Hughes' Views & News

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Posted in Beer and brewing by tahughesnc on February 18, 2010

Here’s a quick and dirty update on my first home brewing project.

I have now consumed two bottles of my first batch of home brew, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. A picture of the first bottle I opened is shown here.

First Bottle of home brew

My very first bottle of home-brewed beer!

For this batch I simply used a Brewer’s Best ingredient kit for imperial pale ale, with one modification. My friend Keith Houck, who has been home brewing for more than 20 years, recommended that I add some dry leaf hops during the final week of fermentation. So, I added a half ounce of Cascade hops. The result is a brew that has a very sharp taste of hops.

Is it anywhere near as good as the best beers I have ever tasted? No, it is not. Is it better than many of the beers you will find in most grocery stores? Yes, it is. So, for my very first effort at home brewing, I’m pretty pleased.

For my next batch of home brew, I’m planning to ditch the ingredient kit altogether and brew from scratch. Just need to decide what style to make and find a good recipe.

Suggestions, anyone?

To Views & News, Add Brews

Posted in Beer and brewing by tahughesnc on January 30, 2010

For many years now, I have been a big fan of craft beer.

By “craft beer,” I am referring to the beers produced by breweries such as Dogfish Head, Founders, Terrapin, and many others of similar ilk, including several fine craft breweries right here in North Carolina: Full SteamBig Boss, Lone Rider, Triangle Brewing Co., Foothills, etc.

Beginning to brew photo

Heating the water for my first batch of home-brewed beer.

I have also been wanting to try my hand at home brewing my own beer for quite a while, and finally took the plunge a few weeks ago. I bought a Brewer’s Best deluxe equipment kit from Fifth Season in Carrboro and an ingredient kit for an imperial pale ale. I went back to Fifth Season a few days later to buy a 20-quart brewing kettle. Then, on a rainy Sunday that weekend, I started brewing my first batch.

As a first timer, I found the process to be a bit intimidating, especially since I was going through the process without anyone to guide me. But I managed to make my way through it and took a few pictures to document the experience.

At this point my beer is still fermenting. I kept it for 5 days in a primary plastic fermenter, and then transferred it to a glass carboy. It’s been in the carboy for 1 week and I plan to keep it in there for another week before I proceed to bottling.

Transferring to carboy photo

My home brew in glass carboy.

A couple of nights ago I took a hydrometer reading.  The first time I took a reading, before starting fermentation, I got 1.060. The second reading was 1.020, which was a sign that everything was headed in the right direction. I also took a sip of the beer, mostly out of curiosity. Although the beer was still a long way from finished at that point, the taste was not too bad.

I’ll post an update here after I have bottled the beer and have had a chance to taste the final product.