. This means at least 2-3 weeks in primary before either bottling or moving to secondary, and if you're bottle conditioning give your beers at least 6-8 weeks in the bottle and you're sure to see a great improvement.

    And for shit sake, get yourself a bigger kettle! That, along with getting some decent ingredients, are the best things that you can do for your extract beers.

    And don't let anyone tell you that you can't brew great beer with extract, because that's BS. Some of the best beers that I've ever brewed were extract beers, no question.
    by: Homebrew42
     
  8. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Savant (355) Louisiana Dec 3, 2005

    Also check out: http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/what-would-be-in-your-essential-homebrewers-library.55709/
    There is lots of good texts, links, and information.

    Also: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/101/

    Equipment: do a litte research then decide on what you will need. It will depend on what you already have that you can repurpose and also how deep you want to get into it.

    You can also do a beer advocate forum search for:
    Absolute noob
    Absolute beginner
    Best kit or best homebrew kit

    Beer advocate also has a decent search feature for whatever else you are looking for, and there are other Homebrewing forums online.

    Or you can just post a question on the forum.

    Then when you are ready for recipe info:
    Listen for free to The Brewing Network's Jamil Show podcasts on iTunes. They are broken down by style, but they all have good information in them. Some of the shows are much more than just style guidelines and recipe information. You can buy the book "brewing Classic Styles" by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer

    Then if you need more in depth information there is also:
    Brew Strong podcasts for free on iTunes
    A subscription to Zymurgy and/or Brew Your Own magazine

    And tons of good information online, just understand that not all of it is good, and some of it is really bad. There are other sites, but bad advice is shot down pretty quickly on this forum AND backed up with solid information and/or experience.
     
  9. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (790) Texas May 21, 2010

    I would like to second this motion! I brewed elderberry wheat using nothing but fresh liquid wheat extract, bavarian wheat yeast, elderberries, and a little saaz and hallertau. It was friggin' great! I am wondering if batch II, all grain (about to be bottled) will be as good. The standard is set high!

    If you build your own recipes and you're not sure, do a mini-mash. Add a pound of 2-row to ensure that there are enough enzymes. A mini-mash is little more than steeping with some enzyme containing malts in there. They're easy. And they work.
     
  10. I simply combine the specialty grains, then add enough 2-row to make 4 lbs (total specialty grains should be well under half that for a 5 gal batch, so that's plenty of 2-row). Fits perfectly in my 2 gal water jug.
     
    AlCaponeJunior likes this.
  11. Thanks for the advice everyone, if you can think of anything else please keep it coming :)
     

  12. Awh shucks, I thought the Duff avatar was clever ;)
     
    sergeantstogie likes this.
  13. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (790) Texas May 21, 2010

    here ya go :D

    [​IMG]
     
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