And then there will be beer…
I’ve wanted to do home brewing for a long time. Though I don’t partake in drinking beer as often as I did in my younger days, I still like to enjoy a fine pint or two every once in a while. I can’t say I’m a beer snob like others I know, but I stay away from the cheap stuff and when I have a beer or two, I like quality.
Usually that means something along the lines of Guinness, Smithwicks, Magic Hat or Samuel Adams.
But brewing my own … that’s always been on my radar.
Doing a hobby like that is an investment. From the equipment to ingredients to bottles and everything else, it can add up. A few summers ago, while still employed, I looked into it at a local winery. To get all I needed (including a boiling pot, ingredients and a few other things), it was going to cost upward of $200 or so.
That’s not something I want to do when I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy the hobby. From everything I’ve read and researched, brewing is obviously an intensive hobby. You need patience and have to really pay attention to a lot of things. That being said, there are some amazing things you can do with your own brews.
But what if I dropped all that coin on this hobby and I didn’t like it? Those thoughts made me kind of put it on the back burner.
In the past, I had heard about Mr. Beer, which is a system that helps simplify home brewing. Basically, they give you everything you need to brew and the process is much easier. You don’t have to worry about some of the in-depth things, it cuts down on your time, and you can slowly learn about brewing.
It also should show you whether or not you are interested enough to take the next step.
With a few Amazon gift cards sitting around from the holiday season, I debated getting the Mr. Beer kit. It would give me something to work on during this continuing job hunt. And, I’d get to see about the brewing process. I did a lot of research on that and other kits, but hadn’t decided if I was going to buy it yet or not. There wasn’t any rush.
Then a friend told me he got one as a gift from somebody and, after looking things over, he knew he’d never have the patience for doing it. See, it still takes time. Mr. Beer says beer in 7-14 days, but reality is you’re looking at 5-6 weeks for a batch. My friend noted he’d either mess with it early to see what was going on, or he’d chuck it out the door getting annoyed.
So he handed it off to me, figuring I’d enjoy it.
I started my first batch Monday. It’s a Classic American Light, which I think is probably comparable to a Coors Light. The problem with that is I don’t really drink stuff like that anymore.
It’s a good way to test, though.
The whole process, from sanitizing to getting everything in the mini keg to start the fermenting process took all of about 45 minutes. It’s quite easy if you follow the instructions. I liked the ease of it, especially considering it’s my first go with it. I’m sure, over time, I’ll want to see the more in-depth things I can do. For now, this was fun. From mixing up the wort to getting everything ready, it was pretty neat.
I’ve already even moved forward a little bit with the Mr. Beer setup.
Armed with a discount for being a new member of the Mr. Beer website and a few extra bucks left over from Christmas, I also ordered some things from Mr. Beer — a couple of the mini kegs (for fermenting) so I could brew more than one batch at a time. They will hopefully be on their way soon, so I’ll hopefully be able to stagger some brews and have a constant flow of things going.
The next two I’ll be brewing is a West Coast Pale Ale (which was part of the initial group of stuff) and an Irish Stout, which I ordered from Amazon. I’ll be looking to get the Patriot Ale as I’ve found a recipe to make a blueberry beer, which I would love to do. I’ve long been a fan of blueberry beers, so I am interested in trying it.
This is a process, however.
I see my brewing experience being a step-by-step sort of thing. I’d like to run with the Mr. Beer setup for a while so I can learn things and understand wort or hops or things like that. I want to take some chances and learn that way with a system that is a little more simple.
If I really like it, then I can see me taking the next step. That likely won’t be for 6-8 months — if not longer. And I’m OK with that because I don’t want to invest in the big things until I know I can financially do so and be able to get the things I not only need, but other things I may want to get. And, no matter what, I see myself continuing to use the Mr. Beer system as well. It’s too cool not to use it.
I’m in the process of gathering bottles for use (non-twisting brown bottles are best, from what I gather — ones like Sam Adams) and reading as much as I can about the brewing process. I’ll be blogging periodically about the process as it goes along.
For now, though, it’s time to sit back and let the process unfold and cross my fingers for some successful brews!
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