|Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:15 pm: ||
I was cleaning out a box in the basement and found an old "Steno" notebook containing notes from my first 15 batches. I was ROFL after reading some of the things I did.
Anyone else have fond memories of their first few brews?
The following are the exact notes from my very first batch. The extract came from father-in-law who had stuck in his garage for who knows how long; no hops; I don't think I actually boiled this one...11 years and counting:
Recipe: 3# M&F Premium extract, 4#'s Alexander Pale extract
Date Worted: 3/28/93
Yeast added: 78f
2nd Ferm: 4/1/93
OG - 1.037, FG - 1.012
Tasting notes: Flat; bottled by adding priming sugar to bottles; (note: find something besides pliers to clamp off hose from bottling bucket. Made a *&%&$ mess on kitchen floor); smooth, but underwhelming to palate.
JOHN K. LEE (22.214.171.124)
|Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 05:03 pm: ||
About 10 years ago, my older brother and I were living together in a run down rental. We hardly had enough money to pay the rent but we were really into good beer and "special" hops and we always had plenty of each. He had the great idea of making "dank" beer instead of paying $10-$15 a sixer. We bought the bucket kit with the racking cane, hoses, capper, and what not for about $50. Stout was our beer back then so we decided to make the toad spit stout from Papa's CJofHB handbook. This book was like the "Bible" to us. For the first batch everything went pretty smooth until the hopping. I'm not sure what went wrong but when we opened our first bottle( prematurely and flat of course) it was so hoppy we could hardly stand to drink it. After a couple more weeks in the bottle this turned into a pretty good beer. We called it the hophead stout. Sometimes I think I should try to recreate that beer but I know it wouldn't be the same. I guess what I really like to do is recreate the moment. Your right time flys...My bro is married with a bitch of a wife and lives 800 miles away. He doesn't even brew anymore. I'm not sure which is more sad.
|Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 05:50 pm: ||
Here's the notes from one of my old recipes:
"December 6, 1990
4 lb. can Alexander Sun Country Plain Malt Extract
1.5 lbs dry Munton and Fison light malt extract
1/2 lb. corn sugar
1 oz. Northern Brewer Hops (boiling)
1/2 oz. Cascade Hops
2 tsp acid blend
Vierka dry yeast
Boiled for 45 min, finishing hops for 2 min.
Used Open fermentor. OG 1.056
December 19 - SG 1.010. Bottled w/ 3/4 cup corn sugar.
January 8 - cracked one open. excellent beer."
Even when I was a newbie and using questionabel ingredients and practices, homebrew rocked!
don price (126.96.36.199)
|Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 09:35 pm: ||
I tried four batches back in about 1992 before giving up. I remember parts of them quite well...
1) english brown ale...not bad for a first try
2) german lager (certainly fermented at >70F with an ale yeast)...not bad, hoppy.
3) stout....must have been 6.6 lb dark extract, extra sugar, and lots of roasted grains. I know enough to make my own recipes now...long story short, it was so dark I used it as "beer flavoring"...just add 1 ounce to a bud dry to make something like a dry stout. A family friend borrowed an old limo on Christmas day (?) for a little cruise along the beach. I was following them when they got pulled over...the state tropper was making my brother poor out the beer when they got to the homebrew and it went something like this...
brother> My brother made this beer...I can't pour it out.
trooper> Pour it out or go to jail.
brother> OK (starts pouring out beer which forms a very dark pool covered in dark brown foam).
trooper> You mean you drink that ?
brother> We call it "The Black Scourge".
4) Australian lager - also an ale yeast...I think. Looked good. Started good. Finished with an aftertast best described as what the inside of a really smelly sneaker probably tastes like.
No more brewing until 2000.
|Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 10:04 pm: ||
I brewed "Toad Spit Stout" about 10 years ago. It was my 3rd batch and I was fermenting it in a bucket. I saw very little airlock activity so I assumed that something was wrong. I then dumped the entire batch down the drain.
|Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 10:12 pm: ||
These are great... Amazing how little we all knew all those years ago and yet we still kept brewing while most of our friends stopped long ago.
This is indeed a great hobby!
Andy Langston (188.8.131.52)
|Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 10:45 pm: ||
As with many, my brewing started with the compansionship of a life-long friend. The brewing went fine. . . a canned hopped IPA kit. Time eventually came to rack from primary into the bottling bucket (the begineer kit didn't mention a secondary vessel).
My buddy took a hefty toke to start the siphon and ended up with a moutful of freshly fermented beer. The knee-jerk reaction was to instantaneously spew the mouthful of unfamiliar substance across the kitchen as though ridding a mouthful of battery acid.
Taking a second to understand what just happened . . . We scratched our heads to wonder if we actually intended to drink this gurgling, foamy, yeasty substance that had been in a bucket for 3 weeks in a cellar.
Don't think! Just bottle!
. . . The fact that I'm typing this eight years later, you can guess that the batch turned out just fine. And today, each time I start a siphon, I can't help but chuckle.
Belly Buster Bob (184.108.40.206)
|Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:21 am: ||
Not a hobby.....a sport
Babs Brew (220.127.116.11)
|Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 12:36 pm: ||
Yes BBB a SPORT. And sometimes a Full-Contact sport.
Sean Richens (18.104.22.168)
|Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 02:06 pm: ||
I just lament one or two kit-based batches that actually turned out great - one was a perfect clone of McAulsan's Oatmeal Stout - but can never be re-created as the source materials are long gone. I think it was "Otto Hoxheim Bock" boosted with a can of "Olde Englande Pale".
Apart from that, there are a couple of years which make me wonder why on earth I stuck with it. Apart from the regular "professional homebrewer" beers which turn out as designed (what 12 years' experience will do!) I still find that experimental batches turn out best at some middle ground between over-analyzing and tossing it all in a pail and trusting to fate.
John Jacox (22.214.171.124)
|Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 06:23 am: ||
Eight years ago, it was a Mr Beer that my wife (I love that woman!) made me get, against my better judgement. I still have it and sometimes use it to step up the yeast, or make an experimental batch of beer or mead. As I remember, the kit came with a can of prehopped, "California Ale" that turned out better than the megaswill that I had been drinking, but since I couldn't get any more cans of the Mr. Beer extract locally, I went to the local homebrew shop, and the rest is history! Now it's all grain, (currently enjoying a "Columbus IPA", good thing I love grapefruit!)
Richard Nye (126.96.36.199)
|Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 11:37 pm: ||
25 years ago when I went to college I had no clue I could brew beer at home. If I did, I probably would have changed my major to Chem Engineering and built a brewery.
I also started with a Mr. Beer about 10 years ago. Then I learned about homebrewing from my old college roomate. Read Charlie P's book and brewed my first real brew, a "Canadian Ale" using a Fermentap. My notes say "Used Fermentap for the first (and last) time." A lot of us suckers bought one of those.
Dan Listermann (188.8.131.52)
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 12:11 am: ||
I first brewed in the spring of 1973. I stumbled on a kit in a drug store while at Miami University. The kit contained about a pound of grist,some leaf hops and instructions. What the hey! I bought a brand new garbage can, five pounds of cane sugar and a packet of Fleishmann's bread yeast just like the instructions said. We brought everything to a boil in the Frat's kitchen, waited for it to cool and poured it into the garbage can with the yeast. Eventually it fermented. I bought a hydrometer that had a "B" on a line that told you when you were supposed to bottle. I kept my Hudepohl quart bottles and used my great-grandfather's capper.
What didn't blow up or hose all over the place tasted terrible. I tried a few more batches with Pabst Blue Ribbon Hopped Extract ( for baking only). Things just got worst. We used it a fire extinguisher fluid.
Fast foward to 1988. Old roomate calls and wants to make beer. I said "Johnson. . . ." He assured me that things had gotten a lot better in the 15 years past. He ordered a William's kit and he, my brother and I made beer. Bottled it a week later and tasted my share. The rest is history. Eventually it ruined a perfectly good engineering career.
Bret Mayden (184.108.40.206)
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 12:20 am: ||
Mr. Beer....sigh...what a guy. If it weren't for him, I'd stil be - well, never mind.
I still have the old Steno notebook I used to record my first brews. It looks like drunk chickens scratched the notes, so I guess I was - well, never mind.....
Brew Lab (220.127.116.11)
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 01:17 pm: ||
Mr. Beer here too. I bought a Mr. Beer kit for my roomie for x-mas, he never brewed it but i did. About 2 years later i bought anotherMB kit for myself. Brewed a couple of batchesand decided to step it up and i started buying extract, got a couple of carboys and look at me now....all grain 2 converted kegs and soon (very soon) i'll be kegging my beer.
if this rate of improvement follows the trend, i should be running my own brewery in a few years
Terry Neudorf (18.104.22.168)
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 04:30 pm: ||
I read an old brewing diary I had from back in the 80's (after which I gave up brewing for a spell). It reads like a brewing horror story. Bottles with stuff growing inside of them, flat beer, yeasty beer... and at the end of most brewing attempts it says " POUR DOWN DRAIN" in big letters. One even says " POUR DROWN DRAIN", couldn't even spell right I was so disgusted.
I made a bad batch of rubbarb wine back then and the comment was "not good, though Aaron likes it but he works for the railway".
Eric A. Bonney (22.214.171.124)
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 05:04 pm: ||
I started brewing about 4 or 5 years ago. My ex-wife and kids bought me a Mr. Beer for father's day. It came with some "kit" that was a small can of pre-hopped extract. I remember bringing one or two cups of water to a boil with this small can of extract. Then I added it to the little container, added a few cups of table sugar and pitched the dry yeast in it. Closed it up and stuck it in the pantry. (Only place that was cold and dark)
It fermented fairly quickly and fairly well. Then I added some more sugar to each plastic bottle and then put some tap water into each bottle. Shook them up, and then added the concentrated wort to the bottle and then capped them. Waited a few weeks and tried one. It wasn't too bad but it really had a cidery taste to it. I tried a few more different kits before I tried to spice up the Mr. Beer kits. It tried adding DME to the kits, but in the end it just didn't work well. Finally I went to various web sites and read up on stuff and then I settled on a beginners kit from a party supply store in town and, well I have spent way to much money on this now to go back.
My kegging setup arrives tomorrow and hopefully in two weeks I will be kegging my first batch of beer. Also, happen to be my first batch in a couple of years that I have brewed.
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 05:10 pm: ||
Mom bought me a tru-brew starter kit. Made the 1st batch with the hopped extract that came with it. Came out looking beautiful but had this weird chemical taste. Did't brew again for a couple years. Then a friend gave me a cascade rizome because my wife loved how it covered his deck. Well had a 1/2 lb of fresh hops that fall so figued I'd give it another try. I remember drying the hops in the microwave but the beer was awesome! Been brewing for the last 5 years pretty regularly and switched to AG about 1 1/2 years ago. Love you Mom!
Dan Listermann (126.96.36.199)
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 05:51 pm: ||
Jim, tell us about microwave dried hops!
Vance Barnes (188.8.131.52)
|Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 07:49 pm: ||
Brewed my first and for a while last batches in the late 70's with Fleishman's yeast too. It was not good but it got drank anyhow. No brewing again until 93. That batch was an English bitter with 2 cans of John Bull extract. The LHBS either didn't know or bother to tell me that the JB was the "MALTIEST" tasting extract on the market. It would have probaly been good with 1 can and some sugar but 2 cans and all you could taste was malt. Don't think they bother to put any hops in the JB extract.
Things improved after that as I started putting in my own hops and adding specialty grains and finally AG, kegs, lagering and serving fridges, ...Sport hell, it's an obsession!
Bret Mayden (184.108.40.206)
|Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 04:13 pm: ||
Eric, I started out EXACTLY as you did. My results were the same, too. And I also did a lot of research, and am now, 7 years later, doing AG & salivating over SS brewing systems in the catalogs.....
Midwest Brewer (220.127.116.11)
|Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 05:02 pm: ||
These are a fun read.
My first experiences with brewing are one where my college roommate and I tried to make alcoholic rootbeer using rootbeer extract, sugar, and bread yeast in a "suntea" jar. It was abominable - but he drank some anyway.
The next "attempt" at brewing wouldn't be for another 8 years or so. I bought one of those "Brewery Bag" kits where you add 3 gallons of boiling water to the bag with some hopped (maybe?) LME. Then add a couple more gallons of cold water to chill, and use the dry yeast. It was ok - but not that great either.
A couple of years later I got my HB kit and from there things have gotten much better. Oddly enough - I never had a dumperbrau batch from my extract days. I did after going allgrain.