I love beer, so I figure why not make some. Went to What Ales Ya this weekend and talked with the younger gentleman for some time. He walked me through the process with their Plastic Starter Kit and then through the Hop Nog 2010 kit(PDF or Recipe has been attached to this post). We choose this Beer Kit as my gal and I love hoppy beer and the guy at WAY felt as a beginner we should be fine getting it done. I want to say that I had a great experience at this store. The guy was very nice and enthusiastic about homebrew and was not condescending in any way.
The number one thing that is at the forefront of my homebrewing process is Sanitization. Everyone makes a big deal out of it, yet I have not seen many pictures or videos of people being what I consider to be overly sanitized. I come from a cooking background and have also watched a lot of hospital tv shows. To me I imagine having to scrub up and enter a semiconductor clean room to get this stuff right. Instead I bought a 5 gallon bucket at a local hardware store and used 5 packets of C-Brite to make 5 gallons of sanitizer. I then sanitized my hands and rinsed the insides of the Pot and Fermenter with a half cup each of this solution to ensure everything was covered with it. I did not rinse any of the sanitizer off at anytime. As I worked on the Wort I would re-sanitize my hands and any tool I would be using at that moment. Having the bucket of sanitizer made this very easy and I stayed very mindful of the whole process. Feedback on this would be a great interest, thanks.
The wort making process and yeast pitching took about 4 hours. All of the tools used were purchased just for homebrewing except for my spatula and wisk. Would it be a good idea to also purchase homebrewing only spatula and wisk to reduce more chances of contamination?
Started off with 2.5 Gallons of Fry’s Drinking Water in a 20 Quart stainless steel pot to make the Wort. Getting the steeping temperature to hit 160 degrees before adding the grains was a little challenging. Learning the timing for a proper reading from the thermometer took a few tries. I notice that the thermometer is a floating one but I did not leave it floating in the Wort. Do you just leave yours floating in the Wort?
Adding the Extract and then following the timed instructions for Hops and Flavorings was pretty easy. Wrote down the times and used a timer to stay on track of everything. Had to use two burners to get a nice rolling boil going.
As instructed from WAY I put the boiler into my sink with ice water and brought the temp down to 100 degrees. Then poured the Wort into the Fermenter through a metal strainer to keep the Hop leftovers out.
Adding the additional water was where my biggest concern has come up. I put the additional 3.5 gallons of Fry’s Drinking water in the freezer as instructed, but it got a little frozen. When I added the water the Wort got down to about 60 degrees. I did not pour any ice into the Wort. Instead I heated the ice peices up to about 74 degrees and then added it. The SG was within the guidelines at about 1.0570 so I pitched the yeast, sealed it up and put on the bubbler.
It is now in our storage room which I have covered the window up with an old sleeping bag. The temperature strip on the side of the Fermenter read 68 degrees about an hour after we put it in that room and has stayed there since Saturday.
The bubbler is bubbling but it seems quiet compared to what I have heard and read. I have attached a 30 second video here from this morning. Have a watch and let me know what you think. Am I on my way to having possibly made my own beer and therefore finding new independence from the Man?