Hello everyone! I've been lurking here for a few months absorbing new information (which is the sort of thing I do pretty much every time I pick up a new hobby.) I finally decided to register, posted a few times in EdWort's Apfelwein threads, and now...here I am, posting about beer
I admit that I'm still pretty new to all of this. I recieved a Mr. Beer kit last year after Christmas (I know I know, groans all around.) It sat in my basement for most of last year, not quite forgotten...but also not used. Then I decided that it would be a kick to have home-made beer available for Thanksgiving, so I finally busted it out. I brewed their "Whispering Wheat" kit, and decided to stick strictly to the instructions for my first time. The resulting beer wasn't as bad as so many make Mr. Beer stuff out to be around here, but I personally wasn't going to call it good either. My friends all loved it, but I found it to be a little thin, and didn't taste like any of the other wheat beers I had ever had. Regardless of the results, it fueled my interest enough, and in short time, I had located my LHBS, found a lot of informative websites and forums (such as this one,) and had purchased and read a copy of Palmer's "How to Brew."
After that first batch and my resulting explosion of research, I was ready to experiment. I wanted to use up the rest of my Mr. Beer ingredients, but did not want to stick to their recipies and instructions. For my second batch, I took one of their Oktoberfest kits, and added a half can (about 1.8lb) of dark LME, and a pinch each of cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. I was shooting for a nice spiced holiday beer for New Years, and that one came out much better than the first! I got a lot of compliments, and one of my friends (who wants to get into homebrewing once he has the space for it,) was shocked that it was my second attempt.
My third, and last Mr. Beer batch was kind of a "lets put a bunch of stuff together and see what happens" brew. I used a can each of their "West Coast Pale Ale" and "Canadian Draft" LME, added the 2nd half of the Briess dark LME I had, and almost a pound (an entire bottle) of orange blossom honey. I pitched all of this on the yeast cake from my 2nd batch. Partly due to planning, and then due to not having time, this one sat in the fermenter for 6 weeks. It's in bottles now...we'll see how it turns out. It tasted pretty good flat though.
In between the 2nd and 3rd batches, I dropped over $200 on "real" brewing supplies- the obsession is on now! I've already had a batch of Apfelwein fermenting since just before Christmas, and now two nights ago, I finally brewed my first beer with the good equipment. I told my wife (who loves beer and even loves the smell of cooking wort- I'm a lucky guy!) that she could pick the first beer. Her response- blueberry wheat. Here's the recipie I used:
6.6lb Briess Wheat LME
1 oz Hallertau added @ 60 min
1 can (3.1lb) Oregon blueberry puree
1 packet Nottingham (rehydrated @ 75 degrees for 15 minutes)
I thought about doing a late addtion of LME, but ended up just putting all of it into the boil at once. I started off boiling 2 gallons, by the time I added the LME, it looked like I was over 2.5 gallons. By the time I was done boiling, I was back down to 2 gallons. That plus 3 gallons of filtered water is currently fermenting in my basement at around 68 degrees. I'm planning to let it sit until next weekend (aka, about 10 days,) and then I'm going to rack the beer onto the blueberry puree in a 6 gallon Better Bottle (it's in a bucket with a gunked-up blowoff tube now
) I'll probably let it sit in the secondary with the fruit for at least 2 weeks, and then I'll bottle.
Speaking of blowoff tubes, I'm glad that I read about the necessity of those with wheat beers! It was just starting to foam into the tube 24 hours after pitching, by 30 hours (this morning) it was full of gunk and blowing bubbles out like mad! Fun stuff
I'm eager to see how this turns out...between this and the Apfelwein, there will be much
in my house in the coming month(s) (that, and I already have a mental list of things I want to brew up...)