My first homebrewing purchase was a book. Before I ever made a drop of beer, I read Charlie Papazian’s book, The Joy of Homebrewing cover to cover. Looking back, I realize that only an infinitesimal amount of that valuable tome actually stuck in my brain that first time through. I’ve read it many times since and something new “clicks” every time—and Charlie’s passionate, encouraging style is a treat. If you’re looking for more book recommendations, I also strongly recommend Randy Mosher’s Radical Brewing and John Palmer’s How to Brew—both outstanding books no matter how long you’ve been wielding your beer paddle.
But there are some things they don’t tell you in the books that I think could be really, really useful to the beginning homebrewer. Or, to be clear, they might tell you in the book but for some reason they didn’t sink through my thick skull. Here are ten of those pieces of advice, updated with links to other useful articles.
1. Get the big(ger) kettle.
Like many of my fellow homebrewers, my first significant purchase was a starter equipment kit. Once I had it, all I needed was a brew kettle and ingredients, and I was good to go. So, I bought a 5-gallon stainless steel kettle for $35. Stupid. It took only 2 weeks of brewing before I dropped another $70 on a 7.5-gallon kettle. If you ever plan to get into all-grain brewing or want to reduce the likelihood that your kettle will boil over, splurge for the big kettle right out of the gate. You’ll be saving money in the long run. Learn more about selecting a brew kettle.