Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tips and Info on using the Hydrometer

If you recall, I posted a question about hydrometers over at beertools.com.

Good morning,

I'm fairly new to brewing (I've had one good batch and one terrible batch) and I could use some help with my hydrometer... I don't know if it's just me, or if other newbie brewers have the same problem, but I can't get a clear reading on my hydrometer. Either the brew is too foamy in the sample tube and I can't get a good read, or I have trouble reading it along the meniscus. Or maybe I'm just a byproduct of the digital age and refuse to use a simple tool like a hydrometer the right way. But, I feel like I really wasting my time if I keep brewing but goof up on the gravity readings.

Do they make digital hydrometers for brewing purposes? Can anyone direct me to a site where I can find one? Or does anyone have any suggestions for getting past my inability to use the standard tool effectively?

Thanks for the help...

- Bryon

Well I got a couple replies from some seasoned beer makers...

Hi Bryon!

I have never heard of a digital hydrometer but that doesn't mean much in today's world. I know that using one of these tools can be some what frustrating and takes time to get the hang of it. You may want to consider using a Refractometer instead. Granted, the refractometer is not taking the easy way out, but after you learn how to use it you will rely on it anytime you need to take a quick accurate reading. I used to use a hydrometer and used it for many years until I tried a refractometer. I have not used my hydrometer since and have had outstanding results using only my refractometer. It allows you to take on the spot SG readings of your post and pre boil worts using only 2 or 3 drops of wort. It sure beats trying to fill a hydrometer tube full of boiling hot wort...or cooling the wort just to get a decent reading.

I would advise that you do some research about using the refractometer before rushing out and purchasing one as they do have their pros and cons and you'll have to decide if going this route is good for you.

I still have my hydrometer and will not do away with it as it is still one of the most viable tools to check the gravity of your brews in any stage that it is in. The decision is yours. I find that by using both tools, I tend to get very accurate results. I use the refractometer on brew days to quickly check the SG of the wort..then rely on the hydrometer to periodically check the fermentation during various stages such as during secondary fermentation.

I hope this reply has helped you and good luck!


There's one veteran beer maker that has never heard of a digital Hydrometer for beer making... But he did give me some food for thought regarding Refractometers

Here's another reply with some tips on using the Hydrometer...

To get rid of the foam fill up your test tube almost to the top. Then when you place your hydrometer in the tube the wort will overflow along with the foam. I will spin the hydrometer to get rid off any bubbles that are on the hydrometer...

Try and look at the level of the wort. Sometimes you take an average reading. I have a precision hydrometer that reads from 1.000 to 1.070. This is easy to read than the ones that have a large range. - Camper

Thanks Camper, I think ultimately practice and using tips and tricks like the ones you mentioned will help me master the hydrometer. Having said that, I would still love to find a digital solution...

The forum over at BeerTools.com is a great place to learn, get help and discuss beer making!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Things to consider before my next batch

I'm about to begin my third attempt at brewing beer. Just to recap, my first attempt resulted in some excellent beer, despite some challenges and mistakes made along the way. My second round of beer making was a complete flop. Something definitely went wrong as I produced 5 gallons of fowl tasting and smelling beer with inconsistent levels of carbonation.

Before I begin batch #3, I need to consider the problems I had in the first two attempts and plan better to over come some universal challenges. The big issues are:

  • I need to locate all my equipment
    • My wife and her friend cleaned every inch of the house while I was in Afghanistan
      • Because of this, everything I had tucked away in storage has been moved
  • Sanitizing the gear (Am I cleaning the equipment effectively?)
    • As stated above, the gear has been collecting dust in a basement closet for a year+
    • Need more C-Brite or something along those lines
    • Can my dishwasher be effective despite the rinse agent we use?
    • Have the plastic buckets from the brew kit been scratched inside?
      • Scratches make sanitizing an even bigger challenge
      • I may need to get glass carboys
  • Bottling never goes well for me
    • I need to get past the shortcomings of the two handed capper
    • I need a better siphon
      • It's probably not a great idea to start suction with your mouth
  • Do I need a new brew post?
    • I think the bottom of the cheap Wal*Mart special I purchased got a little singed
  • That damn hydrometer! (Maybe these guys can help...)
    • I can never get a clear reading on the hydrometer (Am I the only one?)
    • I either need to learn how to use it better or get a digital one
Additionally, my fermentation location is not what it use to be. My basement, which typically stays at a consistent temp within acceptable guidelines for beer making, may now be a liability. My house is split into two heating zones, but for some reason, the basement zone doesn't seem to be working. And we just got hit by a massive cold front. I fear the penguins that now live down there might drink any beer I put down there, not to mention the temps may just kill the beer completely.

