This is a plan for your first 9 brews... yes 9. The reason why 9 is the number of brews will become apparent as we move forward in this blog post.
You have the equipment necessary to brew beer. If you don't have it, or you're not sure... return to the blog menu and read the post "all you really need to brew great beer" http://counterbrew.blogspot.com/2015/04/all-you-really-need-to-make-great-beer.html
You enjoy great beer, and you are understand that part of the fun of this hobby is that you can spend a lifetime learning about great beer.
The plan and the goals of the plan...
- Make and learn to make great beer at home. Beer that you can be proud of, beer that you will enjoy.
- Minimize complication and expense associated with brewing.
- Brew beer that you, your SO, and your friends will enjoy. Build support for this hobby. Trust me there will be resistance early on in your brewing hobby.
- It's kinda messy.
- It takes up some space that someone else may have wanted for her scrap booking obsession, or space that may have been intended for other uses, I quote "bathtubs are for baths, not beer"...
- Minimize the expense of brewing great beer.
The plan is pretty straight forward
3 extract batches
3 partial mash batches
3 BIAB batches
Re use the healthy yeast cakes, by starting with lower OG beers and keeping the flavor profiles similar. i.e. cycle one is a basic pale ale extract, followed by an american pale ale, followed by an imperial pale ale. All on US-04 yeast. Cycle two is a brown ale, followed by John Palmer s Elevensies, followed by a Sweet Stout all on an english ale yeast (nottingham). Cycle three is a Session table beer, followed by a Cream ale extract followed by Centenial Blonde, on US-05. By following the cycles you'll experience all of the basic brewing techniques.
Please notice, there are no Continuously hopped, chocolate, heather blossom Saisons, Raspberry Wild Lambics, or Vanilla Bean Russian Imperial Stouts on the cycles. Although they are fun to brew, they are not consistent with the goals and plans of learning and perfecting your brewing techniques.
If you don't have the equipment for large BIAB, you just continue with Partial Mash Batches, or you employ the Texas two step method. Texas Two Step is a great method for making beer with just two 4 gallon pots. If you want to scale the recipes, by all means do so.
A couple more points I have to make. Regardless of what your home brew shop tells you, You should always boil as much volume of wort as you can safely boil. If you do not have a wort chiller, it is better to boil all 6.5 - 7.5 gallons of wort, and let it cool overnight with the lid on (wrapped in saran wrap once it cools a bit), than boil partial volume of wort. There are many reasons why this is the case. Not the least of which is the isomerization of the hop oils. But really guys and gals, buy a wort chiller, I'm often the most broke guy I know... and I managed to get one for less than $40.00 on ebay. Point two, get on some brewing software and learn it. I prefer BrewToad. Hops behave differently in 3 gallons of water than they do in 6.5 gallons of water. Use the software to adjust accordingly. When in doubt do not assume that you will get maximum efficiency, assume you won't. Bump things up a notch, but just a notch.