Home Brewing – start of the adventure

I’ve just got started on a new hobby that I’m very excited about – making beer! There is some kind of revelation that happens when a man discovers how to make his own beer – it’s almost up there with discovering how to print your own money. And the cool thing is that it’s even easier than I imagined it to be.

My fermentor brewing it’s first batch of beer (kit for 2nd batch waiting patiently underneath)

The thought of giving home brewing a go occurred to me before but somehow I never got around to it, until now. This time I decided I would go ahead and purchase a basic equipment kit and give it a go. Here in Nelson there is just one store that I know of that carries brewing equipment and supplies – a wholefoods and specialty store called Bin Inn. Being the type that likes to know what he’s buying, I did a bit of online research before heading down to Bin Inn. My online research lead me to an excellent source of information – a series of home brewing videos on YouTube by a Canadian guy called Craig Farraway, a.k.a. CraigTube. Craig’s enthusiasm for making beer inspired me and he showed me how easy it could be. Craig has been home brewing for 20 odd years and still favours the easy way of doing it, using the canned kits. Being a bit on the lazy side myself, it was great news to me that you could actually make good beer the simple way, using the kits. Craig even demonstrated making beer with nothing but a beginner’s kit made by Coopers. Bin Inn actually stock the Coopers kit but I ended up purchasing a Copper Tun (formerly known as Brewcraft) Starter Brewery kit because it happened to be on sale for $89. It’s practically the same as the Coopers kit excepet it doesn’t come with bottles so I picked up some plastic brewers bottles as well.

The evening of the following day I set about following the kit instructions to brew the included beer kit – Mangrove Jack’s Munich lager. After cleaning all the equipment I discovered there was something missing – a tiny little rubber grommet that’s needed to seal the airlock into the lid. Luckily I hadn’t opened the can of malt extract so it wasn’t a disaster, just a frustration at having to hold off for another day. The next morning I went down to Bin Inn and got the grommet and that night I prepared my first batch according to the kit instructions. All went to plan and it was exciting to find the air lock bubbling away the next day. It was a great feeling to be making beer!

In my next post I’ll let you know how my first batch goes. In the meantime, here are the first set of CraigTube videos that got me excited about home brewing:


    • Andy on 4 January 2011 at 3:29 am
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    CraigTube’s videos are definitely worth watching. I especially like the way he explains things in a way that actually makes home brewing seem both easy and enjoyable, rather than a scientific mystery!

    • jammin on 5 January 2011 at 4:56 am
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    I’m not a huge fan of craig’s vids, I made my first batch before I even watched any of them, and I’m stymied by his use of pre-hopped extract. Hopping isn’t difficult, and from the get go I want to control the hopping of my homebrew.

      • on 5 January 2011 at 11:40 am
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      Hi jammin, in my opinion the best thing about Craig’s videos is, as Andy says, that he makes home brewing look easy and enjoyable. Somebody considering trying out home brewing would be very motivated to go ahead if they watched some CraigTube videos. Sure hopping is not difficult but I reckon pre-hopped extract is actually a great way to get started, you don’t even need a pot to boil in, you don’t need to have a clue about different hops types or hop addition timings. You can simply pick up a full beginners kit such as the Coopers kit or BrewCraft kit and get started right away without having to read up on anything or figure out all the various bits of equipment and ingredients you need. And the canned kits can produce great beer if they are treated right (if you don’t believe it, have a listen to this podcast). Starting off the easiest way possible seems a logical way to go. Besides, you would never know whether the kits can produce beer that you like unless you actually give them a try.

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