This brings me to something I don't like to talk about... Real life! I suppose if half my house is cold enough to hand meat in, that should be something that trumps beer making on my to do list. I just had to take a break from writing this blog entry to go down below and fidget with the water heater so my wife's morning shower water didn't come out in cube form.
So, Monday morning, I'm calling the boiler guy, the beer will need to wait...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Are you a beer snob?

From time to time, I'll be taking a break from home brewing discussion to highlight beer related news stories that catch my eye. Here's the first one. Are "beer snobs" taking over the pub scene? One many seems to think so...

This article is pretty funny. Apparently Mike Seate, from the Tribune-Review, prefers his beer simple and cheap. In this piece he discusses the trend, as he perseaves it, of beer drinking becoming more like wine tasting mixed with a heavy dose of over priced geekiness. I love this particular quote:

To be fair, these places are usually dense with bearded guys in tattered wool sweaters who can rattle off the complex brewing methods of odd brands the way Star Trek enthusiasts can speak fluent Klingon. Likewise, some of our city's beer emporiums have elevated the formerly simple act of purchasing a pint to something akin to a haute wine tasting; elaborate back stories are offered about strange orders of Trappist Belgian monks who craft their beers in dank basements using recipes as closely guarded as the holy grail.

Evidently, Mr. Seate misses the good old days of cheap coors from a can and a no frill bowl of beer nuts. I personally live in a world where both ways of enjoying a tastey cold beer can live side by side in peace. I enjoy a quality beer, but will swing back a few cheap mass produced beers on an occasion. There's a time and place for every beer in my world.

Here's what the guys over at the beer advocate think... How about you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Round two was a disastrous brew

I had done it, I had brewed a great batch of beer, despite my clumsiness and technical issues. I look back and consider the pride in my mother's eyes when the entire family would rant and rave about a wonderful meal she cooked. I experienced a similar sense of satisfaction seeing friends and family enjoying my beer. Then I remembered Grandma's special "root beer"...

My parents never brewed, but there was the legend of Grandma's famous "root beer" that may not have been "root beer" at all. Rumor has it that her infamous beverage was more "beer" than "root" and that it packed a serious kick. Was this just some old family joke passed down by my cousins, or was Grandma a closet home brewer? I'll never know. And if my second attempt at brewing is any indication, brewing simply does not run in the family...

My second batch of beer was a complete failure. I think I had some handicapped yeast this time. The recipe kit I used (I brain dumped what brand it was, so don't ask...) came with a "slap pack" of yeast. You slap the pack and the yeast activates. You know you're good to go when the packet bloats up. But something may have gone wrong with the yeast. The amount of bubbles produced in the airlock was dismal, but it may have been an issue of sanitation, or something else.

I didn't get past my issues with the hydrometer either, I just can't get a clear reading. This should be simple, but for some reason it's not for me. I really could use a digital hydrometer. But does anyone use those for brewing? I've only found expensive scientific digital hydrometers, I need something cheap and effective. If anyone is reading this and can help, please leave a comment...

I also had some difficulty with the bottling process. Those damn caps didn't want to go on this time, and I'm not sure if it was because I was using a different brand of cap, or if it was something else. I sad it before and I'll say it again, two handed cappers suck!

Next time I'll use the "Grolsch" style bottles with the flip caps. No more cleaning smelly old empties, and no more crappy two handed capers and cheapo bottle caps!

Bottom line, when I opened the first few beers at the end of the entire process, they tasted OK. Not great, but not bad, just OK. But then I opened a few more and they either tasted like crap, or were flat. Some smelled terrible. I'm convinced the flat beers had something to do with poor capping on my behalf. The beers that tasted and smelled funny may be another issue all together. At least I think. If anyone reading this has some insight, I'm all ears...

I didn't check each individual beer. But after opening a few crappy bottles in a row, I gave up on the entire batch, and gave up on brewing up until now.

So, my wife is about to leave the country for about 3 months on military duty. Yes, we're both in the military. I'm going to take that time to try my hand at brewing once again.

