My Homebrewing Journey: How I Got Started

homebrew starter kit

I started homebrewing in January 2013 while in graduate school. I figured this would be a great hobby to jump into because 1) I like beer, 2) I thought I could make beer cheaper than what I could buy 6-packs and cases from the store, and 3) it was a great creative outlet—I could brew whatever kind of beer, cider, or whatever I wanted!

After New Years, I went to my local homebrew shop and purchased a beginner homebrew kit that included a 6.5 gallon bucket fermenter, a 5 gallon glass carboy, a hydrometer, a 5 gallon pot, an airlock, a long handled spoon, a carboy brush, an auto-siphon, some vinyl tubing, a bottling bucket, a bottling wand, a capper, some cleaner, and sanitizer. The first beer I made was an Irish Stout from a Brewer’s Best kit.

Initially, I was intimidated to brew beer. What if I messed up? What if the beer was undrinkable? How long would this take? How long do I have to cool this boiling wort? How do I do that? When can I throw in the yeast? Is that what “pitch” means?

Relax. Don’t Worry. Have a Homebrew.

Relax. Don’t worry. There’s a saying for homebrewers: “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.” RDWHAHB.

Well, for your first (or several) batch(es), I would recommend NOT drinking while brewing. Again, it’s a hobby, don’t fret. Have fun. Just don’t do anything silly, especially if you have a glass carboy. Accidents happen.

Back to the Irish Stout—it turned out pretty good. My friends, family, and I enjoyed that first batch, which led me to continue brewing.

Brewing – Can you do it?

I hope to show you through a series of posts that homebrewing is FUN and there’s nothing to get stressed about. Are you wondering if you can learn to homebrew? Have you ever made a pot of soup? A cup of tea or coffee?

When you are brewing beer, you are essentially making a big pot of soup for yeast and/or bacteria, depending on if you want to get into some fun, funky fermentations. That’s basically the gist. The sweet liquid you produce from extracting sugars from grain is called wort. We’ll discuss the process of extracting sugar from grains in a later post. But the point is, you CAN brew beer.

(Wo)man makes wort. Yeast makes beer. I want you to remember that. Just make some delicious food for the yeast to eat, and they, in turn, will provide you with some delicious beer. As you may have guessed, we’ll talk about that process, fermentation, in a later post, too.

Cheers to you and best of luck in starting this adventure.

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