How did you get started?

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How did you get started?

Postby jdbooth » Sat Mar 16, 2002 8:08 pm

I am interested in how others got started as homebrewers and what are your goals. I know that some of you have become Master Brewers and some just want to have the satisfaction that you made something that you and others could enjoy. Whatever the reasoning please share it with us.
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I guess I should go first. When I was in the Navy (Submarine Service) on a "Med. Run" my boat made a port of call in Toulon, France. While out partying with some French naval cadets I wnet to the bar to order a beer. The selection was huge. Clearly I was in over my head. They encouraged me to try some of the "domestic" beer. I was ordered an Adlescott. It was brought out to our table in a 0,25L Pilsner glass etched with the Adelscott logo. I was impressed, but not as impressed as I was when I tasted it. Now I can pretty much bet that a good 90% of you wouldn't enjoy this "Malt Whisky", but I fell in love with it. When I returned stateside I tried to get ahold of it in various places and given up hope until I searched the internet and found a local distributer that had some left from a big order from a party. It was actually about six months out of date so I got it at a steal. Little did I know it then that this was to be a tease. When I tried to order it myself I was told that it was no longer imported into the US. I was Livid! How dare they! Well what could I do. I remembered seeing a recipe for a clone of Adelscott while surfing the net. I decided right then and there that I was going to try my hand at homebrewing. I researched the ineternet on the subject and even bought (and you are allowed to laugh) "Homebrewing fot Dummies", which actually was very helpfull. I have made four batches of brew and have moved on to ALL-GRAIN and even, as most of you know, made my own recipe. I tend to jump in with both feet... actually headlong into things I really like. I intend to one day be a Master Brewer and perhaps a certified judge for AHA and HWBTA sanctioned events.
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There you have it... now its your turn.
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John
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One night in Jail...

Postby Push Eject » Sat Mar 16, 2002 8:13 pm

My best friend got a DUI on the way to a bar to meet me one night. The next day for therapy I took him to a local homebrew store and he bought himself and me a starter kit.
10 months later our beers won their first awards in the 1999 So. Cal. Guinness homebrew competition.
Beginners luck, really.
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I am impressed!

Postby jdbooth » Sat Mar 16, 2002 9:31 pm

I hope I am as lucky. Was it a rcipe of your own that placed you and if so how many tries before you got your recipe right?
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Genetic?

Postby l48shark » Sun Mar 17, 2002 2:12 am

Being an Italian-Irish Roman Catholic, I have a mild interest in alcoholic beverages. :) My wife was at the mall and saw a "make your own beer" kit in the window of one of those science stores and brought it home for me. She knew it would appeal to my meticulous nature. (Read: "anal retentive.") This was not on of those just-add-water gimmicks, but it actually contained malt extract, hops, priming sugar, etc. for two 2.5 gallon batches, one light and one amber, and a collapsible plastic fermenting vessel. The only problem was that they did not include the full amount of extract required and instructed you to add sugar by the pound. Not knowing any better, I followed the directions faithfully and loaded up on C&H table sugar at the grocery store. The "beer" came out very cidery and was quite undrinkable. However, both batches came out the same, so I knew I was consistent and the problem was not my process. I checked the phone book and saw that we have a local homebrew store, so I brought a bottle to them. They told me that the table sugar caused the off flavors and I should have used more malt extract than the kit provided. (I could go into an aside about how these stupid kits scare people who would otherwise enjoy the hobby away from homebrewing, but I will refrain.) The following Christmas, my wife got me a 5-gallon batch, all glass brewing kit from that same store and I was off and brewing. I brewed something on the order of 16 batches my first year (last year) and one batch of wine. It turned out that the store also hosts a homebrew club and I am now the VP, or the "Secondary Fermenter" as I am called. I have several goals both short and long term. Among them are all grain brewing, making wine from grapes instead of concentrate, growing my own hops and grapes, and entering some competitions. In the meantime, I am content to brew for fun and share the results with friends and family.
Cheers,
Ford
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Passionately Precocious Porter 3

Postby Push Eject » Sun Mar 17, 2002 5:13 am

That one was a partial-mash recipe hanging on the wall at the homebrew shop that started us off, The Home Beer Wine and Cheese Making Shoppe in Woodland Hills, CA.
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My wife

Postby mickeymac » Sun Mar 17, 2002 5:25 am

In July 2001, my wife was diagnosed with celiac disease, or gluten intolerance. This means she can't have anything with barley, wheat, or oats. She really missed beer, so for Christmas I bought her a homebrewing kit and got to work on figuring out how to make gluten free beer. Because we can't use malt extract, I had to jump headfirst into all grain brewing. I've made one good batch and one excellent batch of gluten free beer using sorghum, corn, buckwheat, and quinoa. Because I can't get the same extract from these grains as is possible with barley, I've also had to use extracts including honey, rice syrup, and brown sugar. Along the way, I made myself a batch of Imperial Stout and have a batch of Hefeweizen in the secondary now. It's been more fun than I expected and I'm really hooked. BTW, I also buy most of my stuff at the Beer, Wine, Cheese shop in Woodland Hills. And I'd like to thank you guys for answering my stupid beginner questions. If you ever have any questions about bicycles, I'll be happy to provide some assistance there. Cycling has been my passion for the past 20 years or so. In addition to being a lot of fun, it helps to burn off those Imperial Stouts. ;-)
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Winters in New England

