What the heck did I just make?!?!

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:


Oct 18, 2007
Reaction score
Northern CA
Foreword: This is only my second extract brew and used this as a practice/learning brew session...and because it was fun and I had nothing else to do last night.

My brother received an Alephenalia Brewers Starter Kit as a gift years ago and never opened it up. He offered to let me use it, seeing as how he never has, and PRESTO - now I have room to brew another batch! This kit also had a 11-12 year old extract kit with no instructions or description. Definitely not the freshest ingredients... So I bought a new package of yeast and figured for $1.50 it was worth it to experiment and see what comes out.

Here's what came with the extract kit:

.5 # British Crystal Malt
6 # Light Malt Extract (This LME was not very light, actually very dark - reading Palmer's book, it states that LME has a shelf life of about two years and after that (depending on storage conditions) the color can "double" and produce off flavors such as licorice, molasses and ball point pen aroma - this very much tasted like molasses.
2 oz Cascade Hops (Pellets) - Vacuum seal was gone
1 oz Willamette Hops (Pellets) - Still vacuum sealed
3/4 cup dextrose (for priming - not there yet)
1/3 oz (9g) Burton Water Salts, Contains Papain, Gypsum
1 Package Muntons active dry brewing yeast (exp 12/97), replaced with 1 fresh package of Sarfale S-04 (DY 25) Dry Ale Yeast.

Here is what I did (after sanitizing of course):

1. Boiled approx. 3 gallons of water for 15 minutes - put aside in covered container to cool.
2. Brought additional 2.5 gallons of water to 155 deg. F. Steeped grains at 155 deg. F for 30 minutes. Remove grains, discard.
3. Brought liquid to a vigorous boil and removed from heat. Added LME and Burton water salts. Stirred until LME was fully disolved.
4. Brought wort back to boil. Total brew time was 60 minutes. Boiled wort vigorously for five minutes.
- Added bittering hops - 1 oz of Cascade (For 55 minute boil)
- Added Flavoring hops - .5 oz of Cascade + .5 oz of Wilamette (For 30 minute boil)
- Added Aroma/Finishing Hops - .5 oz of Cascade + .5 oz of Wilamette (For 5minute boil)
5. Following 60 minute total boil, shut off heat and cooled wort in an ice bath.
6. Add wort to primary fermenter (bucket) - pour vigorously to aerate. Add pre-boiled (cooled) water to primary fermenter to total 5 gallons. Use hand whisk to mix and aerate.
7. Re-hydrate new yeast in sterile water. Pitched yeast when wort temperature was 79 deg. F.
8. Aerate and mix again with wire whisk for approx. one minute.
9. OG with temp correction was 1.049
10. Seal everything up and wait for magic to happen!

This morning at 6 am (9 hours after pitching yeast) the airlock is happily burping away at 1+/second.

I tasted the "beer" when I took the OG and it almost seemed like a brown ale with fruity undertones. My best guess at this point is that this kit was supposed to be some kind of light ale but in over a decade of "aging" it may have transformed into a less than stellar brown ale? Would you have done anything different? How much would different variations of the hop additions change the outcome? What FG should I be looking for?

I realize this likely will not make the best beer, but it was really interesting and helped a noob learn and understand the process just a little bit better - especially with no instruction and having to research a little (ie hop varieties and characteristics).

Any thoughts on what this was supposed to originally be, how it might turn out, or general suggestions? :D


Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2006
Reaction score
If the kit was really that old it hard to tell what the outcome will be. only one way to find out! :mug:


Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2007
Reaction score
The "Ville"
Whatever it is, it is probably safe to say that it is beer. Suggestions? Hmmmmmm........ I suppose you could drink it for starters.