Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Brewing Experience: The Wort

I remember sitting on my kitchen floor in Rockville, MD trying to figure out where to start. That week I stopped by a home brewing supply store. I was too embarrassed to ask any questions. I guess I felt I needed to case the place first :-). I stopped by again and asked the guy if he could help me out. This is the part that never seems to change. I've been to at least five home brew shops and they are always eager to help. I walked out with buckets and gadgets that I didn't even know the name of. I also chose my first beer kit, German Altbier. So back to sitting on the floor in the kitchen. Now you have to understand, I was about the most unorganized guy you ever met back then. This whole thing was frying my brain. I read so much home brewing information that I was paralyzed. I eventually got the equipment sterilized and started heating the water for the wort. I remember thinking that I could get this done in about 2 hours. Right, it took me that long to heat the water. Anyway, with stuff sprawled all over the place I noted the time and began the process.
  • Oops forgot to crack the grain.
  • Ok done, now I steeped the grain
  • added the dry malt and malt extract
  • read the instructions...waited for the wort to boil
  • read the instructions...added the bittering hops
  • read the instructions...crap! it's boiling over!
  • read the get the picture etc. etc.
Once I was done I measured the specific gravity and read the next step. Ok I wasn't ready for this, "Chill the wort." I started trying to chill it by putting the plastic bucket in the sink in cold tap water. About an hour later (probably 1:00 AM) it wasn't anywhere near cool enough. So I added all the ice we had in the freezer. Finally around 2:00 AM it was cool. I pitched the yeast added the airlock and went to bed. Whew. So, my first brewing experience didn't go so smoothly. I would really like to put together a foolproof guide to help beginning brewers avoid these type of problems. Next time I'll post about what happened during fermenting.

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