Author Topic: Please help me get my new hobby started!  (Read 5683 times)

Offline cwiley90

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Please help me get my new hobby started!
« on: November 24, 2012, 02:51:09 PM »
Hey all,

I am a recent college graduate and am looking for a hobby to fill some of my spare time.  I have always enjoyed trying new beers, especially good microbrews, and with a degree in biochemistry I think I would love the art and chemistry involved in brewing a beer that I can share and enjoy myself.  After doing a little research, I at least know that the home brew "kits" don't seem to be the way to go.  I want to buy my tools/supplies separately.  Can anyone give me some advice or maybe a sample shopping list of what I will need to purchase to get my new hobby off the ground?  Also, where is the best place to get fresh ingredients?  I would like to make a an IPA first since that is my favorite.  The hoppier the better!  Also, has anyone had success with growing their own ingredients at home?  I am interested in doing this as well as maybe even culturing my own yeast.  As I said earlier, I have a pretty strong background in biochemistry and lab techniques so if I could "hunt" and grow up a unique yeast culture that would be really cool.  Thanks!

-Chris

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 08:54:10 PM »
Buy "how to brew"  by John palmer. Best money you will spend.
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline MikeinRH

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 09:01:26 AM »
I did not have a bio chem background when I started, so I became a quick study of the need to sanitize. Funny you should mention that you want to purchase your equipment separately. I saw a father and his son in the brew supply store yesterday and they got overwhelmed with what they needed to start the hobby. They left the store without buying anything. Midwest Supplies have excellent equipment starter kits that are reasonably priced. Tom's recommendation to buy the John Palmer "How to Brew" book is a good one. I think the best way to determine what you need to begin the hobby is to think about the sequential process of brewing... yeast starter, mash/sparge, wort extraction/boiling/hop additions, wort cooling, yeast addition/fermentation, bottling/kegging. As for ingredients, I started by ripping off recipe ideas from listings of ingredients described in kits. I have since purchased BeerSmith software (well worth the expense). I would also recommend that you have your water tested. Crappy water = lousy beer. There are ways to filter and chemically enhance tap water to assure an economical, yet essential foundation for your time and effort. Best wishes!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2012, 10:20:45 AM »
Definitely start with a book or two. Plan to go the all-grain route. It may appear intimidating on paper, but in practice it's pretty easy. Also, don't skimp when it comes time to buy a brew kettle.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline anvilbrew

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 08:31:11 AM »
There is a wealth of knowledge on the web if you are trying to just get started. Your best bet is to read as much as you can then talk to your local brew store, most are very helpful.
Drinking:
Porter
In the keg:
Porter
In the fermenter:
Kolsch
American IPA
Next brew session:
Smoked Beer, Strawberry Blonde

Offline gtreloquence

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 08:54:37 AM »
if I could "hunt" and grow up a unique yeast culture that would be really cool.  Thanks!

-Chris

Just curious, how exactly would one go about "yeast hunting". It would be kinda cool to have a unique yeast

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 09:21:22 AM »
if I could "hunt" and grow up a unique yeast culture that would be really cool.  Thanks!

-Chris

Just curious, how exactly would one go about "yeast hunting". It would be kinda cool to have a unique yeast

Read_yeast_, by Chris white and jamil zainasheff.   Lots of work with plates, a microscope, and test batches.
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline gtreloquence

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 09:24:00 AM »
I actually have that book in my wishlist on amazon. Didn't realize it went that in depth on the subject. I'll check it out.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Please help me get my new hobby started!
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 09:30:49 AM »
It is THE reference for all things yeast/fermentation related. It includes an in depth section on making a yeast lab at home, and how to use that lab to do things like isolate cultures. But, it is VERY practical in its presentation, avoiding the more esoteric corners of microbiology. 

I've been brewing for almost 13 years. I'm the reading type. But, I only own 5 books on homebrewing, total. This is one of the 5.
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

 

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