I'm on the eve of creating my third and fourth batches of beer after successfully brewing batches one and two in November and December. I have a few buddies who brew beer and until I had access to a couple of carboys, I've been reluctant to move forward in brewing my own.
In November, Dwayne from Yellowknife visited and he's been making beer for years so I asked him if he would guide me through my first batches. He happily agreed. I picked up a little bit of equipment from Wine Kitz, just down the road from me, and 2 beer kits: Brew House India Pale Ale and Brew House Stout.
We cleaned the equipment by sterilizing in boiling water, mixed the malty water with more water for a total of 19 L (supposed to be 23, but we wanted to make stronger beer) and then yeast. Easy!
To make the beer a little more personal, I added a bit of ingredients. The IPA was already hopped, but I boiled a 1/2 oz of cascade hops and added the water to the beer. I also added the peels of one small orange thinking it wouldn't make much of an impact, but maybe a little complex note. A week later I added a little mesh bag of another 1/2 oz of hops to add aroma (this is called dry hopping).
To the stout I added a bunch of spice: 1/8 cup of allspice, 1/8 cup of cardamom, 1/16 coup of cloves.
We set up the airlock by running the tubes from the stoppers into a bucket 1/4 full of water. For the next week a steady stream of bubbles and foam poured through the tubes - what a racket and mess. Fortunately, it wasn't too loud and no one complained about it being in our crowded little kitchen, though Lukas dropped a stuffed animal in the soup and Amber dropped toast into it. The mess was contained too.
When the main fermentation was done - about a week - I moved the 2 carboys into our cooler storage area and put little airlocks into the stoppers and cleaned out the stinky bucket. 2 more weeks of slow secondary fermentation and the beer was ready to bottle.
Though we collected bottles for 2 months, we still didn't have enough, so I had to spring for a dozen self corking bottles to make sure we had enough. Wine Kitz even lent me their bench capper for the night. I spent the evening putting 35 litres of beer into bottles and spent the next 5 days cleaning up as much as I could after work.
My assessment? Well, I'm certainly just starting, so I never expected to make an award winning brew.
The stout is too spicy, but I am enjoying it. I find it is mellowing out day by day, so in a couple weeks it will probably be as mellow as it's going to get. Great dark colour though.
I really like the IPA. It could be hoppier, but the orange peel adds another kind of bitterness which I like too. I have plenty to last me a long while. The best part is the pride I can take in producing it myself.
"Zaakistan Peel IPA"
"Riches Spiced Stout"