I make this first homebrew blog entry as I prepare to make my very first batch of beer. I'm pretty excited at the prospect; I've done a lot of research on the internet, have read countless recipes and tips... but I'm still anxious at the prospect. Will I have the hydrometer issues that so many seem to have? Will I manage to properly sanitize everything (and avoid funky flavors)? Bottom line - will I come away with good beer?
We shall see, I suppose.
I'll be making a Yorskshire brown ale - specifically, Yorkshire Square Brown (limited edition), from Austin Homebrew Supply (the dry malt extract option). I know that I'll have to steep the specialty grains as part of the process... I wonder how that will go.
I'm a huge fan of British and Belgian ales - give me something with some body and character, without hops that just bludgeon me over the head. This recipe seems to fit the bill perfectly. If all goes according to plan, I'll have drinkable beer in around five to six weeks.
All of my gear is brand new, thanks to Santa Claus... or more accurately, thanks to my wonderful wife. I made up a wish list, and she essentially got everything on it from Austin Homebrew as my Christmas gift.
Originally, I had made up my list and she shared it with my mother - who promptly replied that she would not be purchasing any beer making supplies, period. My mother and I exchanged emails over this, as I had understood her objection to be religiously based (she is a very conservative Seventh Day Adventist, and that religion is very much teetotaling). As it turns out, her objection was more due to the fact that my older half siblings have both battled alcoholism to varying extents, and she didn't want me going down that same path.
Since a six pack lives safely in my fridge for anywhere from a month to three months, I pointed out that her fears were unfounded - not to mention that it would be so much quicker (and cheaper) for me to just buy beer if drunkenness were my goal. Still, I expected gift cards or the like from her for Christmas... and she surprised me with a deluxe starter kit from Austin Homebrew.
I am currently in the process of returning most of the duplicated items for store credit (which I'll spend on bottles and ingredients), but I am keeping the 5 gallon glass carboy as a spare secondary (yay for two batches at once!), and am definitely keeping the wort chiller that I had eyed - but not asked for due to the expense.
My current setup includes the following:
24 quart stainless steel brewpot
6.5 gallon glass carboy as my primary fermenter
5 gallon glass carboy as my secondary fermenter (I actually have two of these, as noted above)
20 foot immersion wort chiller
Plastic bottling bucket with spigot
Assorted tubing, auto siphon, etc.
A really nice set of printable beer bottle labels
The labels are obviously not necessary, but I figure that if I'm spending the time and effort to make good beer, I should put it in attractive bottles. I have an artist friend working on a design for me now. I'm also eying some custom bottle caps online - there's a great place (bottlemark.com) that prints custom bottle caps for twelve cents apiece.
At any rate, the time has come. My yeast has been out of the fridge for six hours or so, now; I'm about to start final prep for today's brew...
Right after I help my four year old bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Tags for this post: homebrew, beer, first, try, yorkshire, brown, ale