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Hey man, I will not ever dis a guy for where he is starting. Starting is the point. But, you kinda waded into a group with some knowledge and some of what you said then confused us.

Did you have to put the fermentation barrel into the fridge or in the coldest part of house to make the beer?

I am going to assume for now that you didn't have to, so what you really made was an ale. Basically they made up all the ingredients for a lager, but gave you an ale yeast to ferment it so that you didn't have to deal with the hassle of actual lager making.

Now, this in no way detracts from the fact that you made beer. And if those kits will make you happy, dude go for it! (There are actually Mr.Beer forums out there, I've seen them.) The thing with kits are they don't allow the more creative (and geeky) of us to experiment too much.

The progression I have seen people go through, if they are totally geeky can be....MrBeer Kit, Extract brewing, Partial kits, All Grain kits. Each one of those steps requires more equipment and more of your time. A medium scale all grain brew day can use over $900 in equipment and up to 5hrs of your time monitoring stuff. If you want less monitoring then you can spend in the thousand$$.

I am currently all grain, but brew in a bag. That means I am trying out a new process that appears to have been invented by the Aussies to minimize equipment while still getting pretty decent usage of your gains. Only on my third BIAB and....first two went pretty well, they are in secondary now. My thrid BIAB bag was a disaster on brew day. I literally reached the point where I turned everythign off, and put everything outside. In the freezing cold. On my deck. I didn't want to see it or deal with it at all. :^D Then Sunday I decided that was too much wort to just waste, so I boiled it up, pitched my yeast starter and it is smelling pretty good as it ferments. (LOL...if this turns out good, I will NEVER be able to reproduce...sigh.)
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