Stay tuned for batch number three. Let's hope I can do Grandma proud this time around...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

From bottling day to tasting day

When I first decided to try home brewing, I also decided to blog about it. I had dreams of creating a site to chronicle my misadventures in home brewing, and to eventually turn it into a home brewing community. But that didn't happen...

I didn't continue the blog, nor did I get past two attempts at brewing beer... Pathetic! So the following account is from memory and is rather incomplete. I'm only really bothering to give you the humble blog reader some closure so we can move forward as I make an attempt to recapture the lost glory I so desperately wanted to achieve through home brewing. No glory for me, just complete and utter failure...

Now don't get me wrong, my first batch of beer was excellent. Better than your average store bought beer, despite a number of errors I made in the brewing process. I thought for sure my airlock incident would have doomed my beer, but all was well. I just hoped to document the entire process and spring board my efforts into a regular hobby. Sadly, I proved to be lazy.

When is the right time to bottle your beer? I've read that fermentation normally takes 3-5 days, but it's better to leave the beer in the fermenter for an extra 5-7 days to produce a beer with better clarity. All the homebrewing resources will tell you about your hydrometer readings, and how important they are. I'm embarrassed to admit this but, I had a difficult time reading my hydrometer. I pretty much guessed at what my initial and final reading were. I was more concerned about contaminating the brew, and got easily frustrated when dealing with my hydrometer. I can tell you however, when this batch was completed, it tasted great and had plenty of alcohol in it, hydrometer be damned!

For the life of me I can't remember how long I waited, but I can tell you I kept my eye on that damn airlock. The bubbles came at a steady pace and then, days later, eventually slowed nearly to a complete stop. I would tackle my hydrometer short comings on the next batch, or so I thought. Do they have digital hydrometers? At any rate, bottling time was right around the corner.

I needed empties
I had been collecting empty beer bottles for over a month. I needed help emptying enough bottles of store bought beer to bottle up 5 gallons of my own homemade brew. Fortunately there was no shortage of volunteers to help me in that task. My saint of a wife humored me as I started this new hobby, and allowed me to store a frat house worth of empties on top of our kitchen refrigerator. Every time someone closed the fridge, the sound of empties clinking against each other rang through the house. As my wife will tell you, when entertaining friends and family, nothing says "class" more than a kitchen full of empties.

When bottling day came, I faced the daunting chore of sanitizing all of those empties. Oddly enough, all those volunteers that so willingly helped me empty those bottles were nowhere in site. It's ironic, I love beer but I hate cleaning. And keeping your equipment and bottles clean is essential to making beer. This personal weakness could prove to be my undoing when it comes to realizing my goal of becoming a brew-meister.

I tried to clean each bottle individually in the kitchen sink using a water and C-Brite mixture, but the tedium of this task was too dull for me to continue at this snail's pace. The sooner I got the beer bottled the sooner I'd be drinking it.

What's C-brite? C-brite is a no rinse one step sanitizer and cleaner often used by homebrewers.

After washing a couple of bottles the slow way, I found myself in the bathroom, filling a large Rubbermaid storage bin with a water and C-brite mixture. The bin was large enough to sink all my bottles and let them sit in the mixture for a bit. Now this part was comical. Picture a man trying to sink empty beer bottles, 5 or 6 at a time. If I were ever stuck on that island from lost, and those "Dharma Initiative" guys dropped off a pallet of beer, I'm convinced I could construct a sea worthy vessel out of the empties. Those puppies want to float.

Once I got the bottles, my bottling bucket and the bottle filler and siphon cleaned, it was time to bottle my beer. First I had to pour my beer from the fermentation bucket to the bottling bucket.

Note: We're basically making beer in what amounts to big paint buckets here people. This is some cool stuff! If they ever bring back prohibition, I'm all set...

But back to the bottling... This is where the carbonation comes in. The recipe kit came with priming sugar (dried malt extract). The instrucitons told me to boil the sugar in a little water and cool it. Then, add it to the empty (cleaned and sanitized) bottling bucket. Then I used siphon to transfer the beer from the fermentation bucket to the bottling bucket, where the beer will meet the priming sugar solution. It's the solution that will "wake up" the yeast. It's key to avoid getting any of the sediment from the fermenter into the bottling bucket. From what I 'm told, that stuff can really make your beer bitter.

Note: Beer carbonation = yeast farts! It's true, look it up...

