My First Home Brew

What a perfect Christmas present I got from my wife... A home beer brewing kit consisting of equipment, accessories and ingedients (purchased from www.art-of-brewing.co.uk )! Along with the equipment, my first "kit" is called "Art Of Brewing - BITTER XXXX"
I have followed the instructions very carefully, and have just bottled the first batch. I started the brew on Sunday 2nd Jan, and stirred the bucket once daily until Friday 7th when I added the Hop extract and finings. The 5 litre brewing bucket was in a dark cupboard around 23C (ranging slightly between 21 and 24) Two days after adding the finings and the last stir, I bottled (on Sunday 9th Jan) I have used washed and sterylised "Wychwood Hobgoblin" bottles and put proper crown tops on them. I have been very careful with the temperature, using a digital weather thermometer with Max and min memory to ensure the temperature is within range. The bottles are in a dark cupboard and the temp fluctuates slightly between 20C and 22C (normally around 21.4C).
So far so good. The instructions says to leave them there for 5 days then move them to a cooler environment to clear.
I'm trying to be patient and let the process complete. It looks like the beer is turning clear near the neck of the bottles :-)
What results should I expect? Will it compare to beers I taste in the Rochford Beer Festival? Does anybody have any good recommendations for my second brew? (I usually prefer darker beer, eg porter, which to me has stronger taste and flavour).
I'm thinking of buying that dark "conkerwood" kit from Art of Brewing. Has anybody tried that one?
thanks for any feedback,
Brendan
Reply to
Brendan DJ Murphy
> > What results should I expect? Should be drinkable :) > Will it compare to beers I taste in the Rochford Beer Festival? Probably not. You need to get into full mash brewing to compare with the best of the brewers. > Does anybody have any good recommendations for my second brew? > (I usually prefer darker beer, eg porter, which to me has stronger taste > and flavour). Brew the type of beer you like, there's no rule says which type is better, purely personal taste > > I'm thinking of buying that dark "conkerwood" kit from Art of Brewing. Has > anybody tried that one? >
Can't help I'm afraid, been some 30 odd years since I brewed a kit. I'm not slagging them off, they're a useful starting point in brewing.
You may find the following sites useful
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Alternatively Google "UK Homebrew" for more links then you can handle.
KeithS
Reply to
KeithS
Fermenting temperature seems rather high. I always used to drop the beer into gallon demijohns fitted with airlocks - as do winemakers - after the fermentation had quietened down . The beer seemed to finish working and drop bright very quickly , and when it was clear I bottled it or casked it . As for quality - the all malt kits are obviously better than those which require added sugar , and IMHO dark beers seem to stand up to the kit processing better than light ales. Try adding small amounts of roast malts to future brews - use the kit as a base and experiment a bit. A few fresh hops don't hurt either!
Reply to
valeofbelvoirdrinker
>What a perfect Christmas present I got from my wife... >A home beer brewing kit consisting of equipment, accessories and ingedients >(purchased from www.art-of-brewing.co.uk )! >Along with the equipment, my first "kit" is called "Art Of Brewing - BITTER >XXXX"
I bought from a-of-b back in Easter last year.. and likewise started with ART OF BREWING BITTER XXXX based on the suggestions at
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>What results should I expect? >Will it compare to beers I taste in the Rochford Beer Festival? Having tried a few friends homebrews in the distant past, I wasn't sure what to expect.. followed the instructions.. didn't bottle but barrelled it. Used all the hop extract (I like hoppy beers).. end result.. a very drinkable ~4.2% hoppy beer.. probably one of the best I've had (compared to the half a dozen homebrews from various friends 10 years ago). Maybe I was lucky (or good at sterilization!) but I thought it was a quality beer. Must of been worth whiled... I've done 4 batches since and just planning the next! >Does anybody have any good recommendations for my second brew? >(I usually prefer darker beer, eg porter, which to me has stronger taste >and flavour). Same here! Not really a potter.. but I was thinking along the same lines for my second brew, it was fun and something I'm planniing to try again: 2 x 24p dogbolter kits with a can of dark malt extract made upto 40 pints. OG was 1066.. didn't drop as much as I hoped (FG was ~1020). End result was a very dark and oatish flavour.. a friend described it as liquid parkin. >I'm thinking of buying that dark "conkerwood" kit from Art of Brewing. Has >anybody tried that one?
I haven't.. I'm starting to brew my own (malt extract) recipes now, tho occasionally go back to a kit for "reference". If after a couple of kit brews you are still keen, I suggest buy "Brew Your Own British Real Ale At Home" (AofB sell it).. 100 grain recipes, but a lot with malt extract versions.
Regards and happy brewing! Mark
Reply to
Mark Blewett
>I'm trying to be patient and let the process complete. It looks like the >beer is turning clear near the neck of the bottles :-) > >What results should I expect? >Will it compare to beers I taste in the Rochford Beer Festival? >Does anybody have any good recommendations for my second brew? >(I usually prefer darker beer, eg porter, which to me has stronger taste >and flavour).
