For a while now I’ve been wanting to start home brewing; watching interesting and informative videos from CraigTube and Northern Brewer has given me the knowledge, confidence and the thirst to get a kit and start brewing.
I bought a Cooper’s starter kit from The Home Brew Shop (why are there no home brew shops in London?? Probably high rents and increased internet activity, but it would be great to talk to someone about brewing!) which had the fermenter, thermometer, hydrometer etc etc and came with a wheat beer kit. Everything you need to do your first brew. But, as I had seen lots of videos and read lots of forum posts about adding to kits, and had a completely unwarranted confidence in my brewing abilities, I decided to get a Cooper’s Australian Pale Ale kit and dry hop it with some cascade for a few days in the fermenter. Not particularly adventurous, I know, but it felt a bit more “craft” than just doing the kit.
So, on a cold Friday night, my dad, brother and I “founded” Evans & Sons Brewing Co. in my dad’s kitchen. The wort came together fine, although the OG was a little low (1.035) so we added a little dextrose. This made no apparent difference so we went ahead and pitched the yeast anyway. It’ll still be beer in the end, right?
The next morning, expecting a thick, foamy head, I was greeted by the same thin brown liqour we left last night…with a tiny scattering of bubbles at the top. Great, I thought, failure first time. The wort was a little cold so we wrapped it in some blankets and moved it nearer the radiator.
Still, 3 days later it looked the same.
I got my dad to do a hydrometer test and, much to my relief, pleasure and pride, he exclaimed that it was 1.010. The yeast were doing their thing! Hurrah! Beer! My dad had a taste and said “It tastes like beer.” Not exactly tasting notes, but beer is what we were after so it looks lke beer is what we have. Wonderful. At this point, we decided to drop the hops – 50g of gloriously fragrant, whole leaf cascade.
That was 3 days ago, and we’re bottling it tomorrow. So, if we can wait, it’ll be about a month until we taste the proper, bottle-conditioned stuff. I’ll let you know how it goes, as I’m sure you’re all on tenterhooks.
Also tomorrow, I think we might as well do the wheat kit…but add some coriander and orange flavour, and some spicy saaz hops to beef it up a bit.
It’s this craft beer thing, man. I just can’t help myself!