Friday, 27 January 2012

Resolution 2 – Homebrewing from kits to Homebrewing from extract

Why homebrew at all, when there is so much wonderful beer being made round the world these days? It’s not an issue of cost – I have no problem with the idea of paying for quality beers, and would rather go without than drink something iffy just because it’s cheap – so I guess it’s just the same as being interested in food, and interested in ingredients – eventually you want to have a little play around with them yourself!

I only tried my hand at homebrewing last year after an inspiring talk with a couple of Twitterers, @nebolland and @Chrrr77, and initially got off to a good start with my cohort in brewing operations appointed as ‘Chief Scientific Officer’ and myself as ‘Creative Director’. We were so excited to purchase our own ‘FV’ (fermenting vessel, a grand name for a big plastic bucket) and other brewing accoutrements from Dee Jay Homebrew Supplies in Rubery, and it kinda felt that day that we were bringing “our own mini brewery” home on the bus!
Irish Stout fermenting

We knew we needed to start with the easy options, using kits, till we’d got a few drinkable brews under our belts and could think ahead to experimenting. The consensus on homebrew forums seemed to be that the Woodforde’s Wherry kit was a good place to start, and should give good results. Within a couple of weeks we had another one on the go – a Coopers Ginger Beer Kit. They were both ready for drinking in early Autumn, but after that some external events meant no more brewing took place in 2011. So come the end of the year we were raring to get going again, and now have a Thomas Coopers Irish Stout kit on the go – more on that another time!

But my ambition this year is to get from purely kit brewing, to malt extract brewing – this does require a lot more work, more time to prepare, different stages to go through, and if you’re not careful, a kitchen awash with boiling, worty liquid – my biggest fear in all of this, as I’m not at all sure how I’m going to be handling a large stock pot of boiling malt & hops on top of my basic gas cooker, and then manouevering this through some sort of sieve to take out the hops, into the FV.

But if I can work out the logistics, and take each step as it comes, it should offer up the freedom to make our ‘own’ beers –where we decide the style, have some control over strength, and best of all – I can stick in a shedload of my favourite hops for that “Ahhh Simcoe!” Bisto kid moment.

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