Sunday, January 8, 2012

Adventures in Homebrewing: Episode 2, Brew Day

So I got a homebrew kit for Christmas and so the other day I pulled everything together and started brewing.
I got an English Brown Ale ingredient kit from Brewers Best, and a supply kit from a local homebrew store.  I also have the book How to Brew by John Palmer (I bought the book after reading some of it online), whose instructions I followed in tandem with the instructions in the Brewer's Best kit.  I found that the instructions in the kit were lacking in some places (like they said you didn't have to rehydrate the yeast, even though the yeast packet says you have to), so having the book helped flesh out the confusing/lacking places.  The book is very thorough, so much so that before I started brewing, I found the in depth coverage kind of confusing.
Pulled everything together.  
 I should probably find a bigger pot next time to do this in, but at the moment it was all I could find that was within my budget.  I think having such a small pot (3 gal) lead to some of the problems I had later.
Steeping the grains.

Sanitized stuff.  Under the tin foil are my measuring cup, a couple of
random glasses, a spoon, and my barometer

Malts, both dry and liquid (this stuff is the bane of my existence
as you will see later in the blog)
In the back, in the silver packages, are the hops. 

Steeped grains (saving for spent grain bread!)

I had a boilover when I added the dry malt, which I didn't think was supposed to happen at this stage, but it did.  I had to scrub carmelized malt out of the burner after I finished my brew.  I hope the loss of some of the wort doesn't effect my beer too much.  
And this is why I hate the malt (at least the dry malt)
 Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures after this point, so I don't have anything to show for adding the hops (an hour-long process of watching for boilovers that never happened), or of cooling the wort (note to self: buy more ice next time and use something other than the kitchen sink to cool!).  And I forgot to take a picture of rehydrating the yeast, but that is pretty self explanatory.  In any case, after a lot of time standing around and waiting for the time to be just right to add hops, or pitch the yeast, or whatever, I have beer in the fermenter.  Hopefully it will taste as good as it smells right now.  I know a lot of people don't like the smell of brewing beer (my roommates told me I made the apartment smell "funny"), but I think it smells delicious!
My fermenter in my closet!  I can hear the airlock
bubbling when I go to bed at night!
I must say that this was an experience that I can't wait to do again.  Now I have to wait until I can bottle and then wait some more to drink, but I hope it turns out alright.  I keep seeing exploded airlocks and infected beer pictures on reddit (r/homebrewing), so I'm kind of nervous, but other than the boilover, I did everything according to instructions.

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