What Was Your First Ever Brew?
It seems like an age since I made my first home brew beer, I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing and remember having an article printed out that explained how to make beer from malt extract. At the time I didn’t know what these ingredients were but I wrote them all down and if I remember correctly they were; Malt Extract, Pellet Hops, Crystal Malt and Yeast.
No Idea What I’m Doing
Now at this time I didn’t have any equipment. I did have my mums preserving pan that was used to make jam and that was it. The article listed all the equipment I would need. I thought to myself that all this stuff sounds like it’ll cost a lot and I didn’t even know whether the beer was going to be any good but I did know where I could get a demijohn. Literally every week I had seen them at a local car boot sale so one Sunday I went to get some, sure enough I got two 1 gallon demijohns for the princely sum of £1. I knew was my mums pan held about 10 litres and the demijohns together slightly less, I scaled the recipe down from 5 gallons to ten litres then went to a local home brew shop. I gave them my list of ingredients and said “I need this stuff to make beer”, with a bemused look they started gathering all the bits for me.
Home Brew Shops Are Helpful
They clearly knew I had no idea what these things were (I must of been about 17 at the time) they asked me, “what sort of hops do you want?” and “are you sure you want pellets?, you might struggle getting them out”. I asked what was the alternative and what’s the most common to which they supplied me with a few muslin bags and whole leaf East Kent Golding hops. Along with the ingredients I got some of the paraphernalia I saw in the article such as syphon tubing, thermometer, sanitiser and airlocks w/ bungs .
I got home and immediately set to work heating a pan of water into which I dumped my crystal malt. At this point I thought “this is going to be great”. It wasn’t until later that I realised “this isn’t right” as I attempted to fish out the crystal malt with a sieve. I came to the conclusion I should have used the muslin bag but instead powered through to boil the wort occasionally seeing grains swimming to the surface. I added all the malt extract and chucked in the hops which I’d cleverly tied up in both muslin bags. The recipe said to boil for 60 minutes so I left it for about 45 thinking that should be enough, “I mean why 60 minutes” I thought. I realised I had to add the remaining hops which of course I threw in loose because both my hop bags were rolling around in the boiling wort.
I finished the boil and cooled the wort in a sink filled with cold water. Once it was cool I set about pouring the beer into the demijohns through the sieve and a funnel. It was quite astonishing how much grain was still left in the beer, I must of emptied the sieve 4 or 5 times.
Is That A Beer?
Anyway, the beer fermented and I bottled it a few weeks later after buying a capper, and how did it taste I hear you ask . . . .
“It tastes like beer”
was the most common response, and it did, which was great considering. In fact some people even went on to say it was good. The moral of the story here is even if you don’t know what you’re doing carry on anyway, you never know how it will end up. I bought several books after this initial batch and things went a lot smoother.
The whole batch of my first ever beer went in a week or so except for one bottle. A bottle that I still had up until last week and I can tell you it hadn’t aged well which isn’t surprising really.
What was the first beer you ever made and how did it go? There has got to be somebody out there that was as oblivious as me, right?