If you've been careful to sterilise everything, your beer should be at least drinkable. If you open a bottle and it tastes flat and sweet, the secondary fermentation hasn't finished. Generally the taste of the beer will improve for several more weeks. Kit homebrew is rarely outstanding but is usually pleasant enough. It will keep for several years if sealed properly.
I find the easiest thing to get wrong is to bottle early, before the beer has fermented out. You'll soon find out if you've done this - the beer will foam up as soon as you open it and will pour with an enormous head. It may still be savable if you decant it into a big jug and let it settle.
If you like stouts and porters, use a stout or porter kit :-) Look on the label and see how much sugar you are supposed to add. If it's a lot, the kit is poor quality. You want most of the fermentable material to come from the malt extract.
The easiest way to tweak the taste of a kit is to use some whole hops. You can boil these in a saucepan and add the water to the wort, or 'dry hop' the wort after the yeast covering has dropped.
As others have said, there's no real substitute for full mash brewing, but using malt extract does simplify things a lot. I'd stick with malt extract brewing until you can assess how serious you are about it.
Good luck, Paul -- Paul Sherwin Consulting
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Reply to
Paul Sherwin
The results from homebrew kits vary from very pleasant to indescribable! Common avoidable faults are adding too much sugar - surprising how many people think that making it more alcoholic makes it a better brew! (Try adding malt extract in place of sugar) - and bottling too early.The instructions often leave much to be desired , but as a rule never bottle/cask the beer until it is fully clear.This really requires the use of demijohns as in my previous letter or else there is the danger of spoilage in an open vessel. To be truthful , the use of demijohns is the single most valuable brewing tip I was ever given. They can be found at car boot sales or just put the word around and some will appear! i The beer completes its fermentation out of contact with the air ii It clears much quicker than leaving it in bulk iii It is easier to handle and to check its progress iv It can be left safely until bottles/casks become available v There will be a good supply of yeast ready for the next brew . On the whole kits provide the very minimum of yeast so there is a long lag time with the risk of infection . It's OK to use the yeast from the demijohns for the next brew though there are those who caution against repeating it too often because of possible mutations.
Reply to
valeofbelvoirdrinker
> To be truthful , the use of demijohns is the single most valuable >brewing tip I was ever given. They can be found at car boot sales or >just put the word around and some will appear! >i The beer completes its fermentation out of contact with the air
I let my beer ferment out in the bucket. This often means leaving it for significantly longer than kit instructions suggest. I don't trust hydrometers etc - I just give it a stir with a sterilised spoon, and if hardly any bubbles rise, it's ready for bottling. There's a greater risk of contamination with this approach, but so far I've been lucky. I leave the lid on the bucket most of the time, and try not to disturb the CO2 blanket.
Best regards, Paul -- Paul Sherwin Consulting
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Reply to
Paul Sherwin
One thing that the demijohn system really does well is in speeding up the whole process - I think the beer is ready a week or two earlier.On a few occasions the beer was drinkable ( bright but not really conditioned properly) within a week from scratch, admittedly a full mash brew using proper brewers' yeast.
Reply to
valeofbelvoirdrinker
>> To be truthful , the use of demijohns is the single most valuable >>brewing tip I was ever given. They can be found at car boot sales or >>just put the word around and some will appear! >>i The beer completes its fermentation out of contact with the air > >I let my beer ferment out in the bucket. This often means leaving it >for significantly longer than kit instructions suggest. I too use a bucket (with lid.. more later :o) >I don't trust >hydrometers etc - I just give it a stir with a sterilised spoon, and >if hardly any bubbles rise, it's ready for bottling. I don't trust a (cheap) hydrometer for the accurate absolute readings, but I do trust a (cheap) hydrometer for relative measurements. BTW from what I have read after the first stir/ariation I have always left to its own devices rather than stiring. After 4 brews, my method is: I find I'll take a hydrometer reading after addiing the starter, then after a couple of days I'll take a small sample (80-100cc) and use a hydrometer every day (or two for a strong brew). I'll look at the figure in 2 ways; 1) compare to the og.. if you read 1060 og you should be looking for 1015 fg with the same hydrometer/temp/method, ie aim for 1/4 the og... less than 1/3 og is okish. 2) compare to the previous days og, with a good starter I think you should get a 1/x shaped graph.. if its not dropping right, you know somethings wrong.. ie normally the temp. >There's a greater >risk of contamination with this approach, but so far I've been lucky. >I leave the lid on the bucket most of the time, and try not to disturb >the CO2 blanket.
The first brew it really amazing me... new bucket with a tight lid... normally flat, but with the generated gas it was hemispherical after a day! Scary! It blew.. hit the ceciling (12 foot up) and dented it! Since then I have a safety strap.. a bit of sting tied across the top between the handles.. stops the pressure, and it just "burps".
