Preparing for First Brew Day

Stock photo from Charlotte May

After banging my head against the wall with the Joy-Killing Research, I had to push myself to actually do a homebrew by finally purchasing a recipe kit (“recipe mix”) and some extra accessories.

I know I’ve done a lot of bitching about this learning process (lol), but I feel really lucky that there’s a really cool homebrew / microbrewery place in my city. If it weren’t for Short Finger Brewing Company (SFBC), I definitely would’ve said “fuck this” a lot sooner! Over a year ago, I wandered into the store, talked for a bit, and was recommended “How to Brew” by John Palmer (which I bought and still appreciate).

They do online orders and deliveries, which has been amazing during this whole lockdown thing. Plus, you can get their beer with your homebrew supplies (because your homebrew isn’t going to be done and drinkable for some time).

Short Finger can art
Short Finger can art – I like the fun drawings!

Given my other posts, it may come as no surprise that I didn’t want to do an extract brew for my first brew; I wanted to do all-grain. I’ve been told that’s harder, but clearly I’m some kind of masochist.

I chose the “Alex Mack Blonde Ale All Grain Recipe Kit” from Short Finger, which is in the “easy” category. I do kind of wonder who this “Alex Mack” fellow is… I mean, he’s not a SFBC employee, as far as I can tell.

When the delivery arrived, I promptly cracked open the Save Me Jebus and went over the brewing instructions sheet. Obviously, I hadn’t read “How to Brew” cover to cover (who does?) and I’m super new to this, so I had to write out every single step I would have to do, in my own words. I’d share my hand-written steps with you, but it’s too long.

As in the past, I kept looking up things I didn’t know or understand…. and proceed to get kinda frustrated (“I thought this wasn’t supposed to be rocket science.”) There have beeen too many instances of this to recount here, but the best example was the Fly Sparging vs “Brew in a Bag”.

I was so annoyed with my false starts, and I just needed to try something hands on.

I hadn’t even brewed anything first, and I was already changing my process (for better or worse).