Well I finally made my first "real" beer, IE not using hopped extract and not apfelwein and I MAY have went a little crazy. I found a recipe online for an "imperial stout" though it seems like it will turn out nothing like one. Here's the recipe:
6lb Light DME
6ln Amber DME
1lb Dark DME
2 oz Northern Brewer 60min
1 oz Perle 15 min
1 oz hollertau 15 min
Safale S-04 yeast
3 gallon boil, 5 gallon batch.
Well things went a little sideways when it came time to actually make this stuff. I only have a 10 qt pot at home, which I thought was 3 gallon. I'd heard things about late-addition extract brewing so I did the boil with only 1 pound of DME and then planned to add the rest later. Well all 13 pounds of malt wouldn't fit in my pot with the water after I was done with the boil so I had to dump some of it in the carboy early to make room, then I had it boil over and make a big mess...plus huge amounts of malt don't dissolve easily in small amounts of water and it turned into a large piece of candy on the top of the pot. This caused the boil to go from about an hour to about 90 minutes.
Then once it was in the fermentor I filled it back up to 5 gallons with sanitized cold water, forgetting that I have to add an additional 1/2 gallon for my yeast starter I made a few days before. Naturally, this led to the top of my bucket popping off and getting sticky proto-beer all over the top of my fridge where the bucket is being kept. I was afraid of it happening again, which I now realize it couldn't, so I dumped out about 1/2 gallon of wort into the sink to make extra room in the bucket.
this was on friday. Today the airlock stopped bubbling so I decided to try a sample of pre-beer to see if I could taste anything horribly awry. To my amazement, the cloudy liquid that filled my test cup smelled like beer. good beer. and to my even further amazement, it tasted like beer! Of course it looks and tastes nothing like an "imperial stout" as the recipe indicated, but whatever you'd call it, it all turned out ok.
So a few lessons learned for sure, but it looks like once all of this is done i'm gonna have 5 gallons of pretty kick ass beer. It's been a long journey to this point, but I think I made it.