What follows should not be viewed as a how-to on home brewing as we likely did things wrong, this is just my experience as a first time home brewer.
You may be wondering why I’ve never home brewed before, when you home brew you make 5 gallons of beer equaling about 52 12 oz bottles. What I enjoy most about beer is the wide variety available and I normally only buy 1 bottle of a beer.
While hanging around the neighborhood fire pit I discovered a neighbor who is interested in brewing beer and one who tried once before but gave up. With the 3 of us working together splitting costs and results I’d end up with about 18 bottles, a much more enticing number for me.
One last hurtle was that living in Monroe means a 45 minute drive to a home brew store. That changed when Osborn Brewing opened only 10 minutes away. Brent, the owner, heard of our plans and invited us up to brew along with him last month.
With the day at hand we packed up the rig plus a couple beers and headed to the store. With everything setup at the store we began brewing… which is to say waiting, lots of waiting. Waiting for the grain to steep, waiting for the sweet wort to boil, waiting for the hopped wort to cool, and now waiting for the yeast to do it’s magic and turn that wort into a pale ale.
Over all not a bad way to spend the afternoon. You get up do a bit of activity: check the temp every once in a while, drink a couple beers, add some bittering hops, chew the fat, add some flavoring hops and keep on waiting.
After 6 days of waiting [which we later found out is way too short] the yeast appeared to finally stop doing it’s thing and it was time to transfer our creation into bottles.
The entire bottling operation was easily the most amount of continuous effort we had exerted thus far in process as there was very little waiting around today. We had 1 guy pulling bottles off the tree, I was filling the bottles, and another guy was picking them up to cap them. Then more waiting this time for 21 days. We only made it 14 days before impatience won and we cracked one open.
We ended up taking pale ale ingredients with brown ale instructions and made a not-horrible hoppy sessionable brown ale. Nice aroma and smooth caramel flavor with a decently bitter background. Some sweetness comes out stronger as it warms a bit. Though there was a bit of vinegar kind of off flavor. We may not may have made what we intended but we did make drinkable beer on our first time out… and as I finish this post our second brew is fermenting.