Once the beer is in the bottling bucket, the idea is to connect a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the fermentation bucket, and connect the bottle filler to the other end of the hose. The beer will flow down the tube into your bottles, once you open the spigot, with the help of a little thing I call gravity. The bottle filler is a brilliant yet simple idea. As you place the hard plastic tube into your beer bottle, the plug at the end is pushed up, allowing for your brew to flow. As your bottle is nearly full, you simply lift the filler and it's plug will close up. You need to leave a little empty space on top to allow room for the carbonation your yeast will be making after you cap the bottles.

Note: The above photo showing two guys bottling is not me nor is that my house. I found this image on the web, and it pretty much looks like my kitchen and exactly how my bottling procedure went down, minus the fact that I did not have a helper. A helper would have been nice. Or at least some one to take pictures for me... Sadly, I'm forced to swipe images from others, shameful really...

Sounds simple doesn't it? Well, in truth it is, but I somehow made a mess of the kitchen. But no sense crying over a little spilt beer right? The instructions and every tip I've seen online say, "Fill each bottle just to overflowing, remove the bottle filler and this leaves an almost perfect airspace at the top of the bottle." Fill to "overflowing!" You see, I was suppose to make a mess! My wife didn't buy it...

Now it was time to cap the bottles. Fortunately my starter kit included a bag of caps and a two handled capper. Capping your beer properly, as I would find out during my next batch, is critical. If a bottle is not capped properly, your beer will go bad.

I'll be frank, the two handed capper I had sucked. You need to apply equal pressure with both hands, while holding the bottle in place. Do you see the problem there? Where does that third hand come from? I found myself using my crotch as a bottle vice. That's a part of the process I kept from my tasting volunteers. Meh! Serves them right, where were they when I needed help?

After I bottled my brew I brought them back down to my basement, which seems to stay at a constant temp all year round. I tucked them in for a two week nap and covered them in dark plastic to keep harmful light away from them.

A couple weeks later, I opened my first bottle and it was perfect. Even my wife liked the flavor, and at the time, she was not a fan of beer. Really good stuff! With one successful batch of home brew under my belt, it was only a matter of time before I tried again.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Brew-Day step by step

