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Think before spending big bucks



I spent the day today having a blast at the NFL here in the UK. I’ve been a fan for many years and it’s exciting to see new people take up the sport. Everywhere I looked at the stadium I could see newbies to the sport getting sucked into the well planned marketing that highlighted to those new fans that they needed to have a jersey, hat, hoodies and even team themed lego.  You could say this is very similar when it comes to people taking up brewing for the first time or when someone is trying to build up their brewing setup. Here’s a couple tips I hope will help the newbie, not make the same mistake I’ve made on many occasions. 

Focus on improving your beers

In the first few years of home brewing you’ve got a lot of things to wrestle with such as water chemistry, IBU’s & brewing techniques and how all of these have an impact on your beer. As we get close to christmas, you’re going to find a large list of items that for a home brewer could be good items to pick up but as a beginner there’s only a few things you really need to focus on right now. 

You need to invest your money in your brewing process & learning. I hear from far too many brewers who will spend hundreds of bucks on a new bit of brewing tech but they might not have the correct setup that works for the gear they just got. 

I did just this a few months back. I was very excited about getting my hands on a beer bug but I had just decided to downside the volume of beer I was brewing but I quickly noticed that the equipment didn’t fit in the 1 gallon demijohns that I was using which meant I either needed to spend some more cash on some demijohns just so I can use the gear or not use it. This would suck for anyone but i’d imagine for a beginner, it could be more of an upsetting experience and maybe enough to stop people from brewing. As a beginner, you should be invest in things that help you learn. So a good example of that could be a bunch of books or web services that allows you to get the information you need. 

Here are a couple of really helpful resources (please don't buy unless you've done your research). 

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Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles

Author Ray Daniels provides the brewing formulas, tables, and information to take your brewing to the next level in this detailed technical manual.
Buy UK
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Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew

Award-winning brewer Jamil Zainasheff teams up with homebrewing expert John J. Palmer to share award-winning recipes for each of the 80-plus competition styles. Using extract-based recipes for most categories, the duo gives sure-footed guidance to brewers interested in reproducing classic beer styles for their own enjoyment or to enter into competitions.
Buy UK

Don’t get sucked into the high end tech solutions

I’m a sucker for new and exciting tech and i’ve done this on many occasions, new iPhones, new tv’s and definatly with new brewing gear. Whilst buying new gear is ok, it can normally become a hindrance and in some cases can result in a missed opportunity to learn. An example of this would be with an expensive gravity reader that measures your ABV and a whole bunch of other data. Whilst it means you can ensure you’re beer is fermenting without drawing off a bunch of samples and then using your hydrometer to figure out the Abv. What the marketing summary forgets to highlight is that the cost of the items is similar to that of a new brew kettle or a conical fermenter. Sure, if you’ve got the spare cash and already have those items and you can afford to then give that kind of gear ago but like I said above, as you continue on your brewing journey, it’s important to invest in items that improves you’re beer first and then items that might make your life really easy or at least a little more entertaining. 

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to hear a lot about gift buying and wherever you are on your home-brew journey, I hope you’re able to stop, and look and what you really need to improve your brewing game and not getting sucked into buying all this expensive gear which hopefully doesn’t just end up set aside in your wardrobe like those new fans at the NFL game today.