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  1. #1
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Home brewing journal

    One of my newest hobbies is brewing my own beer, which I started January 1st of this year. Here I'll talk about each brew I make.

    "British" brown ale
    I bought a book that taught me the basics of brewing beer and has lots of recipes that interest me. I started with a beer that it said would be an easy one to learn with, a british brown ale.

    We have a nice homebrew shop in Chattanooga, luckily for me. My wife got my equipment there as my gift for Christmas 2020. I walked in for the first time on New Year's Eve to buy my first ingredients. They didn't have anything from the UK, so I had to make my British brown ale with mostly American ingredients. So my wife and I called it a Revolutionary brown ale!

    Since it was my first brew, I followed the recipe and used malt extracts instead of malted grains. It's like cooking with beef stock rather than totally from scratch.

    I was really careful, but I made a lot of mistakes. Despite that, it turned out pretty amazing! I decided to try bottling it in half-gallon growlers rather than bottles. I wasn't sure that would work, since hardly anyone does that. It was a risk, and it turned out beautifully!

    The first few growlers had a funny aftertaste, but now this ale has been maturing for a couple of months, and it really tastes great.

    That success encouraged me to dig deeper on my second brew, which I'll talk about next.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Following the great success with my first beer, I made a lot of changes for my second one, which is hopefully going to be similar to a...

    Maibock
    Bocks have been my favorite beers for years. And one of my very favorites is Rogue's Dead Guy Ale, a hybrid lager/ale maibock from Oregon that has more hops flavor than a typical bock. Bocks are traditionally lagers, but they call this maibock an ale because of the yeast they use and the warmer temperature at which they brew.

    By the time I started planning this brew, I was already going way off-book. My book called for a malt extract that I could only find at really high prices. And I was hoping that brewing at home would save me some money, or at least not cost more than buying beer at the store. And I was really interested in brewing with all grains rather than extracts anyway. So I took to the internet to find out how to make a maibock with all grains.

    I also decided to use liquid yeast rather than dry yeast, encouraged by my book and the internet. That was an extra expense and extra work, but I learned a lot doing that. I chose a yeast that could handle warmer temperatures, since I'd decided not to buy a special refrigerator for brewing lagers. And I think my maibock is going to benefit greatly from the yeast I decided to use. But I won't know for a couple more weeks.

    When I went back to the homebrew shop to buy my grains and other ingredients, I was still pretty fresh. But I knew I could mill my own grain there, and I was ready to learn. They didn't have all the grains I thought I would need. So I had to choose some substitutes on the spot. The shop owner tried to help, but I really misunderstood what I was seeing there and made a big mistake in my purchase. Things I read on the internet after I brewed it made me think this beer might be totally undrinkable.

    But it smelled amazing after fermenting a couple of days. Three weeks later, I bottled it and had a taste. It tasted a lot like Dead Guy Ale! So I was really encouraged.

    I was concerned that the big yeast I used might break my growlers, but they held up! I'll have my first taste of the matured, conditioned product in a week-and-a-half. I'm sure beer judges wouldn't consider it a maibock, but as long as I like the way it tastes, I truly don't care.

  3. #3
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    This is interesting stuff! I had a colleague at work, that started down the same path your on and he was totally addicted to it as a hobby, with benefits of enjoying the resultant brews! Then, I found out another colleague was getting into it. This appears to a popular hobby!
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  4. #4
    My nephew brews his own beer. I go to the store.

  5. #5
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hagen View Post
    I go to the store.
    Ditto
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  6. #6
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Just six months ago, I still thought home brewing was too difficult for me to get into. When I found this book that broke things down and had recipes for my favorite beers, I was inspired. And now I'm doing it! And now I'm trying to figure out how to make home brewing cheaper than buying it at the store.

  7. #7
    Hows the brewing coming along?

  8. #8
    Very cool. When is the BBQ?
    I did it at a u-brew once. It was great. I did a lot of wine in our old basement. No room in our apartment now. I did try brewing beer in our apartment but the smell was just too much.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hagen View Post
    Hows the brewing coming along?
    Really great. I started my summer beer last weekend. It'll basically be Dos Equis Amber.

    Thanks for reminding me...I'll open the maibock this weekend and update this thread!

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan View Post
    I did a lot of wine in our old basement.
    I'm doing that now, too!

  10. #10
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Last night I finished off my first beer, my "British" brown ale. Which, by the way, looked like this (I can't get this to show up the right way here!):

    Name:  British brown ale.jpg
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    I just now opened my second beer.

    MOMENT OF TRUTH: This is the beer I started February 7th, worked really hard on, spent a good chunk of money on, and was worried about because I thought I used the wrong malt. The maibock!

    Name:  Maibock.jpg
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    It tastes great! A lot like Rogue Dead Guy Ale, which is what I was going for. Not sure if it would qualify as a true maibock, but I'm happy with it.

    I read on a forum this week that beer wants to be beer so badly that you don't have to worry about the details as much as most home brewers would have you think. I like that!

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