Saturday, April 21, 2012

How I got started in Homebrewing

It all started in December of 2010.  My brother-in-law has been brewing on and off for 5 years plus.  He had a friend who was getting out of the homebrewing hobby, so he gave a lot of his equipment to my brother-in-law.   Figuring that my 20-something year old son might enjoy brewing, my brother-in-law gifted it all to him (read us).


For some reason, it took about a month or so before I came around to the idea of getting into brewing, but since it seemed cool to be able to say "I brew my own beer", and it gave me a hobby I could share with my son, I dove in.

Before my wife knew it, we had commandeered her stove and stock pot to boil 2.5 gallons of water so we could complete our first Brewer's Best kit.  Let me take a moment to say how wonderful my wife is for allowing this all to happen in her kitchen!  (831)


Over the following 9 months, my sons and I (the 20-something AND the little 5 year old) brewed at least 5 different kits, and with the help of Tom at Thirsty Brewer, developed several custom recipes as well.  Truth be told, I was becoming the process guy, and my son was the brains behind the recipes.

Nate helping with the bottling a batch of Wheat Beer/Blue Moon Clone
As my son was becoming more skilled at coming up with recipes, I was becoming more interested in saving money.  With kits costing anywhere from $30-$50, when someone told me that All-Grain (AG) brewing would cut the cost in half, I instantly had a new goal: find a way to go AG!  My issue with AG was that it seemed to be overly complicated, and honestly I was not sure at that point what mashing and sparging were all about.

While surfing YouTube for instructional videos on brewing, I came across videos like this one that showed how easy it is to Brew in a Bag. I spent a lot of time on HomeBrewTalk.com, and biabrewer.info as well reading about BIAB.  This looked like a winner to me, so the only question left was how could we put together a system at the lowest cost to be reliable and safe.

I'll discuss details of that in my upcoming posts.

Cheers!


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