One of my favorite Christmas presents this past year was a homebrew kit my wife got me.
I know it’s been a while since Christmas, but I’m thinking about dedicating a segment of my blog to the art of home brewing.
Since I’m still relatively new to this whole process, you’ll all get to share in my journey (including all the inevitable mistakes I’ll most likely make).
The first mistake during that initial brew was the unfamiliarity with the brewing process and when to add the hops to the wort. For anyone out there that is unfamiliar, wort is the term used to describe an unfermented beer.
During the brew process, I read the instructions repeatedly and still couldn’t discern when I was supposed to add the hops provided. The kit provided exactly one small package that, after weighing, came out to roughly 1 oz. The instructions provided indicated that there were two hop additions, so I was at an impasse.
My solution was to split the package and add half for the bittering hops and the remainder at the end of the boil for the aroma/flavor portion. The beer was a hefeweizen that came with nearly everything you need to brew a homebrew beer, except the bottles, caps, and the capping device.
Because of my enthusiasm for this new, growing hobby/obsession, my wife mentioned to one of her friends what she gave me for Christmas and that landed me an unused homebrewing kit. Score!
I now have a lot more new toys in my brewing arsenal. The newly acquired kit came complete with another beer-ingredient kit and bottle caps, so the only thing missing was bottles to put the fermenting elixir into when finished.
This proved to be a case where buying local was preferable to buying online. If you’ve never looked into paying for shipping a case of empty beer bottles, it’s not exactly cheap. I found that purchasing fresh/unused bottles from a local homebrew supply store to be much cheaper (tax was a couple of bucks versus nearly $12 to ship the case).
After that whole experience, and not wanting to pay $12 for 24 bottles every time I needed bottles, I resorted to Craigslist for the next bottle purchase and scored 130 bottles for $20. This was an amazing find, since the person had removed the labels and cleaned all of the bottles. He gave me a tip about cleaning labels of the bottles, too. He told me his secret was to fill a tub with Oxiclean and let the bottles soak for 30 minutes.
He said, “After the soak, the labels just slide right off.”
I haven’t had to try it out yet, so I’ll let you know if it works or not later.
I’ve been looking at kits on several sites to figure out what my next beer will be, but I’m still undecided at this point. When I make the decision, I’ll post an update to the beer page.
Thanks for reading and happy brewing to those that do!