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craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,285
499
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
I started homebrewing in 1985 after a visit to Europe where I brought back a kit for English Bitter Ale from Boots pharmacy. I brewed for several years and eventually brewed a few all-grain batches, but honestly, none of my beers were any good. Once the American Craft beer movement started, I gave up brewing my crappy, but flavorful beers.
Fast forward 20 years and after tasting several homebrews by multiple brewers, all of which were light-years better than anything I had made, I decided to try again. I'm blown away by how much better the information, ingredients, equipment, and especially sanitizers are today. I'm two brews back in, both all-grain, and both have been quite good and far better than my previous efforts. Keezer construction has begun!

 

kylef

Member
Oct 17, 2018
224
399
Cape Ann, MA USA
Another long-time homebrewer here.
I was getting frustrated, as my process seemed to be getting more and more involved, with mixed results. Around 2012, I decided to radically streamline things. I went back to simple extract brewing, and I ditched the keg system and went back to bottles. Like anything, I think the secret to homebrewing is getting your system and procedures down, and that's where I am now.
I don't dispute that all-grain brewing gives more complexity to the final beer, but you can certainly make world-class beers just with extract brewing (and specialty grains) if you know what you're doing. Most important bit of advice that I ever got, which drastically improved all my beers: make sure your wort has cooled enough (mid-60's) before you pitch the yeast--that eliminates so many off-flavors that often cause that "homebrew twang". That, and maintain good sanitary procedures to avoid any bacterial infections.
I'm out of sync with much of the homebrewing community, as I'm not into high-gravity, heavily hopped beers. I like old UK style session ales, low alcohol, low on bittering hops and light on carbonation, and that's what I make--bitters, brown ales, porters, stouts and Belgian ales. My beers may not rank with the world's greatest, but they're consistently clean, flavorful, balanced and...very drinkable!

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,529
12,874
Alaska
That, and maintain good sanitary procedures to avoid any bacterial infections.
This is by far the most common mistake I see in new homebrewers. There is so much potential for infection, from a mouth on a racking cane to a fondled rim of a wyeast smack pack, EVERY..........SINGLE...........THING must hit that sanny.
I'm out of sync with much of the homebrewing community, as I'm not into high-gravity, heavily hopped beers. I like old UK style session ales,
You are probably more in line with a lot of the homebrewing community than you think. There are plenty of commercial examples of HG or Hop bombs out there. UK session style ales? Not so much......that is part of the beauty of homebrewing..........you can brew whatever you find lacking in the commercial industry.

 

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elessar

Senior Member
Apr 24, 2019
374
465
One of my favorite beers to home brew is the extract/steeped grain version of Fuller's London Pride. What a great beer. Fuller's actually made the recipe public as well. My last batch was almost identical to the real thing.
I also got frustrated with the consistency from batch to batch. I went from brewing with a friend on a propane turkey fryer to a home built electric brewing kettle using SS water heater type elements run on timers and PID controllers. Much more accurate temperature control and very consistent. I also ended up with a SS wort chiller to control pitching temperature.

 

kylef

Member
Oct 17, 2018
224
399
Cape Ann, MA USA
You are probably more in line with a lot of the homebrewing community than you think. There are plenty of commercial examples of HG or Hop bombs out there. UK session style ales? Not so much......that is part of the beauty of homebrewing..........you can brew whatever you find lacking in the commercial industry.
Yep, totally agree--that's what makes homebrewing so great: it's your beer the way you want it. And once you get the hang of it, it's much cheaper, as well. I'm not even going out of my way to cut costs, and homebrewing still runs about half the cost of buying good beer.
Session beers are still a small segment of the beer world, but they are gaining a little traction on the East Coast. I have this awesome brewery near me, that I literally drive by on my way to work. They specialize in session Czech, German and Polish lagers:
https://www.notchbrewing.com/

 

lightxmyfire

Member
Jun 17, 2019
142
264
I love to brew! It’s been a minute since I’ve last had time, but I’ve got my Rye Pale Ale on tap, brewed that one for my wedding a few years ago, a friend helped me name it “For better or for Wort” and I’ve got all the grains for a Vienna Lager just waiting on the shelf!

 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,285
499
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
From what I have understood, extracts have gotten quite good and can produce excellent beer, but my inner beer nerd enjoys starting from the grain. For those intimidated by the process, try a single infusion mash using the brew in a bag (BIAB) method. It’s a great and inexpensive method for mashing with the main downside being that it’s a bit less efficient than sparging, so you’ll have a slightly lower OG. I see some companies selling BIAB ingredient kits now.
My next brew will be revisiting my very first homebrew — an old-school English bitter. I’m certain this one will be much, much better.

 
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buckner

New member
Apr 18, 2017
2
2
Used to quite a bit. Partial mash mostly. Just broke out the Mr. Beer and think imma do a kvass in it.
 
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