I’m going to get home brewing again this weekend as I’m down to the last few bottles!
Sad to report that Brewer Bill in Coventry market is not well and has been open for a while. Please check before you go and visit the stall.
Today I’ve got around to bottling the Wheat Beer Home Brew – Pacific Foam by Big Ed’s Craft Ales. A straightforward process that left me with 16 full 500ml Coopers PET bottles. It should be ready to drink in 3 weeks and will be an ideal beer for summer.
I can definitely recommend the bottling stick, it made filling up the bottles really easy and significantly reduced the mess and lost beer through spillages!
Over the weekend I started a new home brew called Pacific Foam from Big Eds Craft Ales. It is a American style wheat beer with New Zealand Pacifica hops and saison yeast.
I’ve now done several of these kits from Big Eds and I find the process to be simple and only occasionally needing to refer back to the instruction book. The only downside is that you need to present during the boil, which can be over 90 minutes, to make sure there isn’t any boil overs, but I doubt my crappy electric hobs could achieve that!
Whilst preparing to pitch the yeast I found my 10 litre fermenting bucket was no longer air tight so I’ve had to improvise with my other 5 gallon bucket. This isn’t a problem, but you do need a 10 litre fermenting bucket that allows the brew bag to be placed over the rim of the fermenting bucket.
I hope to add some finishing hops to this brew next Wednesday. They should add hop flavour and aroma to the beer.
I will bottle my 8 litres of Pacific Foam Wheat Beer in 2 weeks and hopefully it will be ready to drink in 5 weeks.
Recently I have given Beer52 Craft Beer Club a go, it’s a new company that will send you 8 specially selected beers every month for £24 a month including delivery. Working out at £3 a beer is pretty good going. The beer selection I received was a London selection and every beer was enjoyable. I recognised some of the breweries but I had not tried any of the beers that were in the box.
The packaging was very good and I also received a nice bottle opener, crisps and craft beer magazine. Overall its a great idea as you don’t get these beers in the supermarkets and I don’t have time to get down to the beer shop.
By chance I came across Big Ed’s Craft Ale Kits and having always wanted to brew beer from grain but not spend all my money on the required kit, I thought I would give it a go. The kits cost £85 and includes a ingredient kit. Big Ed’s Craft Ale Kits replicates the brewing process: the Mash, Sparging, The Boil, Cooling, Fermentation and Bottling & conditioning using a big pot, wool blankets, a brew bag, fermenting bucket and a cardboard box!
I’ve done several kits now and have been really impressed with the outcome with the beer tasting like something you would buy in the pub. My friends who have tried the beer have been equally impressed.
I’ve done the following kits
- Chocolate Fountain
- Red Adair Extreme
- Saison of Satan
- Sheffield Stout Porter
- Smokestack – not yet available on the website
- Yankee PA is in progress.
I think Chocolate Fountain is my favourite. As the image above of the kit shows you get everything required, from hops and sugar to irish moss! Some kits require extras such as vodka so if you’re looking for cheap beer these kits aren’t for you.
The instructions are very clear but did take me a few reads to understand the process on my first brew having only ever done the standard beer kits (Coopers, Brewfrem etc..). The process is a lot longer than what I was used to so make sure an morning or afternoon is put aside for this.
The only issue I have is that I don’t think I get a good boil with my electric stove, but the results are great so I don’t think it matters.
The other thing I like about these kits are that they only make around 15 – 20 500ml bottles which is more than enough for me. The standard brew kits make around 40 pints and I found it to be a struggle to get through all of them, even giving them away to friends.
Some pictures from my first brew:
My latest home brewing experiment has involved 2 kits that were going out of date. I’m not sure the impact of out of date beer kits, I imagine they would last a lot longer than the date stamped on the bottom of the can like most food stuffs.
My idea was to combine both kits in the fermenting bucket, add 1kg of sugar and about 20 litres of water. I did this last weekend and the fermenting has been working well with the airlock making plenty of noise from the gases being made. I’ve never combined 2 kits before, usually its too expensive to do, but I got these kits cheap from Wilko’s in the sale last year so thought it would be an ideal opportunity and if it turns out like something I made in my bath tub I’ve not lost much.
I hope to bottle the beer next weekend and should get an idea of how it will taste and will report back.
Brewing season is back! I have a few beer kits I picked up cheap during a Wilkinson’s sales and thought I would try an experiment with some caramel syrup bought from Costa Coffee. The beer kit was bought for £5 so if its a disaster of a brew its not been a huge was of money!
- Coopers Stout
- 1kg Sugar
- 4 tablespoons of Le Sirop de Monin Caramel
STEP 1: Mix
I mixed the Stout, sugar and Caramel with 2 litres of boiling as described by the instructions and filled the fermentation buck up with cold water to the 23 litre mark.
STEP 2: Brew
I’m leaving the brew in the fermentation bucket for about 2 weeks with the brewbelt keeping it warm and hopefully at 21°C. I might add some more Le Sirop de Monin Caramel when the froth has stopped being produced.
I’ll post the results in a couple of weeks when I bottle the beer.
Just a quick post to highlight a sale going on in Wilko’s now in store and online. Not as good as before but you can save a few quid on beer kits and accessories.
Google have recently added Coventry’s indoor market to Google Map street view and it is very good. You can navigate around the market and see what’s for sale and every store there.
You can find Brewer Bill on the street view, check it out here. You can see Bill and what he generally has in stock.