Postby Azorean Brewer » Sun Mar 17, 2002 7:26 am

I now live in Greenville SC, but in 1991 I was living in Southwick Mass. My neighbor Bill LaPorte called me up and asked me to help him move some furniture. Afterwards we sat down in his kitchen and he offered me a beer. He did not tell me that it was homebrew. He poured a pair of glasses and handed me one. It was cloudy and I immediately thought that it was a wheat beer. But it didn't taste like a wheat beer, it was darker and tasted like Bass ale. I asked him what kind of beer it was, he said it was an English ale, I said "yeah I figured it, but who's English ale was it?", he said mine, "Well yeah I know that, but what company made it?", this is the point he started to laugh and told me it was homebrew. I asked what did he mean, never having heard of making beer this good at home. He took me into his basement and there it was, a stove, a carboy with the next brew, all of his equipment laid out, and he set the hook. "Do you want to learn how to do this? You bet I do ..." Well I was invited over the next Saturday to bottle. He pointed me towards "Crossfire Brew Supplies" in Enfield Conn. and that is where I met Jim Willenbecher a master brewer who studied the art as an apprentice in Germany. Jim sold me everything I needed, "taught" me how to brew world class German and English ales. I have been brewing since then. I was intimidated to go to all grain but after enoough curiosity, finding out that it is cheaper and better, and doing enough reading I took the plunge and will probably never go back to extract. My long term goals is to retire from my day job and open a retailing establishment selling homebrew supplies, but alas this is a pipedream for now and until my wife gets a job that offers as good of medical benefits (too expensive to buy on your own) I will continue my day grind and enjoy making better beer on weekends better than any I can buy (which I enjoy throughly) . See ya on Monday John, Good question too ... Paul.
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Bloomington, IN

Postby Freon12 » Sun Mar 17, 2002 9:43 am

I went to Bloomington,IN home of Indiana Univ. on a bicycle trip with a guy named David Blase who was my biology teacher at that time, and stopped in to see some college buddies that happened to be making beer there. I found the fact that they could produce good beer from that equipment was facinating. 15 years later, I needed a new hobby and I remembered the beer they had made. I too jumped in with both feet and have made some wonderful all grain wheat beers.(none that can be bought anywhere) I guess that's the key, Can not be obtained by buying it.
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Mr. Beer

Postby KBrau » Sun Mar 17, 2002 6:02 pm

I should start by saying I have always been a fan of good beer. One day my college roommate was cleaning out his closet and came across a Mr. Beer brewing kit that he had gotten as a gift. He offered it to me as he wanted to get rid of it, so I took it and brewed a batch of pale ale. I was immediately disappointed with the brew and decided I would need some better equipment and some more information. I also went out and bought Homebrewing for Dummies which I still reference on occasion. 3 years later I am brewing All grain lagers and kegging eveything I drink for the tap in my basement. I also belong to a hombrew club and participate in homebrewing events as often as I can. I feel a great deal of satisfaction from brewing and find it to be one of the most relaxing hobbies.
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Cheers!

Postby jdbooth » Sun Mar 17, 2002 10:12 pm

Great success story Ford. I too hope to find a local club or to start one.
.
John
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What a guy!

Postby jdbooth » Sun Mar 17, 2002 10:18 pm

I tip my glass to you! You sound like a great man to do that for his wife. Always keep air in your tires and your chain well oiled and remember if youre always going uphill you never need brakes!
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John
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See you there Paul

Postby jdbooth » Sun Mar 17, 2002 10:23 pm

Everytime I talk to you at work I always get this strong desire to have a beer??? GE go figure. LOL
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John
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It is a grand hobbie isnt it?

Postby jdbooth » Sun Mar 17, 2002 10:28 pm

I like woodworking, photo editing, and rock climbing (I tried to work in a bike riding angle, but couldn't fit one in.), but homebrewing is my passion.

John
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I knew I wasn't a Dummie!

Postby jdbooth » Sun Mar 17, 2002 10:34 pm

I am glad to hear that I am not the only one that bought and references that book. hahaha I almost didn't mention it in fear of persecution and humiliation. Perhaps you could give me some pointers on starting up a club of my own and on entering a homebrew event. I am sure others would benefit from your experience as well as anyone elses.
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John
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Mr Beer Too

Postby BillyBock » Mon Mar 18, 2002 2:28 am

There was a time when I thought beer was beer, that Budmilloors was it. I'd always seen the specialty beers in the store. Although I was curious, I just couldn't bring myself to pay twice as much. But one day when I was stationed at Tinker AFB, OK, I decided to try Shiner Bock. That was the event that made me realize there was a wide world of beer out there--even w/i America. Call it a fortuitous event, but I saw the Mr. Beer kit in the Base Exchange (a military dept. store). I didn't get it then, but I picked it up at my new station in Xmas '99 because it "taunted" me again. So, I initially followed their instructions to the letter, which included the use of table sugar. Yuk! Cidery flavors. During my research for cheaper malt extracts and the source of the cidery flavor, I found the LHBS and of course all the various internet sites like this one. I've learned quite a bit online. In the end I'd made 6 Mr Beer kits--I was working on a Masters degree at the time and it made drinkable beer for the time I could invest. In Dec '00 I was in the LHBS--my mission was to purchase extract. Instead I came out with my first real kit. From there it's been a meteoric improvement for me. I made 2 LD Carlson kit beers--a Red Ale and a Robust Porter. Then I got the mashing bug. I figured since I was taking the time to steep grains I should investigate this mashing stuff. My first all-grain beer was an IPA in Jan '01. I messed many things up on that first one. But I kept on going. It didn't take long before I was sharing w/ my co-workers & friends--they love me :-) Now there are many folks that have sampled my brews--demand has increased. So I've upgrade to output 10-12 gals. I enjoy making all-grain beers for the simple pleasure of it and well, when I set my mind to a task, I don't rest until I've mastered it. I haven't entered in any contests. I get plenty of feedback from the friends, albeit non-certified opinions :-) I love good beer, primarily stouts and bocks. Maybe one day after I retire from the Air Force I'll open a brewery of some sort.
--Cheers!
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