Saturday, September 7, 2013

Unnamed Home Brew Part 1

We began our first home brew project last night.

Finally.

I had originally planned to do a video diary kind of thing but I decided to not bother, and instead shoot some pics with my phone.

I dragged out a couple of camping coolers the night before to use as sterilization and rinsing containers. My son began the task of sterilizing the equipment as I re-familiarized myself with the instructions. :)

We had some trouble removing the cap from the Fest Brew bag. I had to get a pipe wrench to pry it off. I expected this after watching a video on YouTube a couple of weeks ago from someone also using a Fest Brew kit. Once the cap was off, we poured the contents into the primary fermentation pail. My son said it smelled like molasses.

Next, we boiled a cup of water to activate the yeast. The lesson learned from this is to start that first because you have to cool down the water to 25-30c before adding the yeast, and then wait another 10-15 minutes for the yeast to saturate before adding it to the wort. We put the measuring cup in the freezer for a while to cool it down. The instructions that came with the home brew kit said we could just sprinkle the yeast onto the wort. The instructions we were using came with the Fest Brew mix. I'm not sure if one works better than the other.

Before adding the yeast slurry, I took a hydrometer reading: 1.056

One thing I found a little annoying is that there's very little information included with a kit (this one or the one I got years ago) that gives you detailed info about reading a hydrometer. I watched a few videos on YouTube before I understood it, and now realize one of the benefits of taking before and after readings is to know what the ABV of the beer will be. :) The kits typically tell you what a reading should be before you bottle it. That's it, that's all.

After stirring in the yeast slurry, we sat the lid on the pail and cleaned up.

This kit is a little different than the one I used years ago. It's a 2-stage. There's no air-lock for the primary fermentation pail. The secondary is a glass carboy and there's an airlock for it. The first time I tried a home brew years ago was with a single stage kit, and the pail I have has a hole in the lid for an air-lock. I still have most of that kit, and I'll eventually put it to use after this first batch is done.

So there we go. Day 1 is done. I had a peek in the pail this morning to see how it's doing. I know you're not supposed to, but I was curious to see how the fermentation is going. I'll leave it alone for the next day or two and then check it again in preparation for moving it to the carboy.

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