After taking a break from home brewing, I one day ended up meeting a friend of my brothers who he used make home brew with. This visit sparked my interest again because he gave me a few pieces of equipment that I really liked and am still using. I got a 6.5 gallon glass carboy, a carboy carrying harness, longer (than the one I started with) stainless steel spoon, hydrometer, Johnson analog temp controller, and a cornelius keg for 25$.
They also handed me a blue binder with recipes they had put together during their time brewing. I was told the recipe named “Bug Brown” was named after they had found a dead bug in the carboy. One of the other recipes became my next brew, which was just simply named “Sierra Nevada Clone.” This was my brothers recipe too so I thought it would be a good one to make for my next batch.
Even though I was on a break from home brewing, I was reading as much as I could about it. I was trying to figure out what caused my first two batches to taste the way they did and figured I needed to try and change one thing at a time. After reading about fermentation temperatures and how important they are for the yeast, I got lucky and found a chest freezer display model for sale and snagged it up.
I picked up the ingredients from my local home brew shop/store (LHBS) and got to it. I still didn’t have a keg system at this point so it was bottle conditioned and came out ok. The color and clarity was good but I didn’t like the bittering that the Perle hops gave to it. There was also this “homebrew taste” that I thought the better fermentation control would have got rid of, but that was not the case.
My next batch was something I came up with after reading about ingredients. It was a pale ale made with extract, some specialty grains, and hops. I wanted a bit more sweetness so I added some cara-pils malt and I wanted to try some of the citrus flavor type hops that I liked the smell and taste of, so I went with Simcoe and Cascade. I made a huge mistake that I noticed when I took my original gravity reading. Coming in at 1.073 I checked my recipe and noticed I purchased about 2 extra pounds of extract. My beer ended up being in about the 7% ABV range.
Almost everything else turned out really good with this beer. I had even purchased a keg system before the batch was finished so I didn’t have to bottle. The best news was that that “home brew” taste I was getting was gone! If it weren’t for the alcohol taste I got from making the beer too strong, I would say this needed to always be on tap.
This is about where I am now with my home brewing experience. I have bought a few more things since then. I now have two 5 gallon coolers set up to start making all grain beers, I bought three one gallon jugs to maybe experiment with smaller batches, I have a better thermometer for taking temp readings faster, and I purchased a ph meter so I can take readings and make adjustments to my mash.
Thanks for stopping by! Here are a few pictures I scavenged from my first brews: