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Just retired.

les smith

New Forum Member
Jul 2, 2013
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Hi Thought I would like to try making my own beer. I have enjoyed drinking all my life and feel the time is right.Are these beer making kits the way to go. I am a bitter drinker and will always drink real ale when on offer. It looks a mine field out there so would really appreciate some help.
Thanks Les


Master Brewer
May 29, 2012
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I started out using kits (usually a standard kit would include a can of hopped liquid malt extract,
a small packet of yeast, a packet of sanitizer and a packet of booster (corn sugar, nutrients, etc.
to help the yeast out and up the alcohol a little.  These kits are great to get your feet wet in brewing as they
are pretty simple and not too much can go wrong as long as you follow some simple directions.

This process is very simple for the beginning brewer and you can get some pretty decent beer as long as
you pay good attention to sanitation and not let the ferment get too warm.

It won't be long before you will want to brew beer that might complete with some of the commercial beers so you will probably
start to move away from the standard kits/ingredients, and try some dried malts, better yeasts, additional hops, etc from your local Beer supply store.

You will get better, more satisfying beer without too much added effort other than boiling larger amounts of malt with your
own hops for specific times instead of just adding the preprocessed liquid malts after the boil from beer kits.  Also this tends to be up to 30% cheaper than buying the kits.

From that you might move into brewing all grain beers which is more involved, but not that much more.  It's also much
cheaper (40-50%) than buying the kits where all the work is done for you.

If you are interested is getting into this hobby, I would recommend browsing (some call it trolling) various internet beer
brewing groups.  You can learn quite a bit in a short time in seeing other brewers mistakes without making them yourself. 
I will list a couple of these sites for you.

This site: Beersmith Home Brewing Forum
Northern Brewer Homebrew Forums:  http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewforum.php?f=22

Two books that I found were indispensable in my learning about brewing were "How to Brew by John Palmer 2006"
and "The Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian, 3rd Edition 2003.  An old outdated sample of How to Brew by
John Palmer is available at the following link should you want to see a little about what would be covered in the newer 3rd edition.


These books are available in a number of online stores including Amazon.com and Walmart.com. 
I ordered 3 brewing books from Amazon (including the two above) and paid $33 and change with free Super Saving Shipping. 

Hope this helps.