Holiday Brewing

Among the many cool things I got for Christmas this year, the most alcoholic was a beer-making kit. I’ve been wanting to take a stab at brewing my own beer for a while, but was hesitant, thinking that it would be too difficult and time-consuming to get started. So far, I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. My first batch is just about finished. I still need to pick up a few more bottles to finish bottling, but I’ve got a couple growlers that should be ready in a week or so.

The basic method was easier than I expected, but there are a few things I’d like to do differently next time.

My kit came with a bottling bucket and a 6 gallon glass carboy.

In all the tutorials I’ve read, most kits come with a bottling bucket and a separate fermenting bucket. I ended up fermenting my wort in my bottling bucket thinking it was the fermenting bucket. Next time around, I’ll ferment in my carboy and transfer over to the bottling bucket when the wort is done fermenting.

I used Cooper’s Australian Pale Ale for my malt extract.

I tried a bit of the wort during my first round of bottling and was surprised by how good it tasted. I usually obliterate anything on my first try… It’s pretty tough to mess up boiling water though.

I also forgot to take hydrometer readings before and after fermenting to get an alcohol content level. Here’s a quick formula for determining alcohol content in homebrew.

I picked up my dry malt powder, malt extract, priming sugar, and other accessories from Union Station Fermentation in Ogden. The owner was helpful and steered me in the right direction with ingredients, techniques, and other questions. Here’s their Facebook page.

My wort before I stashed it away for fermentation.

Next weekend I’ll actually be able to test out the first batch. Overall, I had fun learning about the basics, but eventually I’d like to start from the ground up. There’s lots of different different brewing methods I’ve read about that I’d like to try. A kegerator is in the works as well. I’m already not a fan of cleaning out bottles.

Update:

The batch turned out great! Many beers were drunk. It wasn’t as carbonated as I’d hoped for, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I primed each bottle/growler individually, so the sugar wasn’t as dispersed as it should have been. Overall, it turned out well. Now, to find more bottles…