HB 101 Q3: What are the five most important things to remember the first time you brew?

This marks the third part of a multipart series of posts about the fundamentals of homebrewing. Sure there's books, web pages, pamphlets, kit instructions, forums and all kinds of resources about brewing beer. Why cover it again here? I don't know. Why does your grandpa tell the same stories over and over again? Maybe it has to do with how we do it. Again, the question should you choose to weigh in is...
For a beginner, what are the five most important things to remember?
Think about it. At this stage you might be thinking things like...
  • What are all these pieces of equipment for?
  • When do I put the hops in?
  • Do I need a secondary?
  • What's this white powder?
  • How do I make sure its sanitary?
  • Am I going to make people sick?
  • Is the fermentation done yet?
  • Should I brew a Saison or an English Mild?
  • Should I dry hop?
  • Do I need a chiller?
  • ...
So, give me the five most important things to remember when brewing your first brew. In order of importance please.
5 Least Important
1 Most Important
The goal is to see if we can help get people off to a good start.


Matt said...

1> Most Important

How do I make sure its sanitary

Least Important Dont Worry and Relax and have a homebrew.....

Jason said...

1. Sanitization
2. Make sure you have everything you need prior to starting
3. Relax, have a beer
4. Set everything out prior to brewing
5. Don't stress if it doesn't come out EXACTLY they way you wanted, or right to style...it's your beer, make it how you like it and don't worry about style!

Beerme said...

1. Sanitation
2. Keep good notes
3. Think twice before you do something, especially if it's one of those "hey, this sounds like a good idea, let's see if it works" things
4. Stick to the recipe (and the corollary: keep it simple)
5. Have everything cleaned, sanitized and ready to use before you start

Least important: Worrying. It doesn't help anything and, really, after all is said and done, it's just a beer.

B James said...

1) Get simple instructions and follow them. And don't shy away from kits for your first time, there's no shame and plenty of time to be creative with later batches.

2) Keep everything clean. No half-assing sanitation, you'll pay for it later.

3) Don't sweat the chemistry, it's a generally easy process, contrary to what some folks will have you think.

4) Write down your starting gravity so you know if you're actually making alcohol.

5) Wild Turkey 101 is the most important ingredient. Share it with a good friend while brewing, and you'll be more likely to brew again.

Beerme said...

Wow! I guess I missed one but that Wild Turkey tip is one I wholeheartedly agree with!

matthew said...

1) Sanitation.
2) Take Notes! (OG, FG, alpha acid %, etc.)
3) Is the fermentation done yet? (subtitle: how do I read a hydrometer?)
4) Explanation of all the equipment
5) Can this make people sick? (subtitle: answers for dubious friends who ask this question)