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Post #1001 Photo Journal

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jwalk4

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Post #1001

Many of you have more posts, but I am pretty proud that I have hit 1000. So in honor of a big round number, I thought I’d share a little photo journal of some of my more memorable batches to date. I’m going to post it here in the Beginners Forum because I want this thread to represent my journey from where I started, to where I am now: making kick ass beers and impressing friends and family.

First beer


(first beer)

Here is my first beer: A British Brown Ale turned Dark Belgian.

You - “What!??!?”
Me – “I know, right?”

It was a 1 gallon LME recipe with some dark crystal steeping grains. However, not knowing anything about fermentation aside from the fact that “yeast make beer,” I overpitched a pack of Cooper’s at more than quadruple the proper pitch rate and had no fermentation control. The result was as you’d expect (see below), and ended up super dry and ester-y. So I called it a Belgian and figured it was good. I was more impressed that I actually made beer!




(blow off tube)


First All Grain


(all grain kitchen shot)

It took me 2 more one gallon extract batches to make me jump to all grain. I did it because, by then, I was already hooked on this hobby, not because I believed that all grain would give me better beer. In fact I kind of assumed the opposite! This was my first all grain brew day: a 3 gallon batch utilizing my first DIY mash tun.




(DIY tun)


(3 gallon and 1 gallon fermenting)

Here was the result of my 1st all grain beer. I shared it at a family reunion and it got rave reviews from some uncles who wouldn’t hesitate to tell me if it sucked. I have to admit, this beer turned out way better than expected considering I took no notes, no hydrometer readings, and had a ****ty thermometer at the time.


( 1st all grain, a pale ale in two Steam Whistle glasses)

Apartment Brewing
Using the equipment and the all grain set-up shown above, I made many a fine beer. But I moved out of my parent’s house and into an apartment, so my brewery had to get “lean” and I bought no new brew equipment for a year or two.

…

Except for a kegerator!


(kegerator shot)

I got tired of moving bottles and buckets around in an already cramped space. My fiancé even more so! So I bought 2 mini kegs that held 3 gallons each and I continued to brew apartment style. I faced all the same troubles as many of you apartment guys: unable (unlawful) to use a propane burner on the patio, ****ty stove, lack of fermenting space, etc., etc.

Still, I managed to make some decent beer with the help of a swamp cooler that would stay out for 3-4 days during primary. At this time, I learned to appreciate smaller beers; first, for their fast ferment and turnaround time, but second for their flavor and complexity. I made a lot of Dark Milds in that apartment.


(dark mild)


Town House Brewing

More space = bigger brewing capacity!


(outside town house shot)

It was in my town house that I felt that I really began to master my process and is where I made most of my beers.


(brown ale) – My own concoction


(blonde ale) – @Biermuncher ‘s recipe


(amber ale) – @Yooper ‘s recipe


(altbeir) – @Gavin_C’s recipe


(pale ale) - My own concoction, I think


(m)Oktoberfest)

Finally, in a space I could call my own, I made many equipment upgrades that would allow me to finally brew full 5 gallon batches, without the need to scale recipes down. I bought a new (bigger) brew pot, a new (bigger) cooler for a tun, and my first @Wilserbrewer bag! My biggest investment, however, was the SS BrewBucket with FTS Temp Control.


(Brewbucket)

Finally taking control of my ferm-temp has really elevated my confidence when it comes to my brewing skill. Whether or not temperature control actually improved the beers has yet to be conclusively proven, but I no longer stress about whether or not I could be making better beers than I am/was. Alleviating the worry about yeast health and unwanted esters has made brewing much more enjoyable.


Back to my Parents
Sadly, the good times at the townhouse did not last. After a poorly re-finished roof, a mold explosion in the bedroom, and a small electrical fire caused by oversized fuses jammed into the panel (thank you, landlord!), caused my now pregnant fiancé, my two dogs, and I to move into my parents’ house while we saved for one of our own. Again, I had to get lean on my equipment, not wanting to take up too much room in a place that was not ours. I even contemplated selling the whole lot because I wasn’t sure when I would be able to brew again. However, I was talked back off the ledge by my family that I could store the basics, and that I might find time to brew yet.

I didn’t brew at all this winter, and even went quiet on Homebrewtalk. My fiancé and I had our baby, and we have recently bought a house. I may not have all the time now in the world for brewing, but I made my first 10 gallon batch last month, and it turned out great!




(shot of brewday)


(most recent pale ale shot)


The Future


(shot of house)

So here it is: the site of my next brewery. This time it’s all mine. I move into the new home in July, and it comes complete with a cold cellar for fermenting, and a back yard space for a brew shed. These projects will have to wait a few months/ years because I am the proud new father of a baby boy, but I have an agreement with my fiancé that, baring any extenuating circumstances, I get to brew once a month. So I have that going for me.

I’m also looking forward to the next 1000 posts. The Hombrewtalk and homebrewing community has been exceptionally welcoming and helpful, more so than any other hobby I’ve been into to date

Cheers to everybody,

Jeff
 

SlitheryDee

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That was interesting! Ups and downs, twists and turns, but you somehow brewed through it all lol. Congrats on the new baby and on finally acquiring a proper space for your hobby. I have to make sure I keep records of these early brews just like you did.

I've been living in my current house for 11 years now. It came with a perfect space for brewing in the form of mini house/structure in the back yard that I never had much use for until now. I don't know what it was originally intended for, but it closer to a guest house than it is a toolshed or lean-to. Fully insulated, shingled roof, plumbing, built on a slab, etc. Whatever the builders wanted it for, it's going to be my brewhouse now. :mug:
 
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Thank you for an enjoyable read during my lunch. Everyone's brewing journey is different, but in the end we have beer and friends. Congratulations on the baby and new house and give the wife a hug for putting up with it all. :mug:
 

Partagas

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Awesome journey! Congrats on the baby, the house and your brewing success! Cheers!
 

tracyk

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Love the story. Made for a great reading. Love the fact that you have pictures of the adventure through the ups and downs and how you coped with it all. Congrats on the baby boy, who will forever always bring you joy and the new house and also a great wife for allowing you to enjoy your hobby!
 

Jtk78

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Congratulations on becoming a dad and good luck with the new home. Remember to enjoy every day. Once this day is over, all that's left is memories, so make them good ones.
 
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