Brewing My First Beer – Part 1


Today I started making my first beer…with the help of a friend (C) who’d done it before and had most of the kit and accessories needed. Since he was missing a few items, our beer-making odyssey started yesterday with a trip to MoreBeer to pick-up bottling gear (a siphon, tubing, bottling bucket, spigot, bottles and caps)  and choose our beer kit. It was a crazy new world for me, full of fun gadgets and many excited men (yes, plus the occassional lady) getting supplies as it was 15%-off-everything day! To aid us in our shopping, we were even given free donuts!

After much deliberation, we settled on a Dunkelweizen as our inaugural beer. Neither of us had drunk one before but we wanted a style that we could enjoy cold in the Californian sunshine and would suit all of our friends’ palates. The darker malts should hopefully make it more exciting than a standard Hefeweizen. The ingredients come in a kit, then we bought malted wheat extract separately and choose our liquid yeast from this amazing fridge full of different yeasts, specialized for different beer styles.

Back to this morning, we quickly popped back to (a decidedly quieter) MoreBeer for a thermometer, started sterilizing our gear and then realized we needed a third trip to the beer supply store as C realized his fermenting bucket’s lid had been damaged and thrown out sometime in the three years since his last brew and relocation to the west coast. While C was negotiating swapping his new bottling bucket for a fermenting bucket, I got geekedly excited over my own realization that getting more serious about this hobby in the future would give me an excuse to buy my own pH meter… something I’ve wanted since my PhD days but could never really justify!

On to the brewing! Below is a photo-documentary of today’s adventure. Part 2 will be bottling the beer and Part 3 will be drinking! In the meantime, I’m open to any and all suggestions for naming the brew. Fingers crossed that it works well!

Sterilizing the brew kettle
Beer ingredients!
Steeping the flavouring grains for 30 mins while bringing the temperature up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit – looks like tea!
Sampling our control specimen for inspiration 😉
Removing the bag of flavouring grains after 30 mins of steeping
Foaming sweet wort before adding hop pellets and boiling for an hour – the smell reminded me of living in Leeds near the Tetley’s brewery!
Cooling the hot wort down to fermentation temperature
Adding the magical yeast
Measuring the Original Gravity (OG = 1.051) with a hydrometer
Beer fermenting in the closet… note the secondary containment, just in case!

3 thoughts on “Brewing My First Beer – Part 1

  1. I really want to suggest a clever name for this stuff but I’m stumped. Actually, how about “Stumped”? Anyway, the process looks pretty intense – have fun and good luck!

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