A Year of Home Brewing

Well it isn't quite a year really, as my first brew day wasn't until February. However, the journey actually started just before Christmas when Fionn took me on an Adnams brewery tour

Tasting the malted grain, and getting a good sniff of several varieties of hops, rekindled a long dormant enthusiasm for brewing. Previously I had brewed rather unsuccessfully with malt extract kits. Now I really fancied having a go at all grain brewing; one thing that put me off was the expense of all the equipment. Another worry was the risk that my beer would turn out to be a disappointment - as had been the case with my extract brewing.

Just after Christmas, it might have been on New Year's Day, a friend told me about the book he had been given that was all about one gallon brewing. It turned out to be Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches. I had had no idea that small batch brewing was even a thing, but it seemed to be just what I was looking for - a way of brewing all grain without needing an awful lot of equipment, and if the beer turned out not to be so good I would only have a few bottles to throw away. 

My first couple of brews weren't entirely successful. There was an amber ale that turned out almost black because I bought the wrong malt by mistake. Then came a cherry beer that got christened 'Not Very Cherry'. Despite not going entirely to plan though, these beers were still very drinkable and so I placed another order for more ingredients and carried on brewing.

My brewing career so far has had some ups and downs. Highlights have included a clone of Elvis Juice from the BrewDog home brew recipe book - DIY Dog, and an elderflower pale ale which I created myself with a little help from the nice people at Green Jack. There have been a couple of beers that I have drunk myself without sharing because I was less proud of them, but nothing that has gone down the drain. I have experimented with different techniques for mashing and sparging, but now I think I have settled on an approach that works well for me.

In 2017 I have brewed 166 pints of beer at an average cost of £1.40 per pint. That cost breaks down to around 50p per pint for ingredients and 90p per pint for equipment etc. I wonder how that will compare if I look at my home brew stats this time next year.


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