I now have stocked up over 50 bottles. That means I have enough for my first batch of beer. I was planning on helping a fellow homebrewer brew a batch so that I could learn by watching, but I think I’ll probably learn better by just getting my hands dirty. So over the course of a month I have been able to obtain the necessary number of bottles from the board game nights that my group has.
My first beer will be an Amber Ale. I chose it because I’ve heard Ambers are easy to brew. I also chose it because an Amber ale is something my wife would drink. I am only missing two things before I can brew:
A friend recommended I pick up a turkey fryer. He said his wife doesn’t appreciate the smell of boiling beer. And since you often have to boil for over an hour, this seems like it would be a good investment. I had forgotten to purchase a 5 gallon stock pot when I picked up my homebrew kit. That might have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. These turkey fryers typically come with a large pot, since they have to hold a turkey. You can get just the burner, but the all-in-one seems like a better way to go. The pots often have a drain spout, which could also come in handy.
A 7.5 gallon (30 quart) unit runs about $65 at the large home improvement stores, not including the propane tank. I have been looking for one secondhand without much luck so I might just buy one new.
Plus, I could use it when I’m not brewing beer to make deep-fried anything. And we all know that deep-fried anything is good! Though we can’t make deep-fried twinkies anymore. Bummer.
Another item that seems like a good investment is a wort chiller. Why? Because a wort chiller can save you a lot of time. After boiling the wort you have to let it cool down. Using a wort chiller can cool the wort much faster, cutting hours off your brewing time.
A wort chiller works by running cool water through the copper coils. The cool water pulls the heat from the wort much faster than simply losing heat to the air.
You can buy these for $40 and up, but I think I may make one. All you need is some copper tubing, couplings, and a hose to connect with your water supply. Here’s a video I found of a guy named Fo building his own:
That looks pretty easy, and much cheaper than buying a word chiller.
My goal is to be brewing when the weather gets nice sometime in March. There are usually a few warm days in Wisconsin in March, so I hope to have my wort chiller made by then. This is gonna be fun!