The Brew Site

Fermentation Friday: What one tip would you give a beginner homebrewer?

Today is Fermentation Friday, the group blogging meme dedicated to homebrewing. Homebrewing bloggers all collaborate on a single theme for the month, and the group writing day is the last Friday of said month.

This month’s topic comes from Brew Dudes:

July’s Theme: What one tip would you give a beginner homebrewer before they brew their first batch and why?
Who’s Invited:
All bloggers who have ever homebrewed.
Rules: Please keep it to just one tip. I think it will be interesting to see what you come up with as the ultimate suggestion for success. I better not get a lot of ‘Relax, have a homebrew’ tips!!

So yeah, I know I’m very late, posting into the wee hours of Friday night. It’s been a busy day (week). But it’s a good topic, and I definitely wanted to participate.

I’ve covered similar things before (see my 5 Tips for Extract Brewing, for instance), but I’ve never really considered the question based on "before they brew their first batch." And since John at Brew Dudes doesn’t want a ton of "Relax, don’t worry" tips, it’s a challenge.

Casting myself back to when I brewed my first batch of beer, I think the tip that would have helped me most would have been, "Read The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing." Or, really, "Read any competent brewing manual/instructions." The process for that first batch of homebrew was based on two sources: the brewing pamphlet I picked up at the brew shop and the directions on the label of the can of malt.

Neither were clear at all—nor even proper instructions for brewing a decent beer! (Somehow the beer still turned out fine.) There was a lot of uncertainty and a fair amount of confusion on my part, and it wasn’t until I picked up Papazian’s Homebrewing that I really got it; understood what was going on, and what I should have been doing, and why.

So my tip would be the one I wish I had gotten: Read New Complete Joy—or any similarly good book—at least the part on "your first batch" they all have, and disregard any directions from pamphlets or "kits" or malt can labels. You’ll know what you’re doing and won’t be nearly as freaked out—and your brewing life will be that much easier.