Submitted by Alex Hallowell
So, I’m a big fan of beers. I was lucky to be exposed to high quality brewing at a pretty young age: I lived among some of the best breweries on the French/Belgian border when I was 18 (legal there…)
I’ve always wanted to try brewing, but it always seemed pretty intimidating. I’m a good cook, but I lack the precision of a baker, whose skills are required when brewing. You’ve got to time everything precisely, keep it at a consistant and steady temp. I’m not very good at paying attention for a long time, nor am I terribly patient. So, this was certainly an adventure.
A few weeks ago, I got a brewing kit for my birthday, so I had no more excuses. It’s a little, simple 1 gallon kit from the Brooklyn Brewshop. The 1 gallon is perfect for a first-timer. There’s no sense in destroying 10 gallons of beer on your first go, so I dove in.
After hearing horror stories of improper sanitation ruining a whole batch, I was super cautious. Sanitizing and re-sanitizing everything.
I took over the kitchen, and since you need multiple pots and pans for the brew, I took over the kitchen supplies as well.
So, after straining the mash, as best I could, I funneled it into the 1 gallon jug provided by the kit.
I let the beer sit and ferment for two weeks. For the first few days, the yeast churns up a storm, it’s fun to watch. After about three days it settles down and is far less entertaining…
Today, I bottled. And, after watching a few tutorials and reading the instructions provided, I thought I was all set.
Siphoning is really, really hard. So, after about an hour and a half, plus half a bottle of beer on the floor (and in the carpet…) I had six bottles. Now, I let them sit another two weeks, to get bubbly and delicious. I’m just hoping that I didn’t contaminate something during my nightmare of a siphoning experience.
Do any of you brew? I’m interested in continuing. This inagural batch has taught me a lot. I’m not sure I’m ready for anything complicated, but I am interested in trying it again with my own ingredients. Local grains, and if I can, local hops. So, I’m on the hunt and could really use suggestions from seasoned brewers out there!