Beer style for your first batch? Does it matter?

Yes it does, pick something attainable, however, the exact style guidelines don't matter. People get too hung up on them. I think I chose an Alt Beer kit and it probably didn't taste much like one. I spent a long time telling myself it didn't suck. In retrospect the taste wasn't the point. It was what I learned. I learned so much from that first brewing session.

Process and practice yield far better results than focus on a style upfront. So rather than think about how you're gonna nail that Belgian Style IPA clone, just start with a basic style and recipe and get brewing. The whole process goes something like this...

    • get equipment
    • decide on a simple recipe
    • research process
    • decide on YOUR process
    • buy ingredients
    • brew & ferment
    • taste
    • repeat incorporating any changes you think will help
Think about styles later. Brew to your taste first. Still want some guidelines? Think about the ones that can help ensure success. How about this?

    • brew an Ale 'cause they don't require low fermentation temps and lagering
    • pick a high flocculating yeast (beer clears faster) to shorten the fermentation
      period (WLP002 English Ale is one of many you could choose).
    • everything that touches your wort AFTER the boil could infect it
    • don't worry about a secondary fermentation
Of course you'll probably do it your own way. Why not? That's half the fun. Hopefully you'll make a ton of mistakes and learn from them :-)


Alistair Reece said...

I would suggest that new brewers decide on a style to brew, and I agree it should be a fairly simple one, and then go out and try the commercial versions available so they have an idea in their head what the beer should taste like.

Russ said...

I always push the first beer we brewed... a Hefeweizen. It tastes great as an extract beer, it's relatively forgiving temperature-wise, it's something geeks and non-geeks alike tend to enjoy, and you don't have to worry about secondaries (or even clearing out for that matter!). The only problem is the yeast tends to get a little excited so I've had a couple people freak out when the lid to their bucket suddenly popped off with beer spraying all over the walls. Personally, I consider that a kind of baptism! ;-)

Adam said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' about. Real advice from real homebrewers.