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Home Brewing Beer – It’s “Piss Easy!”

by on 3 April, 2011

When I was 17 my Father was a sales rep for Coopers Home Brew kits. It was then that I asked for my first kit. Dad (somewhat responsibly) said no. He said I couldn’t do it because:

  1. I was only 17 (fair enough)
  2. It isn’t as easy as it sounds! I would actually have to do some work!
  3. I’d have to keep it clean!

It was number three that was the clincher for me at the time. As far as I was concerned, washing anything couldn’t possibly be worth the effort.

It was in 2009 when a good friend of mine started home brew and invited me down one afternoon to try his “Continental Lager”. With a bit of apprehension and somewhat expecting the worst, I tentatively sipped at his beer. I was more than pleasantly surprised; it was fantastic! After getting through a few bottles of this liquid gold that was created in his spare bedroom, I stumbled up the road with visions of creating my own BEER nudging my mildly compulsive conscience.

The same friends that introduced me to fruits of home brewing got all our friends to put in for a kit for my 30th birthday. Included in the kit was everything required to make and bottle 23 Litres of beer (I was given the makings for Muntons Export Stout). To be honest, I stared at the set for about three months, with my Father’s words going round and around in my head… “It takes a lot of work, Mate… You have to make sure everything is really clean, or the whole brew will be stuffed!”.

I asked my brewing friend, who had a couple of brews under his belt by that stage, to show me the ropes for my first brew. After calling me a “girls blouse” for a while, we got stuck into it. From very early on, it became apparent that there is one very important ingredient in starting a brew – and this ingredient is required through the entire process to the point of bottling: Common sense.

I could go step by step through the process of what is required to get a brew going. I won’t though (for your sake and my sanity). Here’s what I do suggest you do though:

  • Book yourself four hours one Saturday
  • Rock on up to your local home brew supplies store and get a starter pack. This will cost you around $130 – $150, depending on what beer kit you go with. This should include all equipment and cleaning products. Ongoing beer kits will cost around $23, not including dextrose sugar.
  • Get the run down on what you’ll need to do from the supplier. They are a wealth of knowledge and give lots great tips
  • Clear your working area (in your kitchen, garage, wherever it is clean and has a water supply)
  • Clean and sterilize your gear. This is important, however don’t get too anal about it.
  • Get into it! Follow the instructions either provided with the kit, or given to you by the supplier (I’d normally go with the latter)
  • Take notes of what you do; if your beer turns out to be really good, you’ll know what to do next time

Once you’re done, the only thing that you need to do now is wait. This is the most difficult part of the whole brewing process, if you ask me.

I have only been brewing for just over a year now, so I still have a great deal to learn. Having friends that also brew has been a great help as we can compare and share stories (as well as beers). One great piece of advice given to me from one of these friends was:

“If your brew is underway and something doesn’t look right, walk away. Sit down, have a beer and just leave it. Check it tomorrow and it’ll probably be OK.”

This piece of advise has saved me more than once! Just remember to have fun. You can’t go wrong with Beer that costs around $25 for 23 Litres!

Brews that I’d recommend

Muntons Export Stout (Connaisseurs Range)

Muntons Continental Lager (Connaisseurs Range)

Muntons Wheat Beer (Connaisseurs Range) with Bavarian Wheat Enhancer

Muntons Bock Beer (Connaisseurs Range)

Mangrove Jacks Belgian Ale

Mangrove Jacks Bavarian Wheat

Suppliers that I’d recommend

Hauraki Home Brew, 17n Doglas Alexander Parade, Albany, Auckland

Brewcraft Mt Eden, 19 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland

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From → Home Brewing

8 Comments
  1. mike permalink

    and with that, i think i will go upstairs and unbox the Homebrew Kit i bought and has been sat there untouched for four months and give it a whirl. I have been using the excuse that the house is too cold….

  2. Tony Chandler permalink

    I just went and bought one this weekend from Brewerscoop in Penrose after listening to Stu from Yeastie Boys on National Radio.
    Gonna put my first one down this weekend – very exited

  3. Tony Chandler permalink

    I put it down yesterday. Mangrove Jacks Munich Lager which was the one that came with the kit.
    As of this morning the airlock is bubbling away merrily. I really can’t believe I haven’t tried this before – so much fun.
    Off to get a few crates of empties soon

  4. Tony Chandler permalink

    Me and my six year old son spent a very enjoyable morning bottling yesterday.

    We now have 28 750ml bottles conditioning in the garage – Can’t wait to try them

    • Now if that isn’t a bonding moment, I don’t know what is! I hope the young fella didn’t think of it as a chore – It’s our obligation to nurture our next generation of brewers (I have had to politely decline my 2 year old’s offers to help. Turns out he just wants to get to the beer anyway! Must be genetic)!

      Keep us updated Tony

      Cheers

      Chris

      • `Tony Chandler permalink

        He loved it. Didn’t like the taste of the beer which is a good thing. He’s at that age where he can actually help Dad and not be a nuisance.

        Next report will actually be the tasting

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