How to turn glass jars into glass shards

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Since I have fairly low expectations for how this first batch is going to turn out, I decided to play with the recipe and make a strawberry brew.

I ordered four one-gallon fermenting jars with lids, a bag of twenty rubber grommets, and six three-piece airlocks from Amazon. The package arrived with one of the glass jars broken. “Broken” probably isn’t the right word.

The pictures of the item on Amazon showed the individual jars wrapped in bubble wrap. However, the package arrived with bubble wrap around the outside of the inner box, leaving the jars to flop around inside the box with only the divider in between.

Amazon credited a portion of the purchase price and I ordered a single jar and four spare lids. I split a couple of the original lids trying to drill the hole out for the airlock grommets.

Fifth Season

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I stopped by Fifth Season, a local homebrew supply shop, after work and picked up a few things.

First, I needed priming sugar, since I didn’t know to add it to the Adventures in Homebrew recipe page. Also, I picked up the 24″ plastic brew paddle that my kit was missing. Lastly, while I was there, I looked through their Brewer’s Best rack and picked up a Summer Ale recipe kit.

This recipe kit is the first one that Dan brewed and it turned out great.

Cool it!

Monday, August 27, 2018

I picked up a plastic tote at Kmart on my way home from work. Filled it with water and parked the fermenter in it.

Once or twice a day, I dropped a plastic freezer bag full of ice cubes in to cool it down some more. This took the temperature of the fermenter from 75° down to 70-72°

A few days later, I bought a twelve pack of grocery store brand 12oz water bottles and froze them. Using those, I was able to stop messing with freezer bags full of ice cubes and could drop the frozen bottles more frequently, two to three times a day. This got the temperature down to 68-70°.

Also, the peel and stick thermometer that came with the brew kit isn’t water proof. After a couple of days in the water, the outer plastic layer peeled off, rendering it unreadable.

Brew Day – Backyard Pilsner

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Brewing Backyard Pilsner recipe from Adventures in Homebrewing. Recipe says “Gradually bring up to 150-160” like I have the option of doing it quickly…

Doing all of this for the first time, it’s a little disjointed – not having things ready when I need them or within easy reach when my hands are full. Anyway, it went smoothly, all things considered.

In preparation for this day, I had frozen some beer cans full of water, ready for the ice bath at the end of the boil. Turns out, don’t freeze cans. The expanding ice opens up a door in the side of the can, almost perfectly uniform across all of them.

Regardless, they worked well to cool down the wort. I tied some cord with a long twist tie to the end of my thermometer and hung it from the knob on the cabinet door above the sink.

The Original Gravity measured 1.040. The recipe projected 1.048.

I moved the fermenter down to the basement, since it is the coolest place in the house. Unfortunately, in the summer, it’s still 75° down there, which is near the top of the range for the Safale US-05 yeast.

In the beginning…

Saturday, August 18, 2018

My friend Dan began homebrewing a couple of months back. After his first couple of batches turned out well, I decided I would give it a go as well. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but was afraid it would be too much of a pain in the ass, or I wouldn’t end up liking it after all. You know, hours in the kitchen… Cleaning up… Sounds great.

This morning, I ordered the Brewer’s Best BeAst brewing kit from Adventures in Homebrewing. The kit also includes a free recipe kit and I chose the Backyard Pilsner with Safale US-05 yeast.

When the kit arrived a few days later, it was missing the brew paddle, but also the carboy was glass instead of plastic, so I guess we’re even.

Anyway, I decided to start this blog, as with everything else on this website, as an archive. It’s nice to have a place to dump all the brew day details, trials, errors, and pictures for my own future reference.

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