Hey there! I am going to chatting you through my first home brewing experience, and all of the things that happened that made the beer I made probably the worst beer ever! My brother got me a home brew kit for Christmas, and I have been super excited to start using it, and also, tell everyone about it.
I have done a home brew kit before, with my friend Reed. Let me say, it is a lot more difficult to do on your own, instead of with another person. There were so many parts of the brewing experience that would have been easier with another person there to hand you things, and make sure to set timers and check temperatures. I did, however, have him on a Google Hangout, just in case I had any questions about anything I was doing.
I started with a 1 galloon Cream Ale. Very simple process, and the extract kits that you can buy at any brewing store are very easy to follow. I got all of my equipment from Northern Brewer, and I just want to say how I much I love their shop, and also the customer service they provide. They are so helpful and knowledgable with any question you may have. They are also very nice about it, since they know you are getting into the world of home brewing. You would think that a bunch of beer snobs would be running a place like this, but they are some of the nicest people I have dealt with. Way to go!
I think one of my first issues is that I tried to make a 1 galloon batch of beer with a 5 galloon set up. That was what I received, and I want to make sure I understand how the equipment works before I start a 5 galloon brew. I just felt as though everything was too big for the amount that I had. Pretty much operator error on that stand point. But, I got everything ready to go and started heating up the water. This, is where the biggest mistake came into play. I forgot my basic knowledge from Chemistry class, and was not measuring the temperature of the water in the center. I was measuring it on the edge, which was really stupid. I was supposed to have the water between 160 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was boiling the water, which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Once I figured out my error, I tried to repair it the best I could, and move on.
I was also have issues with the siphon that I got with the kit, but I later figured out that I was not using it correctly, which is again some operator error. I put the little amount of liquid in my fermenting bucket, and let it sit for 2 weeks.
Fast forward to bottling day. I got everything sanitized and set to bottle, and went to look at what I had. It just did not look like I had a galloon of beer in the bucket. I proceeded anyway, and got everything in my clean bottling bucket. I only ended up getting 2 bottles, out of the 9 I should have gotten. I knew at this moment, that the beer was not going to be good at all when I went to drink it. I even tested it, and it honestly tasted like Baked Bean juice, which I hate Baked Beans. Once bottled, I put the beer in my brewing closest and waited another 2 weeks,
While the beer was becoming bottle conditioned, I had some issues with heat. When you live in a small town, sometimes the city water needs to be turned off for an entire day. It was nice, because I ended up having a day off from teaching, but I did have water for 8 hours. Now, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with your heat? Well, I have baseboard radiator heat, which means my apartment is heated by hot water. When the water got shut off, so did the heat. It was alright for the day, but then when the water was turned back on, the heat did not kick back in right away, and didn’t get fixed until the next night. So, my beer was in my closet, becoming to cold, which beer is supposed to bottle conditioned at 72 degrees. It got down to 60 degrees in my apartment. Not good for my beer.
The day finally came to try the beer that I had created. It was disgusting. My friend Reed and I decided that it had become contaminated with bacteria, so I didn’t not drink much of it before dumping the whole bottle down the drain. Part of it was clear(as clear as it could be), and the rest was really murky. It still had chunks in it from the first process of brewing, and it still tasted like baked beans. I have the other bottle still, and I am keeping it as more of an experiment. I would like to show some other brewers, and talk about what I may have done to get this as an end product.
So that’s it! My first beer was pretty much a failure, but we all live and learn from the mistakes we made. I just know all of this information for next time I decided to brew. Let me know if there are any other home brewers out there, who have had similar experiences to mine. I hope you enjoyed reading through my experience with home brewing. I will definitely make another post with a more successful brew! I hope you have a great week, and I hope to see you back here next week! Happy Valentine’s Day in advance!