"A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever it wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is."
Starting homebrewing is both exciting and terrifying. I enjoy beer as much as the next guy, and I can't count the number of times I've thought that whipping up my own suds would be a lot of fun. But I know how badly a batch of beer can go-- between just tasting bad, to making someone sick. Exploding bottles. Beer volcanoes.
I've heard that the Babylonians, if you made a bad batch, would drown you in your own beer. Makes sense to me.
So, upon receiving a homebrew kit from my inlaws this Christmas, I immediately sought out a good guide for taking me through the process. I got a tip from a commenter on NPR.org for a book called How To Brew by John Palmer-- and it's fantastic so far. It starts you off right away and explains the details later. Perfect. I don't have time to discuss the qualities of different strains of yeast. I've got some beer to brew, dammit.
There's enough ingredients for a one-gallon batch of Brown Ale in the kit. So I picked up some sanitizer and got started!
Brewed the grain bag, stirred in the malt, boiled with hops, cooled it. Simple stuff. Cooling the wort in the snowbank in the backyard took longer than an hour, which was really unexpected. I started rehydrating the yeast right when I put the pot in the snow, and that's only supposed to take 20 minutes. Hm.
Anyway, I poured the wort into the carboy (and I was mean about it, because aeration), filled it up the rest of the way with cool water, and pitched the yeast. Then clamped on that young airlock and relegated the beer to a closet in the bedroom upstairs (~65 degrees). Can't wait to see those bubbles!