What better time than spring to start a new hobby. I have taken some of my tip money from ski season and gotten a setup to start brewing beer. I started a brewing journal, excepts of which I will port to this blog from time to time. I'm starting with extract brewing, as all-grain requires more gear. The first batch will be a fairly light-colored American wheat beer- we'll see how it goes.
Batch #1 Brew Day. Purchased 5 gallons of Spring Water and 1 gallon distilled water, 2 bags of ice. Total cost: $14.00. Activated yeast package, brought 2.5 gallons to a boil. Added malt/wheat extract. Getting it all out of the container was a challenge. Current boil kettle is exactly 3 gallons, not practical to boil it at the brim like that. Poured off 1/2 gallon of wort into a separate pot to continue boiling on the back burner. Added 1oz Willamette hops per instructions. Boiled 45 minutes. Added 1 oz Cascade Hops, boiled remaining 15 minutes. Cooled wort in an ice bath in the sink. It took about 20 minutes to get it down to about 100 degrees. Added 2.5 gallons spring water to the 6.5 gallon "Better Bottle" plastic carboy. Added wort from small pot. Added cooled wort to carboy. Topped to 5 gallons with distilled water, only needed about a quart. Aerated the carboy by shaking for approximately 2 minutes. The "fermometer" stuck to the side of the 6.5 gallon carboy read about 80 degrees. Measured the specific gravity at 1.042. Waited a few minutes until temperature started to slide to 78, then pitched the yeast. The yeast pack (Wyeast 1010 "American Wheat") was fully inflated and had been incubating for a full three hours when it was pitched. Was surprised at how little liquid yeast is in the package. Attached fermentation airlock and stopper and moved carboy to dark closet in the front bedroom. Ambient air temperature between 61-65 degrees. No bubbles in the airlock were visible on the evening of the brew day.
Notes: A big enough kettle for a full boil would make life easier. I'm not using water from home due to chloramines in the local supply. Would like to go get some good spring water in Lincoln or somewhere in the mountains, but would have to be able to boil the whole thing. Probably would want an immersion chiller if I was going to do a full boil, but if it saves me 15 bucks water and ice per batch, it would probably be worth it. The only sanitizer I have came with the kit- it is called "One Step" and from what I hear it is not really a sanitizer by definition. I'm going to get some Star-San for the next batch.