My First Homebrew Experience

Brewing beer is more fun and way harder than I imagined.

Some time ago, Amber bought me a kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop. The kit sat on the shelf for a long time. Brewing the beer was intimidating, and seemed impossible despite having all the materials sitting in front of me. One weekend, I told myself that I was going to brew that beer, and set aside an entire afternoon to get it done.

BREWING:

Boiling, measuring, pouring, taking temperatures and cleaning everything made me feel more like a scientist than anything else I’ve ever done. Keeping something at precisely 170 degrees is difficult when your stove is a the lowest possible quality stove someone can buy (thanks to my landlord for that one). Somewhere along the way, I messed up my boil, because when I eventually poured everything into the jug to let it bubble there was only half the expected volume of liquid. I also couldn’t find chestnuts that I could roast myself, so I had to settle for pre-roasted chestnuts.

I pushed forward despite these setbacks and everything else appeared to go according to plan. It bubbled for a day, I put it in a cool, dark place to sit for two-three weeks. After that it got hairy again. Creating a siphon between the jug and multiple pots proved to be too much for my abilities as a n00b brewer. I had to try multiple times and eventually I got it all together. It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.

The silver lining of my accidental over-boil was that the entire batch fit into a growler from Bierkraft instead of going into each bottle. I’d love to watch someone else siphon their batches of beer before I attempt to do that again. It sat in the fridge until last weekend.

THE BEER:

There were a few downsides, but one of them was not taste. I purchased a different nut brown ale to test my batch against. Turns out, I got the recipe right. Where did I go wrong? A nut brown ale should be somewhat transparent, and this was not remotely transparent. It had the visual and taste consistency of a stout, but with the taste of a nut brown ale. The other negative: No carbonation. Somewhere along the line, I didn’t seal something right or I let it sit too long before bottling it. One way or the other, there were no bubbles.

OVERALL:

I’ll be doing this again for sure, but with an easier beer. I don’t care if I start with the equivalent of a Pabst Blue Ribbon, provided I get it right. I’ve still got the growler, and I’m deciding if I want to drink it. I admit there’s a part of me that wants to get drunk on something that I created.

2 thoughts on “My First Homebrew Experience”

  1. That’s funny, I just bought a kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop and started the brew three days ago. I think I may have messed something up too, but we’ll see how it goes. Woo for homebrew!

  2. Did you add the yeast prior to bottling the beer? If you didn’t’ this is probably why there wasn’t any carbonation. You should read “The Joy of Home Brewing” by Charlie Papazian- It helped me out a lot when I first started.

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