One year ago today...

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hamachi

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...I brewed my first ever batch of homebrew, an American Cream Ale extract kit. Today, 47 batches later (most of them MIAB), I am attempting to brew my first IPA. I'm not a big fan of the style, but I do like Lagunitas IPA, so I decided to take a stab at cloning it.

I still have one remaining bottle from my very first batch, which I plan to drink tonight to commemorate my one-year anniversary as a homebrewer. Then, since I don't expect it to be very good, maybe I'll follow up with an English Mild from my latest batch.

Homebrewing is an endlessly fascinating hobby, and HBT is probably the best resource on the internet for learning about it. So to all of you regular posters, irregular posters, and grumpy but knowledgeable curmudgeons from whom I have learned so much: Thank you!

I'm not sure how drinkable the IPA from today's batch will be after a year of hop fade, but I do plan to set aside a bottle for my two-year homebrew anniversary. For now, though, I have a hot scotchy and some beer waiting for me...
 
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hamachi

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What have you learned in your first year that might help others be better?
It's really hard to summarize a year's worth of knowledge given that I knew almost literally nothing at the beginning. Here's how ignorant I was: The first kit I got said it had "all you need" to brew a batch of beer. So I was all ready to brew one day. I opened the kit, read the instructions, and discovered that, oh, I need a fermenter, and I need an airlock, and so on. So needless to say, I didn't brew that day. But I did get online, ordered a bunch of equipment, and was ready to go a week or so later.

Anyway, besides the obvious stuff, some perhaps non-obvious things that I discovered which work for me include:
  1. If you divide the wort into multiple pots and dilute after the boil, you can easily brew even 5+ gallon batches on a mediocre electric kitchen stove.
  2. With minimal equipment, the mash-in-a-bag approach combines the best aspects of brew-in-a-bag and a more traditional mash tun.
  3. Silicone tubing is much better than vinyl on both the hot side and cold side.
 

Stormcrow

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Congrats! I've been at it longer, but you've blown past me on batch numbers. I figured I would get away from stove top BIAB eventually, but see no reason to change now. If I ever run a 220 circuit in the basement, I'll put an element in the kettle and move down there, but so far I couldn't be happier with how well kitchen brewing has worked out.
 
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hamachi

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How large are these "batches"? 🤔
Anywhere from 1 gallon to 5.5 gallons, with 2.5 and 5 being the most common.

Some of these have been split batches. For example, last weekend I brewed up 6 gallons of wort and divided it into 3 batches:
  1. Hefeweizen (2.3 gallons)
  2. Belgian Wit (2.0 gallons)
  3. Blue Moon-ish clone (1.7 gallons)
The main difference between the three was the yeast, but I also boiled up a coriander/tangerine peel "tea" which I added only to batch #2 and #3.

So in coming up with the total of 47 batches, I would count the above as 3 batches even though it was just one brew day. (I just checked, and those 47 batches came from 37 brew days.)

P.S. I had my 1 year old cream ale today. It was orange from oxidation, but the taste wasn't too bad.
 

Stormcrow

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There's a mystery bottle of one of my homebrews in a swing top sitting in the back of my parents' fridge. I saw it over there when I was visiting last week. No idea what it is, but I plan to find out. I seriously doubt it is anything that has aged well. ;)
 

seatazzz

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I've been doing MIAB for a few years now, and will never go back. The ease in cleanup alone is enough to keep me at it. And having clear(er) wort going into the fermenter is another plus. I can do without the grain bits in my hair (and all over the rest of me) after shaking out the bag, but that's easily fixed.
 

Cloud Surfer

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I’m a new Covid brewer too. Did my first brew on 29 July 2020. So I’ve just ticked over a year. I’ve loved the journey, all the knowledge I have now and the equipment I own. I’ve started winning in beer comps which is a nice feeling. I remember clearly the brew where my beer went from home brew level to craft beer level.
 
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