Regards Mark
Reply to
Mark Blewett
>The first brew it really amazing me... new bucket with a tight lid... >normally flat, but with the generated gas it was hemispherical after a >day! Scary! It blew.. hit the ceciling (12 foot up) and dented it! >Since then I have a safety strap.. a bit of sting tied across the top >between the handles.. stops the pressure, and it just "burps".
Ah yes, you definitely don't want an airtight lid. I once tried brewing in an old polypin as a teenager with the results you'd expect :-(
Best regards, Paul -- Paul Sherwin Consulting
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Reply to
Paul Sherwin
Well, Thank you all for all your helpful tips and feedback.
I know its still a little premature, But today, Sunday 16 January, I opened my first bottle. :-)
Yes! It is more than "drinkable". I am pleased with my results and it is a very nice pint indeed! And that is just my first ever go at home brewing!
With a bit more practice and knowledge, I'm sure it will get even better! I think I'm on to something here :-)
I will listen to all your constructive comments. If anybody has any glass demijohns going spare in the Essex area, then please email me with a reasonable price.
(remove REMOVE from my email address)
HAPPY BREWING
Brendan
( Hic! )
Reply to
Brendan DJ Murphy
Really pleased to hear of your success. If you carry on , you might later think about going full mash! Among other things , it's only a fraction of the price of a kit. But before then experiment with what you're doing.
Reply to
valeofbelvoirdrinker
In article , Brendan DJ Murphy writes [snipped] > >I'm thinking of buying that dark "conkerwood" kit from Art of Brewing. Has >anybody tried that one? > If you mean Munton's Old Conkerwood Dark Ale, I made up a kit a few years ago and was mightily impressed at the quality of it.
I bottled some and took it along to a local CAMRA get-together. Everyone thought that it was a full-mash ale.
I wrote about it for my Home Brewing column in 'What's Brewing', but I can't remember when. -- Roy Bailey West Berkshire.
--
Roy Bailey
West Berkshire.
Reply to
Roy Bailey
> > I am on the lookout for some glass demijohns. Don't know about your way, but round here they often appear in the small ads of the free papers. > > Why is it that whenever I mention "homebrewing" in a conversation at work, > my friends always ask me "Whats the alcohol content?" >
A more pertinent question would be "What's the price?" -- Cliff Laine, The Old Lard Factory, Lancaster
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Reply to
loobyloo
>>I'm thinking of buying that dark "conkerwood" kit from Art of Brewing. >>Has >>anybody tried that one? >> > If you mean Munton's Old Conkerwood Dark Ale, I made up a kit a few years > ago > and was mightily impressed at the quality of it.
Yep! Thats it. "Munton's Old Conkerwood Dark Ale"! Cant wait. I did not fill the bucket to the 5-gallon line. I left the level about two inches from the line to produce a stronger flavoured beer (as suggested in the instructions).
I think home-brewing has replaced cross-channel booze-cruises to Calais. Save even MORE money :-)
Brendan
Reply to
Brendan DJ Murphy
The ABV is easily worked out as follows - you will need a hydrometer; Measure the specific gravity before the yeast goes in - called the Original Gravity , OG , for example 1.046 Measure the specific gravity when casking/bottling -called the Final Gravity (FG) , for example 1.012 Now work out OG-FG , ignoring the decimal point example 46-12 =34 divide by 7.5 to get ABV 34/7.5 = 4.5 approx. In fact , unless you add sugar , the ABV will always be close to the last figures in the OG eg 1038 will give 3.8% ABV
Dark beer is easier to brew than pale as roast malts etc have a lot of flavour which tends to mask shortcomings elsewhere.
Somebody mentioned price - I was brewing average strength beer at around 6 or 7 pence a pint for material costs , not counting electricity , purchase and replacements of the boiler , mash tub and so on. I bought malt and hops at cost from a local micro , and another one would always give me some genuine brewers' yeast.
The mash tun was made from an old cold box - details on request.
Reply to
valeofbelvoirdrinker
> Many thanks for your informative reply. I have combined your information > into my spreadsheet. > Have you actually added Craig's spreadsheet info to the sheet on
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yet Brendan? I only see the 3 sources originally mentioned (but I didn't look at the sheet before so don't know if it is changed) KeithS
Reply to
KeithS
I Have now ;-) (sorry, I fogot) Craig's algorithm is now generally the same as the average of the other 3. Pretty good algorithm there, Craig! Thanks again Brendan regards > Have you actually added Craig's spreadsheet info to the sheet on >
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yet Brendan? I only see the 3 > sources originally mentioned (but I didn't look at the sheet before so > don't know if it is changed) > KeithS
Reply to
Brendan DJ Murphy
> I Have now ;-) > (sorry, I fogot) > > Craig's algorithm is now generally the same as the average of the other 3. > Pretty good algorithm there, Craig! Thanks again >
Many thanks to both of you KeithS
Reply to
KeithS

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