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Hello! First things, first: "Long time reader, first time poster!" (you may call your favorite reference to mind, mine is Hank Azaria in Grosse Pointe Blank). I got into homebrewing about 6-7 years ago when I had heard enough of my students do speeches on how to make beer amd I figured if THEY could do it, well, *I* certainly could! It is a lot of fun and you can involve lots of people. BE CAREFUL: It is straight up geek/nerd central in its addictiveness. You find yourself buying stuff just like you buy Fiend Folios or multisided dice. Although I certainly support the "sanitize" admonitions, please FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY use the right sanitizer. A lot of the first time kits use an iodine-based sanitizer. I used that initially and then went to a class where someone was spraying sanitizer on EVERYTHING like it was no big deal. I then did the same on my next batch . . . . I made five gallons of band-aid flavored beer. It was NOT pretty! As far as cooling the wort, I have made beer from cooling it in my sink to chillers to all grain now and it is difficult. Get a wort chiller (copper tubing thingee you run cold water through) and your life will be much easier. Also, since you are in California, brewing in the summer is difficult because of keeping the fermenting beer between 64-74 degrees, but you can make a fermentation chiller for about $30 (do a google search on the term) with stuff from Home Depot/etc. Doesn't take a lot of skill (thank goodness for me!) and works wonders in the heat (I live in the Central Valley). I am a BIG hops fan so started growing my own hops just this year and am looking forward to making so very hoppy beers. I am also currently fermenting a cider of my own creation because, well, we Americans are sooooo far behind the Europeans when it comes to cider and I am hoping I can make some good enough to fill my own gap. As has been said before, I am sure, if you screw it up . . . relax, have a beer, keep going! ANyway, the last couple of posts you have made have really kinda 'spoken to me' and this one pushed me over the edge! Have fun! -MacRorie
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Jul 9, 2011