So, I've lurked these forums for a while. Was going to start brewing a while back but suddenly got sent to some training south of Reno, for a deployment that never happened. Anyway long story short, contract with the Corps up and being a full time student, I have time for hobbies now.
I went to my local store, HeartsHomebrew.com (pretty much a warehouse for the website, but I prefer brick or mortar).
I got this: http://www.heartshomebrew.com/home_brew_beer.cgi?cart_id=5919377.19122*sH3H83&xm =on&p_id=BKIT2M&xm=on&ppinc=dave2full
I tried to buy some other supplies there, but they run an honest business and suggested cheaper alternatives. I tried to buy a bunch of 1 liter pop-top bottles and they told me it would be easier to just save bottles from what I drink. I also tried to get a pot, but he suggested the local wolly world where I would save money.
He covered my options between the deluxe and the ultimate starter kits they offered. Basically they both do the same job, the ultimate just makes things easier. I figured I'd rather learn the hard way so I can appreciate the easy way to do things when I decide to upgrade.
With the kit, came my choice of beer recipe, I went with this:
"American Special Amber"
This beer is an emerging American style. It gets its color 34.99
from the Caravienne Belgian Grain malt and small
amounts of chocolate malt. There will be hop presence
both in the bittering and aroma. This beer can be made as
ale or a lager and will have a medium body with a crisp
finish. Although there are many versions of this style we
chose Sam Adams Lager as our inspiration.
3.3 lbs. Gold Liquid Malt Extract
1 lb. M&F Light Dry Malt
2 lbs. Lager Grain M&F (cracked)
1 lb. British Pale Grain (cracked)
½ lb. Caravienne Belgian Grain (cracked)
2 oz. Chocolate Grain (cracked)
2 oz. Hallertauer Hops
1 oz. Tettnang Hops
1 pkg. Wyeast Liquid Yeast - California Lager or American
Place grains into 1½ gal. cold water. Heat to 160°F.
Remove from heat cover & allow to sit for 60 min. Sparge
with 1 gal. 170°F water & return liquid to brewpot. Add Malt
& 2 oz. hops. Return pot to heat & boil for 50 min. Remove
from heat & add final 1 oz. hops. Steep for 5 min. Stain
into 3 gal. cold water & pitch yeast when cooled to 80°F or
Yealds 5 gal.
I followed these instructions: http://www.heartshomebrew.com/home_brew_beer.cgi?cart_id=5919377.19122*m81Nz1&pa ge=general_partial_mash_instructions.html
A few mistakes my buddy and I may be making:
1. The starter wort sat undisturbed for roughly 26-28 hours. If I recall correctly the package said 1-3 days and age seems to make beer much better from what I've read here. But, hell, we're new and excited.
2. In attempts to give you guys the best information possible - I JUST found the actual information on the recipe. However, he gave me a bag of everything and I just assumed (possibly a mistake) they were in correct portions when it was brew time. The only thing I did not use all of was the dried malt extract
, which only seemed to be called for when making the starter wort
. I could be wrong.
3. We kind of sanitized everything on the spot in my sink with B-Brite Cleanser
. However, I used a wood spoon to help strain the wort through the colander. I also used the same wood spoon to stir the malt extract in the boiling wort. This wood spoon not having been cleaned with the B-Brite, and wood being the most absorbant material spoon I can think of - possibly with some soap traces. It did have a clear coat over it though, not a standard wood spoon - I'm hoping for the best.
4. Liquid level in the carboy - the instructions said top it off. We weren't sure where to top it off
to. We topped it off
just short of the neck.
Here's some pictures. If you guys catch anything from the pictures we may be doing wrong - please let us know...
"Mashing" the grains...
"Sparging" wort trapped in the grain...
My man room, and the blowoff/bucket setup, last night... (we added water cause we were worried the foam would not get into the blowoff at that level - that was our major source of confusion)
This morning, green-ing foam (I assume hop sediment?) and about an inch of sediment settled on the bottom (we did shake the carboy before setting it down last night). Hundreds of small rapid-surfacing bubbles. We added the foil to keep an opportunistic Siberian Husky out