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A Newbie Homebrews: A Few Tips from a Novice

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Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 7.46.24 PM The Brewing essentials 2.5 Gallon Disaster IPA Kit has all the supplies and instructions you need to brew your first batch of beer, maybe not like a total pro just yet, but you’ll definitely be on your way. I learned a lot and had a ton of fun in the process. What I learned was this: making beer is like making a really badass soup, and then storing it away for 3-4 weeks, depending on the recipe. This is something that John told me and it made sense when I stood hunched over the stock pot, whiffing delicious malty aromas. John teaches this in the introductory classes. Brewing is different than cooking in a couple of important ways: you can't mix ingredients haphazardly or be lacksadaisacal with cleaning; you must mix ingredients as instructed and sanitize everything. I imagine that homebrewing in Brooklyn is different than homebrewing elsewhere in the world, because, well, it's a city, and it can get dirty. A big part of brewing was cleaning. Here are a few extra precautions we took to prepare, as well as some tips: (1) Clean your pet (if you have one). I eat, sleep, and drink beer with my dog, but I didn't want dog in my beer, so ensuring the kitchen was completely clean and (in my case) free of pet dander, was crucial. We cleaned for two days. (2) Invite friends. Man should (try) not to drink alone and neither should he make beer alone. I invited my friend, Evan, who used to homebrew every weekend of his college life (I kind-of cheated). I also invited a friend who never showed; apparently, he never read the story of the little red hen. (3) The necessary prerequisite to any homebrew session is open a bottle of your favorite brew. Since this was our first time, we bought six of commercial. For our second homebrew, we'll crack open bottles from our own batch. Note: try not to go overboard (or the instructions will quickly become suggestions). (4) Whew! I've had a few. Wow. So make sure you have a pot that's big enough for the job. The morning of the homebrew we realized our pot was not up to par, and my better half had to rush off to get a 5 gallon, which will come in handy for dinner parties. Next time I throw a party, I'm breaking out the pot to show my guests how awesome I am. You can get these at Bitter & Esters. Be smarter than me, pick one up at the time your get your kit! (5) IMPORTANT! be mindful of time. The cliche: "Time flies when you are having fun" is so true, so set a timer and keep track of the directions on your packet. Doug and John were kind enough to provide very detailed instructions, so you should try and follow them. If this is difficult, you can set your iPhone alarm to keep track of time for you as you work through the recipe. (6) I recommend keeping a new, clean sponge (without any suds) handy. (7) Homebrewing is addictive. I’m already thinking about my next batch and I have yet to taste this one, so get a pen and take notes for the next time as you homebrew. (8) WOO-HOO!! Homebrewing is so much fun. The kitchen smells amazing. The windows are foggy. And this brings me to my next point. Hold on… The Chinese food delivery man is here, I'm going to update my Facebook status, and take another whiff of the delicious smells brewing in my new, silver pot. Peace! I'm enjoying the rest of the process without writing about it. For those of you who are inspired to homebrew, click here for a kit. We brewed Disaster IPA, which is great for newbies, since the hops are strong enough to mask any flaws, but there are kits available in many styles of beer. Happy homebrewing to all! Marissa


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