Monday, 4 July 2011

Brewing my own beer - A Brief History

I returned to Home Brewing in August last year, my previous attempts before had been a few kits which never turned out too well.  I started with the sole intention of making some cheap drinkable beer, the price of bottles of decent beer was becoming a bit restrictive, and I do like my beer.

I started off with a trip to my local Home Brew shop to pick up the essentials, some Malt extract, Brewers Gold Hops and some dried yeast, a plastic bucket and barrel.  This turned out to be a reasonable beer, but already I wanted more.  A plastic boiler later and another barrel and some more ingredients I managed a full 5 gallon boil using extract and more hops.  I progressed to steeping some grains, the beer kept improving so I wanted more.

The transition to All Grain was swift, I bought a second hand Cool Box style Mash Tun from a bloke on the forum, another plastic bucket to act as an HLT and there was no looking back.  What more could I want, well quite a lot as it turned out.

The plastic kegs were frustrating me, the lids wouldn't always seal, or I'd overprime and one would split, I needed a more reliable option, along came the cornelius keg,  I had been warned they would breed but I bought my first keg 3 months ago, I now have 11 of them.

I did have a dilemma though, a corny keg only holds 19 Litres which isn't really enough to warrant spending 6 hours in the garage brewing, the solution, a bigger brewery so I could fill 2 at a time.

A bigger brewery it was then, and of course all stainless steel and shiny, along with some temperature controlled fridges, all from freecycle, to act as fermenters, cold stores and a kegerator.

The brewery is finished for now, I have made 21 different beers from grain and am loving it, the most recent being my first attempt at a Weisse, more about that in another post.

Below is a quick shot of my kegerator controlled at 12 degrees centigrade and my shiny brewery.

The kegerator can hold 4 corny kegs, so I can have 4 different beers on tap,  I really do need to find something better than Post it notes for beer labels though.  I offer no apologies for the fact all my beer is kegged, it is the only way I can maintain 4 different beers in peak condition.  I can't be bothered with bottling, it's just too time consuming.  There is also space in there for some bottles as well though,  The latest MyBreweryTap 52 week beer club case is in there along with 12 bottles of beer from Magic Rock Brewery and a few from Thornbridge and some other US beers.  Plenty of beer for me.

The brewery is mainly home made, it comprises 2 x 70 Litre Stock Pots, one as an HLT heated by a 3 kW Immersion element, the other as a copper heated by Gas.

The Mash Tun is a 50 Litre Thermo Pot (insulated stock pot).

Having been through all this I no longer brew because it provides me with cheap beer, I brew because it provides me with Great Beer, and I enjoy the whole brewing process from designing the recipe to the Brew Day itself and eventually, the best bit, sampling the finished product.

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