You guys! I just made my first baby batch of beer! Who knew it could be so easy?! I made a simple American Pale Ale, which was a good place to start...pretty straightforward. Thanks to J&M Brewing Supplies for hooking us up with the ingredients!
Okay, this is how easy it was: We first sanitized all the equipment beforehand with this stuff to avoid any contamination. Then, we boiled the liquid malt extract (which smelt gloriously of molasses and caramel, yum!) with water and added the hops at two different intervals (to make a more complex taste...fancy, I know), thus forming the wort. Once it cooked for about 45 minutes, we quickly cooled the wort in an ice-bath, then racked it into the one gallon glass jug. We then pitched the yeast on top, added the air lock and stopper to seal the jug and that was it! It sat in a warm, dry place for about 2 weeks and fermented away. Gurgling every few minutes to remind us it was still alive and kicking!
After the two weeks, the gurgling had stopped and it was time to bottle. We used a racking cane and clamp to siphon it easily into each bottle. Then we added a sugar tablet, which gets the beer all excited and carbonated. We sealed each bottle with this thing and waited another week for them to (finally) finish fermenting.
And then we had beer! 9 lovely bottles to be exact! The beer was crisp, slightly hoppy and very American Pale-Aley which was to be expected. I was very proud of my brew and can't wait to make more! We've made cider in the past, which I think I'd like to do again, but I definitely want to make sure I get my feet wet with making beer first. The one gallon size was perfect for me. It was easy to make sense of the process and also easy to move around without destroying the entire kitchen. I'd say it was the perfect amount to experiment with for a beginner like me. Once I find a recipe I love, I'll put on my big kid pants and make a larger batch but till then, the baby size will do just fine!