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.