This past Saturday, November 4 was Learn to Homebrew Day and, as something near and dear to our hearts (and current livelihoods), we thought we’d share some advice for those of you thinking of taking homebrewing up as a hobby. After all, it could turn into a career if our Brewmaster, Jeremy, is any indication.
We asked our Brewing Manager, Adam Schmitt, and our Microbiologist, Wade Begrow, to share some advice to those considering homebrewing as a hobby. Here’s what they had to say:
- There is no substitute for effective cleaning and sanitation. Set yourself up for success with quality cleaning and sanitation chemicals. Follow the directions and be extra thorough when brewing to prevent contamination. Bacteria and yeast can destroy your beloved homebrew.
- Join a local homebrew club! It’s the best way to learn from others and make friends within the homebrew community.
- Connect with your local homebrew store. They are always super helpful and will help you succeed! Don’t be shy to ask for help when you shop for ingredients.
- Most homebrew kits are for 5 gallons (about 2 cases of beer), but there are 1 gallon kits available, too, which we find are perfect for getting the hang of things.
- Set aside plenty of time to brew. Don’t rush things!
- Take notes before, during, and after brewing! Nothing is worse than forgetting exactly how you made that amazing batch of beer.
Looking for a recipe to kick things off? Adam was kind enough to share a recipe for a cream ale he has dubbed “The Don” after a friend’s dad who is a big fan of light lagers. Check it out below and, if you end up brewing it, let us know how it goes!
“The Don” Cream Ale
Batch Size(Gallons): 5.00
Total Grain(Lbs): 6.45
Anticipated OG: 1.042
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 13.1
Brewhouse Efficiency: 85%
Wort Boil Time: 90 minutes
|62.0%||3.00lbs||Pale Malt (2-row)||America||1.038||2|
|19.4%||1.25lbs||Flaked Corn (Maize)||America||1.040||1|
|7.8%||0.50lbs||Crystal Malt 40L||America||1.034||40|
The idea for this beer started out as a traditional cream ale. It morphed into a low ABV, crisp, hoppy cream ale, and as you can see from the recipe sheet (below), I felt the need to make even more changes throughout the brew day.
The wort was fermented with White Labs Alt Ale Yeast WLP036, which went from an O.G. of 1.032 (8 Plato) down to the final gravity of 1.006 (1.6 Plato).
This was a simple brew, which made for a quick brew day, and a fantastic end result. Even though there was a decent amount of hop volume added to the beer, it didn’t have any vegetal character, and was filled with soft fruity notes.
Below are the bulleted points from the brew day, as well as equipment I use. (Everything was thoroughly sanitized before use)
- Pre-heated, and put all of my water into the 10 Gallon cylindrical beverage cooler MLT, and mashed the entirety of the grain in at once, since it was only five pounds.
- Boiled in a 10 gallon aluminum pot.
- Cooled with my homemade copper coil wort chiller. I place it in the boil with about 10 minutes left, so I don’t contaminate the brew.
- Primary fermentation was done in a plastic fermentation bucket, with a water lock. No need for blowoff because of the low gravity.
- I do not have an O2 stone, so I shook the hell out of the bucket, once filled and pitched with yeast.
- I just tossed the dry hop pellets into the fermenting bucket after 2 days of activity.
- Secondary was completed in a glass carboy.
- This was done just to settle out the large particulate.
- Kegged and force carbonated to about 2.5 volumes of CO2.
- The beer was hazy to begin with, but clarity was not a concern for this brew. It did drop brite after a few days.