I had my first ever brew day today. Simple enough setup – extract brew labeled “pirate gold ale” with everything pre-packaged. My apartment smells like feet and maple syrup.
My only real hiccup was that final clean up took a while. Upside is that it had little to do with the brewing process – I had a bag of ice and a bag of flour break open all over the kitchen – then dropped a glass and shattered that on top. Oh – and I sprayed wort all over the kitchen at one point.
Ok – so this wasn’t the easiest thing I ever tried.
That said – overall things went MUCH faster than I thought they would – 3 hours end to end (I was expecting 5-6). Water went to boil in 25 minutes this time (the bottled water went faster than my tap maybe?) and cooling took less than 25 minutes.
Now I don’t have a wort chiller. What I do have is a ridiculous-sized stock pot. Since it holds 5 gallons I just took a 25 gallon stock pot, sterilized the outside, and filled it 2/3rds with ice water. This I dropped in to the wort – it hovered about an inch above the bottom of the kettle with about three inches all the way around. Once the ice melted I pulled the pot and refilled with ice water again. Super fast – and nothing to connect to the sink. (I’ll post pictures if anyone is interested)
While a simple brew – I learned a lot from the experience. I need to think more about organization for sure – and there is some more gear I really wish I had on hand… like an additional plastic bucket for sterilizing, a MUCH larger funnel, and a turkey baster or something to be able to draw wort out of the fermentor for a gravity check. I also wish I had pre-filled the fermentor and marked the side so I knew where 5 gallons is.
But all that is behind me now. The beer is in the fermentor – happily humming away under a cardboard box wishing it had a blowout tube instead of an airlock. We’ll know in a day I guess whether this is gonna work out I guess.