I have been brewing my own beer for about half a year now. The idea behind it was to create something. To make something out of materials and be happy about it. So far I’ve come to a varying set of conclusions.
I like creating beer. It makes me feel cool that I can go in the shed and see a stash of beer that’ll last me the better part of the coming winter and everything that comes before it. I made that!
The brewing experience is somewhat dampened by the fact that home brewing mostly consists of putting syrup in a bucket and topping it up with water. Of course there are some tweaks and you have to add water, sugar and yeast in certain amount and a certain way. In one case I had to boil the hops first, but that was it. Kit brewing is something that gets boring quickly.
The next step is to go to malt extracts, hops and recipes or toy around with the kits. That’s where I am now and my first extract batch failed horribly. I still have to throw it away. I will bottle some of it to find out what something so foul smelling tastes like. Experience is key.
The British style beers (apart from Stout) are all quite similar. So far I’ve made a Scottish 80 shilling ale, an IPA and a Barley Wine and I can’t even tell the latter two apart. Maybe I chose the wrong kits, but I’m not overly fond of the ones I had. The Belgian kit I had was also a tad similar to the barley wine but more bitter. Only the Stout stood out. That still is my favorite beer.
For the coming batches I will try to make a regular beer first in small batches. No special stuff going on, just to see how it’s done. I’ll make small batches since extract is pretty expensive and I don’t want to throw away € 100 because I fuck up a couple times. I also have to work more organized since I sometimes make a mess of everything. That was probably the reason my beer went bad. That, and the fact that it’s very hard to cool it down quickly. I might have to get myself a wort cooler.
And the final conclusion: Bottling is, by far, the worst part of home brewing. I still haven’t found the most practical way of doing everything and after I’m done the kitchen looks like a beer-bomb exploded. There has to be a better way.