Homebrewing - My first ever batch!
I have always wanted to start brewing beer at home, and for many reasons. I've wanted to learn the process first hand, from field to bottle. To learn what exactly makes each beer so different, from different malts, to hops, to yeast strains and brewing temperatures. And of course, It's way more economical to brew your own beer at home. The initial price for the equipment can look expensive, but in the long run, it much better. Where I live, Vancouver, B.C., It costs about $30 CAD for a 15 pack of Alexander Keiths, but for one batch of home brewed Pale Ale, I got 29 - 330ml bottles for $30. Twice the amount of beer, for the same price. So yea, if you ask me, it's a way better deal.
I went on to Barley's Homebrewing Supplies website to order my first home brew kit. I ordered the 3 Gallon Revolution Starter Kit for about $90 plus tax, and ordered the recipe for a Saperton Pale ale. This recipe was both an extract and Grains recipe so I was able to learn the process for both at the same time. The extract made sure I had the correct amount of sugars in the batch, while the grains helped me understand the All Grain process of brewing.
Later on during Fermentation I had to order Bottle caps, a bottle capper, an auto siphon and tablets for in bottle carbonation.
I filled my BrewPot with 9L of tap water and got it to 70C before adding the malted grains. I let it steep for 30 mins and then began Sparging. Since I'm a complete Noob to home brewing, I followed the instructions but didn't realize the instructions were for All Grain and not extract. So I ended up Sparging with too much water in and had to boil it off over a few hours. I sparged with 7L and discarded the Spent Grains. I added the Malt Extract and started bringing it to a boil. I have an issue with the big burner on my stove so i had to use the smaller one, so it took about an hour to get the pot to boil.
Once boiling, I added the first batch of hops. The instructions asked for 60 mins of boiling but like I said earlier, I added too much water, so it ended up boiling off after 3 hours. (This was a long 3 hours in my mind)
With 15 mins left in the boil, (Once I got it down to about 11.5L) I put the chiller in the pot to boil off all bacteria and also put in the second batch of hops. At took 15 mins to get the temperature down to an appropriate level. During that time, I sanitized the fermenter and the equipment I would need for transfer, and prepped the yeast packet (It was Dry yeast so it needed to sit in water briefly). I check the Original Gravity, OG - 1.049, and dumped the brewpot into the fermenter. I shook the fermenter to aerate it as much as I could, put the lid and blow off valve on, and stuck it in my closet.
After letting it sit in my closet for 3 weeks fermenting, it was time to bottle. I just used old beer bottles I emptied throughout the 3 weeks of fermentation. I mean, why buy bottles that are empty when I can buy them full right? I checked the Final Gravity, FG - 1.008, and sanitized the bottles, caps, and siphoning equipment. This was a part I made sure to do very, very well. I have heard horror stories about the bottle exploding and such because of the poor job sanitizing them before bottling. The last thing I want to do is pick glass out of the wall in my closet all because I poorly sanitized. I was able to bottle 29 bottles total and put one tablet in each bottle to make sure proper carbonation for each one. I put a small sticker on each cap so I know what the bottles are, (so they don't get mixed with the other batch of beer I am brewing). Then I stuck them in the closet for another week or two, depending on how the carbonation is after one week.
I just bottled a couple days ago so I am still waiting to taste them. Hopefully they will be ready this weekend but I may need to wait longer. I really enjoyed brewing at home, the whole process was something I had never done before so I had to learn a lot which I love. Below I will write down the approximate losses and such from this batch just for future reference.
Original Gravity - 1.049
Final Gravity - 1.008
Approximate ABV - 5.3%
Approximate Fermentation losses - 500ml
Initial steeping water - 9L
Sparge Water - 7L (Was way too much, should have been around 3L)
Thanks for reading and in the words of Charlie Papazian
"Relax, and have a homebrew"
The first shot is the one I take with my camera. The Second Shot is the one we share together. So cheers to you my friend!
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