So I was perusing wilwheaton.net, and I read a description of a day of brewing that Mr. Wheaton had recently enjoyed. My interest was piqued – he used words that where wholly unfamiliar to me, like wort, and sparge, and I found the process he described fascinating. A little while later, just before Christmas 2012, I decided to give it a go myself. I drove to my nearest homebrew shop and asked how one goes about starting to brew one’s own beer. After much enthusiastic advice, I walked out of there with a starter kit in my hands and excitement in my veins.
I should explain right now that I am not actually a big drinker of beer. It was (and is) the process that interested me – making something tangible using various pieces of arcane equipment is something of a hobby. I am one of the few people in the world that actually enjoys assembling flat pack furniture.
Anyway, I got it home and brewed my first batch (after bleaching everything, natch). I say brewed, I boiled a bit of water, emptied the tins in, put some more water in, pitched the yeast (and stirred it in, oops) and that was about it – just as the instructions advised. It was…unsatisfying. The beer, when it finally came out, seemed fine, if a little lacking, but see above re: my relative unfamiliarity with beer. I did a second batch after drinking it all, in much the same way. I always intended to move on to more advanced methods anyway, but I had no beer so just went ahead and did basically the same things as before.
Then, from a link on Mr Wheaton’s homebrew site which I had discovered in the mean time, I discovered John Palmer’s How to Brew. This site / book was a real eye-opener, and I wholeheartedly recommend it for beginners. One of the things it recommends is keeping a good record of your brewing activity, to help in future brews, so that is what I will be using this site for. It also recommends never following the instructions on the tin, so for my next brew day, I will be making some changes. But first, I need to find a pot.