Wow! Going into this I was pretty weary of what would/could happen but the entire process went so much better than expected. There was really only one “Oh No!” moments and even that wasn’t all that bad. I think a lot of had to do with having another set of hands there courtesy of my wonderful wife Rachel.
The Brown Ale kit from Midwest Bewing Supplies came complete with almost everything I would have wanted *cough* hop sack *cough*and had fairly good instructions.
The first thing that signaled this might go well was how easy it was to keep the steeping in the desired range. Although, getting it to that range was a real pain. One thing I did not take into account was how hard it would be heat and then boil 4 gallons of water. Turns out is much more difficult and time consuming than a can of Green Beans (who would have guessed?).
Once the grains were steeped we had the “Oh No!” moment. With Rachel stirring I went to add in the malt extract which came in a mini-milk jug. I was a pouring the extract in there went the collar from the jug. We were able to retrieve it fast and this shouldn’t affect the final taste.
Boiling is the most boring part of brewing all you can do sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize in prep of what comes next.
Cooling the wort was our biggest pain point. We did not have enough sink space to cool it effectively. In total it ended up taking about 40 minutes to finally get the wort cool. A positive from this is Rachel now knows what she is getting me for my birthday/Christmas, a Wort Chiller (ooo, ahhhh).
The Original Gravity on the instructions said to be in the range of 1.444 – 1.448 we hit 1.446 (YES!). It is now in the fermenter and hopefully soon we will start seeing good progress made by the yeast.
So with that, the Brown Ale is done for awhile and now all we can do is sit and wait and wait and wait…