Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Friday, May 30, 2008

I remember when I started homebrewing

Adam, over at Beer Bits2 has started his own version of the Session, specifically for home brewing bloggers, for now called "Homebrew Blogging Day". The deal is to select a topic and get home brew bloggers to blog about it. This first round will be hosted by Adam, he'll post highlights on his blog, and the following month a new topic and a new host will be picked. Wash, rinse, repeat...

For this first go at it, the chosen topic is: "I remember when I started homebrewing"

So, here's the story of my first foray into home brewing...

I was very excited when I finally got off the couch and purchased my first set of brewing equipment. For some reason I was obsessed with finding the perfect (yet cheapest) brew pot I could find, but settled for something from Wal*Mart instead. Hey, I was brewing on a budget!

My first attempt at homebrewing was relatively successful, despite all the beginner's mistakes I made. Successful in that what came out of the bottles a few weeks later was in fact beer and not just dirty water... Sadly I'm not sure I can say the same thing about my second batch.

On my first batch, I had some boil overs and a little confusion on ingredients and timing due to conflicting guidance between my brew kit's instructions and the "Homebrewing for Dummies" tutorial. To top it all off. I actually pushed the seal around the airlock on the fermentation bucket straight through and it sank all the way to the bottom of the bucket! It was nearly disastrous... But after all was said and done, my first go at it produced a beverage that tasted pretty damned good to me, so I was happy enough...

Those that were brave enough to sample my brew tried to be supportive and encouraging, but they weren't crazy for it. Most of them weren't really what I would consider beer experts though, so I didn't lose any sleep over their reactions. Screw them if they didn't like it, more beer for me!

I remember my wife actually thought it tasted pretty good, and she isn't really much of a beer drinker. Then a gain, maybe she was just trying to be a team player. I clearly remember that my friend's wife was actually grossed out at the thought of drinking something that I boiled up on my stove and let sit in a "paint bucket" for a week in my basement before I pumped it into used beer bottles with a rubber hose. Bah! What did she know? Everyone is a critic!

As I said before, my second batch came out terrible. I think I got lucky on the first go, and my lack of attention to detail finally caught up to me on round two. After that I took a year or so off, and finally got back into brewing about a year and a half ago. When I tried again, I brewed up an English Pale Ale (from a kit) and it came out great! When one of my more critical friends said my beer was , "...much better than Bass Ale," to a bunch of the guys at the bar one night, I was instantly hooked on home brewing. I just needed the taste of success and a little validation.

"I get by with a little help from my friends..."

I now have 5 successful batches under my belt, and plan to move on to all grain brewing pretty soon... Stay tuned and keep tabs on my as I progress!



  1. Man, my first batch of beer was horrible. It turned out pretty solventy. The temperature was within range though. I moved to partial mash right away for my second batch, did a pale ale, and it was great! :) Now, after a bit a determination and hard work, I'm working at the local home brew shop. Best job I've ever had! So, good luck to every one just getting started. Don't be discouraged if you get a bad batch, it happens to the best of us.


    P.S. - I searched the blog for an email to contact you at, but couldn't find one. If you could let me know how to get a hold of you that would be great. Thanks!

  2. Craig,

    I'm eager to move on to grain batches, but I've been dragging my feet on that. And now with a new job, and a new baby on the way, my time maybe getting more and more limited. My blog updates have already slowed...

    Good advice on the not giving up though. It's a fun hobby, I REALLY enjoy it.

    Working at a brew shop sounds like a blast, I've been trying to get a second job as a tour guide at a local brewery, but no luck yet...

    You can email me at bryon{at]hombrewbeer.net

    Thanks, and take care!


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