I just started brewing beer at the beginning of the summer. I have thought about doing it for years but this year I put it down as the number one thing I would like to receive for my Birthday.
My wife and I went to American Brewmaster to get the necessary equipment, and we bought their Deluxe starter kit. This included all the buckets, tubes, thermometers, capping equipment etc… *and* your first beer kit.
I was torn between a Hefenweizen and an Amber Ale, but ultimately decided to go with the American Classic Amber Ale.
Once we had a guest in our home (Thanks Amanda!) to help take care of the twins I carved out a couple hours to rush headlong into the process.
I read over the instructions and followed the only piece of advice anyone has given me regarding homebrewing… I sanitized everything.
I steeped my grains (This smelled so good!), added my malt extract and hops, and boiled the wort (that’s what they call it) for a good long while.
Remember how I said steeping the grains smelled good? Well once you add the hops and boil it for an hour it stops smelling so good. Not bad really, just intense.
Then I added cold water to the 5 Gallon mark and cooled it all down as quickly as I could. Then I added the yeast, sealed it (mostly), and shook it for a couple of minutes. All I could do from this point was put it out of sigh and wait for 14 days or so.
At that point fermentation was complete and I just had to carve out another couple of hours so that I could put all the beer into bottle. This time my mom was visiting so I enlisted her help. I prepared the bottling bucket, and siphoned everything into it (with sugar for carbonation)
I added the beer to the bottles, and my mom did all the capping.
Everything went pretty smoothly considering I had lost my directions at this point.
Once we were done we put them away in the closet and waited another 10 days or so before it was ready to drink.
At that point I put a couple in the fridge to cool down and then poured one for my wife and myself to try. I was very relieved that it tasted good.
I couldn’t wait to get back out there and try something new. My coworker (Thanks Steven!) said he had some grains I could use so I scoured the internet for a recipe that would fit with his ingredients and would make a decent Wheat beer. The benefit to doing it this way was that I gained the experience of shopping for my own ingredients and I bought a new 5 gallon pot to boil everything in.
I bottled last Friday (Thanks Bob! for your help (FiL)) and can’t wait until next week to see how it came out.
Next up is a brown ale that I am going to brew next week with my dad.
Unfortunately I have to wait until someone grows some pumpkins before I can make a Pumpkin Ale.