Brew day step by step
After cleaning up the gear, I started off by following the Homebrewing for Dummies instructions. They were pretty easy to follow, but I'll paraphrase them below and add my own thoughts:
  1. Fill your brew pot about 1/2 full with "clean" tap water or bottled water and then place it on the largest burner of your stove. Set the burner on medium-high . (My stove is weak, so I cranked it all the way to high.)
  2. Remove any plastic lids from the kit's ingredients and set they yeast packets aside. (My ingredients came in a metal can and sealed plastic pouches, so not plastic lids for me.)
  3. Remove the paper label from the can(s) of extract and place it in a saucepan filled half-way with tap water. Place the saucepan on another burner set to medium.
  4. Flip the extract can every couple of minutes to warm it evenly. Don't forget to use pot holders! Note: Here's where the Dummies instructions fell a little short for me. My kit included some dry malt extract and crushed grains. Somewhere between steps 4 and 5 I looked at my ingredients and realized I had a problem. My first instinct was to call my local brew supply shop and beg for help. Unfortunately their answering machine picked up. I left a brief message and my phone number. I decided to give the recipe kit instructions a quick read and all my questions were answered.
    I had to dump the grain into a bag that also came with the kit. The bag was similar to cheese cloth. Once filled, I had to tie a knot at the open end of the bag and drop it into the warming water in the brew pot. Instantly a nice reddish ale color began to permeate the water. Things were beginning to resemble beer already, very satisfying. They had to sit there until they reached 160° - 170°, but I didn't have a thermometer. (Note to self, purchase beer making thermometer.) So I winged it. I was careful not to leave them in too long removing them well before the water boiled.
  5. Once the brew pot is boiling its time to open the can of extract and dump the contents into the boiling water. This can be a little tricky as the can is too hot to hold and oven mitts don't provide very good grip. I'd avoid the electric can opener and opt for an old style hand crank can opener. It will make things a bit easier and hopefully less messy. Spilt extract means less flavor for the beer.
  6. Once you manage to open the extract do your best to empty all of it into the boiling brew pot. use a long handled spoon or a rubber spatula. Note: I had to defer to the recipe kit instructions yet again and realized I had to also dump the dry malt extract at this time. Something I think is important to note is that the steam rising from the boiling pot can and will cause a portion of your dry malt to stick together if not dumped quickly and efficiently. This can be potentially very messy!
  7. Very important! Stir the extract/water mixture immediately to prevent scorching the extract at the bottom of the pot. You now have your very first wort! Congratulations! According to Webster's
    Wort (rhymes with dirt)
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English wyrt; akin to Middle High German w├╝rze brewer's wort, Old English wyrt root, herb
    Meaning: a liquid formed by soaking mash in hot water and then fermented to make beer
  8. Top off the brew pot with more clean water, but keep your level a few inches from the top of the pot to prevent messy and costly boil-overs
  9. Bring the wort to a boil. This may take some time as the tap water has cooled the wort considerably. At this point Brew's Best calls for the bittering hops included in the recipe, so in they go. It was at this point that my wife came home early from work. I remembered the lady at the home brew supply shop mentioned something about your house smelling like a brewery when you made your own beer. That's a good thing right? My wife walked in and said, "It smells like brewery in here!"
    Note: Don't forget to open a few windows and let fresh air in when making your own beer. Your wife will thank you!
  10. Dummies will tell you to boil the wort for an hour, but my recipe kit also called for finishing hops after 55 minutes of boiling. After 5 more minutes of boiling it's time for some quick cooling.
  11. Put stopper in the kitchen sink and place the covered brew pot in it. Let cold water fill the sink to rapidly cool the wort. I added some ice cubes to the sink water to assist with the cooling. According to Dummies, "Freshly brewed beer is warm and sweet, it is the perfect breeding ground for microbiological opportunists." Yuck! I had to change out the water and ice several times to get the wort cool enough to receive the yeast.
  12. While the wort cools, pour some water into a sanitized bowl and empty the yeast package into it to gently wake up the dormant yeast, readying them for the fermentation process that will hopefully soon follow. This process is known as proofing.
  13. At this point, It's time to dump the now cooled wort into the fermenter and top it off with cold clean water. You want to fill it up to the 5 gallon marker and pour it vigorously to help aerate and complete the wort. The vigorous pour will add oxygen which will help the yeast work it's magic.
  14. Now you're in the home stretch. Time to take a hydrometer reading. The hydrometer looks a bit like a giant thermometer, but it in fact measures the specific gravity of your brew. Basically it tells you if your brew is done fermenting later in the process and it allows you to calculate the alcohol potential of your brew. I'll talk more on that later. According to my recipe my starting gravity should be about 1.040 - 1.048. Unfortunately, with all the foam at the top of my wort, reading the hydrometer was a challenge. I had to use my stirring spoon to clear away some of the foam. But I got a similar reading.
  15. Now it's time to pour the hydrated yeast into the wort and give them a hardy stirring with my brew spoon.
  16. Place the lid onto the fermenter and tuck the wort in for it's long nap. Only one last thing to do, inserting the airlock. Learn from my mistake! As I inserted the airlock I pushed a little too hard. The rubber seal around the whole in the lid popped out and sunk to the bottom of the fermenter. After a few minutes of trying to scoop it out with my brew spoon, I almost gave up completely. Instead, I quickly sanitized the bottling bucket and then slowly poured the wort into it carefully looking for the rubber seal. Finally, at the end, I found it hiding within the sediment at the bottom. I scooped it out with my brew spoon and re-sanitized the lid, seal and airlock. After pouring the wort back into the fermenter, I carefully place the top and airlock back on top of the fermenter.
    My fear was that with all this additional handling, I may have introduced some contaminants into the mix. If I did, all that work would have been in vain, only time would tell.
  17. I placed the fermenter in my basement and set the downstairs thermostat to maintain an average temperature of 65° - 70 °, the ideal temperature range for healthy yeast and fermentation. After checking the airlock a few hours later, I found no bubbles in the airlock. (Bubbles indicate fermentation.) But after a final check later that night before bed, I saw some bubbles. The following day, around 24 hours later, I saw a very satisfying amount of bubbles. Perhaps all was not lost. It would be weeks before I would know if my first attempt at making my own beer had worked. The fermentation process itself would last at least a week if not more. For now, I would have to wait. Stay tuned for bottling day, cheers!
Note: This part III of my first attempt at home brewing that I originally included on an older site. The site is no longer up and running, and I only made one more batch of beer after this attempt (as of Jan 15th, 2007). But I hope to change all of that in the coming weeks and months. I intend on documenting my progress here on this blog. I've included these old entries to show the full story of my adventures in home brewing. I never finished documenting my first batch, and completely skipped over my second. So I will make two more posts (one to wrap up batch 1 and the second to tell the sad story of batch 2) to close the loop, and then you can join me as I begin my third batch and move forward from there.

