Second beer kit- American Beers IPA

Howdy,

Last Monday I began fermenting my second beer creation, again from a kit. This time it was the American Beers IPA (which you can buy here). In general I love IPA’s and so I am really looking forward to trying this one when it’s finally ready to drink in a couple of week’s time. Just in time for summer to begin rearing its sunny head (hopefully). Decided to brew this one with my girlfriend, and so this batch is officially titled “Dan and Hannah’s Summer IPA”.

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The initial hydrometer reading was quite high (1.057) so I am expecting the beer to be quite strong, at around 6.2% ABV. The kit suggests that the final strength will be around 6.5% ABV, so the initial reading seems to be in the right ball park. I bought a higher quality yeast, however the yeast which came with this kit looked pretty good so I decided to stick to the kit and keep the higher quality pale ale yeast for a later batch. The kit also comes with a hop sachet for dry hopping 2-3 days before the end of the initial fermentation. I will be testing the gravity today and possibly dry hopping today/ tomorrow depending on the reading. This kit is certainly more involved than the last one, which just came with two metal containers of the concentrated malt extract and one sachet of yeast. However, I am itching to get to the next level of home brewing and begin brewing from malt extract, and then later on (possibly by the end of summer) begin brewing all grain. Further down the line I am also hoping to do a bit of DIY and turn a fridge into a kegerator to store all of these brews at perfect temperature.

Will post an update once I keg this bad boy in my newly acquired King Keg!

First Batch of Home Brew!

Howdy folks!

Sorry for the pause in updates, I have been travelling and unable to let you guys know how I’m doing on the home brewing front. I made my first batch of home brew from a basic kit I bought on amazon, “St. Peter’s Brewery Golden Ale”, the package is pictured below in case any fellow home brew adventurer’s want to follow me on my journey towards the Holy Brewdom.

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Making a beer from a kit was a relatively simple and easy task, and as a result I now have 36 pints going through the final conditioning stage of the brewing process. However, everything was also made incredibly simple and easy to understand by following the instructions in Greg Hughes’ amazing book, Home Brew Beer. The entire process is very well explained, along with pictures for every step of the process, so following it was an absolute breeze. I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to start out brewing their own drinks at home, and there is even a large section dedicated entirely to recipes for various beer and ale types, so you can truly brew anything your heart desires.

Unfortunately I do not have many pictures from the process to show, but here is one of me softening up the contents of the brew kit in order to make it easier to remove from the tins:

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In explanation- beer making from a kit requires mixing two tins filled with a treacle like substance (the products from a boil evaporated until thick and less space-consuming) with water, then adding yeast (included in the kit), and waiting for the entire thing to ferment. After this, you simply decant or rack the beer into bottles or kegs (depending on your preference) with a little sugar to carbonate the beer, and leave for two weeks (or more in some recipes) for the beer to clear, also known as conditioning. This is the stage I am in right now, having racked my beer into a plastic keg which I received with the starter kit.

The down side with brewing beer from a kit is that you have no control over the flavour, and essentially it is simply practicing the last couple of stages of beer brewing- the fermentation, and then the racking process.

I am really looking forward to moving on to the more complex process and the next stage in becoming a brewmaster- brewing from malt extract. This includes the boil  stage of the brewing process and allows much more control and customization of the flavour and end product. The final method (and most complex one) is called “all grain” brewing. This is when you literally start from the grains and make the malt extract yourself, however is much more time consuming and requires even more equipment. One step at a time, young brewmaster…

I will post an update when the beer is ready to drink, cannot wait to taste the fruits of my labour! Until then, keep your eyes peeled for more views and reviews, both to do with home brewing and other things.

A new adventure!

Hello folks!

I have recently decided to follow my passion for beer and begin growing my own hops in the garden and making up my first batches of delicious home brew. I am a little apprehensive but thoroughly excited to see the fruits of my labour, and am already looking forward to my first harvest sometime in September.

Today I took the first step and ordered my hop rhizomes (that’s the little plant cuttings from which hops grow), as well as a starter beer-brewing kit. I will make a couple of practice batches of beer between now and harvest time, so the first few times that I brew will be using a kit containing all the necessary ingredients, as opposed to my own garden grown hops. However, this should mean that when the big day comes I will be fully prepared to make the most of my organic hoppy produce. The dream is to one day have a full hop farm, with a brewery and pub attached, but I think this is something which will not come into fruition until much later on in my life- but one has to start somewhere! To begin my home grown hop garden I have ordered 4 rhizomes of Fuggle (a classic British hop variety), 4 of Cascade (an American hop variety used in IPAs and other American Ales), and 4 of the Prima Donna hop, also know as First Gold. The last one is a particularly interesting breed as it is a dwarf hop, meaning it will not grow anywhere near as tall as the others and is usually grown by those with limited growing space. Overall I feel these are a good mix for my first year of growing, and are used in a lot of beers which I enjoy. I am definitely planning to brew a fair amount of IPAs and American Ales, and I think Cascade will allow me to do this nicely.

I shall keep you posted on my progress, and will be uploading photos from my first batch of brew (which should be happening sometime next week) as well as when I plant my precious little hop rhizomes. In the meantime, I’m planning to learn as much as I can about the process of brewing, as we all know- knowledge is power.