Fill It or Spill It

Homebrew: Entry 1

In Homebrewing on September 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm

This is my first shot at homebrewing, so I wanted to do some documentation of it.  Just like other beer nerds, I see brewing kits and ingredients when I walk through larger beer places and always wonder how I would do.  So, instead of just wondering and always saying I’m going to try that one day, I decided to actually try it.  I know I like beer, but I also know I don’t know much about actually making beer.  Eventually, I intend on making my own recipes, but for now I’ll practice with pre-made brew kits.  Why risk going blind on shoddy beer, just because I thought I was clever, right?

Comfortable knowing that I don’t know much about brewing, I decided on buying a kit made by the Brooklyn Brewshop.  I saw a couple that I want to try eventually, but I picked the Peanut Butter Porter kit.  A little ambitious? Maybe, but you can’t become a star without shooting for the moon.

And so it begins.

The beer kit I bought came with a 1 gallon jug, some miscellaneous instruments and the ingredients.  Pretty handy little kit because if you can read then you can brew beer (we’ll see).  Since I’m just starting I don’t have my own brewing pots, so I had to borrow one from my wife.  I had to promise to buy her a new one because she didn’t want me to mess up her pots.  Mess up? Beer is like bacon, you can add it to anything and make it better.  I can sort of see her point though because I’m sure she doesn’t want our spaghetti to smell like beer.  Or does she?

I won’t bore you with the step by step stuff because all I did was read the instructions in the beer  kit.  The process was fairly easy (a big thanks to my wife for showing me the importance of reading the instructions) and fun.  The mashing was fun.  For those of you like me before I started homebrewing, mashing  is adding grain to hot water and stirring.  I felt like I was making porridge for the three bears.    When was the last time you heard the word porridge, huh?

I can really appreciate all the craft and home brewers that put all that care into their beers because I really got into it.  I want it to come out great so I put a lot of care into making sure everything was good.  I can also see how easily those giant “brewers” can just set it and forget it and make crappy beer.

The hard part is now, which is waiting.  The beer has to ferment now for a few weeks.  I’m a little concerned because I know temperature is a big part of the brewing and my house can get pretty hot sometimes.  I’m hoping for the best. Wish my first brew luck!

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  1. Ed – I like your blog! And I’m glad you’re starting to homebrew – welcome to the club!

    The peanut butter porter is a great beer and I’m sure the kit will make good beer too. Bigger stouts like that can often cover up any imperfections because they are so full of flavor. That’s why it’s actually really tough to brew a bud light – any minor mistakes shine right through.

    I would like to know more about your mash process. Most beginning kits use extract, so you don’t have to mash, other than steeping some specialty grains. If you did your mash in the pot, how did you lauter/rinse and filter the wort into your brewing pot? You can’t brew the beer with the grain in it or it will extract all sorts of unwanted tannins that will throw off the taste.

    Also, if you had fun and you get hooked, you should look at getting a 5 gallon kit. One gallon of beer disappears too quickly! All that work on brew day and then all that waiting, you’ll want to be rewarded with a generous amount of beer.

    Let me know if you ever have any questions. And good luck with the brewing!

    • The kit didn’t have any extract, had to mash, which I liked. I like the mashing, makes me feel like I’m doing something I used a strainer to filter the wort into another pot (wife not happy I’m using her pots for beer making). I do want to get a 5 gallon kit because you are right a 1gallon looks like it will fly, especially if I have to share. I want to get good at 1gallon before I move up though. That milk stout recipe you have posted sounds interesting. I’ll definitely have questions and will be looking for all the help I can get. Thanks!

  2. Congrats on your first homebrew. I will be bottling my first batch tomorrow! I hope the beer gods are with you.

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