My first brew day has arrived!

After a long 7-day stretch at work, I finally have a day off, and the house to myself. What better day than today to start making my own home made beer? As I told you last time, I purchased a True brew started kit and I have been reading my trusty copy of Homebrewing for Dummies. I was ready to go, or so I thought...

The True Brew kit did not include a proper pot for cooking up my first batch of wort, nor did it include the 5 gallons worth of beer bottles I would need after the fermentation process was complete. I was aware of the kit's shortfalls before I purchased it, but had forgotten to pick up at least the pot I needed between the day of my kit purchase and today. So, off to the local Wal*Mart I went. If you pick up a kit like mine, remember to grab yourself a new stainless steel pot, of at least 16 quarts with a lid. Something like this pot will do fine, but you may want to go a bit bigger to prevent your wort from boiling over. I went with a 22 quart pot, but something like this 20 quart is a good compromise. Everything I have read says the pot you use for making beer should not be used for anything else to prevent any contamination. So much for using the old lobster/pasta pot I "inherited" from my old college roommate. By the way, thanks for the old pot 2N. The bottles would wait as I would not need them for a week or more.

Homebrewing for Dummies will tell you to follow their directions and ignore the instructions that came with your recipe kit, but I suggest you at least read through them once before you begin. In addition to canned malt extract, my recipe kit included dry malt extract, crushed grains and two kinds of hops. The beginner's brewing steps in the Dummies book didn't mention these ingredients or the times to introduce them to your wort. Apparently, beginner's recipes generally only have the canned malt extract, perhaps my recipe kit was more of a intermediate recipe. Oh well.


Everything I have read stresses the importance of sanitization. Bacteria and fungi can make an otherwise perfectly good batch of beer both smelly and awful tasting! (For the record, beer yeast is actually a fungus, but what I would call a kinder more gentler fungus.) To fight off the evils of bacteria and unsavory fungi, I sanitized my beer making equipment as best I could with the C-Brite no rinse one step sanitizer and cleanser that came with my True Brew kit. I had my doubts about how sanitized the stuff actually got, and this in turn made me very nervous. Only time would tell if I did a good enough job sanitizing.

Note: This post is part of a short series of "journal entries" I originlly posted on an older site when I first tried home brewing. I never kept up with that site, and didn't get as far as I would have liked to with my home brewing. But I hope to get back on track and document my progress on this new site. I thought these original "journal entries" should be carried over to the new blog for posterity. I hope you enjoy the story of my humble beginnings and stick with me as I go from brewing novice to seasoned beer maker.

My first brew kit

Note: This and the next few posts tell the story of my first foray into the world of home brewing. They were on my original website, which I have since taken down. But I thought these original "journal entries" should be carried over to the new blog for posterity. I hope you enjoy the story of my humble beginnings.

And so it begins

Today I decided to take the fist step and purchase some home brewing equipment. According to Homebrewing for Dummies, there are key equipment items every first time brewer needs. The book suggested picking up a prepackaged starter kit to get your feet wet. I went with a True Brew Equipment Kit, which includes the following:
  • True Brew Handbook
  • 6.5 Gallon Primary Fermentation Bucket with lid
  • 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with spigot
  • Fermometer adhesive fermentation thermometer
  • Fermetech Springless Bottle Filler
  • Fermentech 3/8" Auto-Siphon
  • 5' 5/16" Flex Vinyl Tubing
  • Hydrometer
  • Emily Double Lever Capper
  • Bottle Brush3 Piece Airlock
  • 8 pack C-Brite Sanitizer

I also picked up a Brewer's Best, English Brown Ale recipe kit. Which is, according to the label, "Packed with flavor, this medium-bodied brew has a malty character surrounded by a nutty aroma with crystal malts providing good balance." Brewer's Best also boasts, "easy-to-follow instructions for brewing 5 gallons of premium, prize winning brews." What could possibly go wrong?

You can pick up a similar equipment and ingredients package deal online for about $111, but I was eager to get started and there is a small supply shop down the road from my house.
I think this package might be a better deal in retrospect.

Sadly I have a full schedule at work this week, so I wont be brewing until next weekend at the earliest. I'll check in next week with more info on my purchase and hopefully the details of my first brewing experience. Stay tuned for brew day!

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