A few times in the past I’ve looked into brewing my own beer but never quite pulled the trigger on it since I wasn’t really sure what to get and where to start. But that all changed when my brother got me a kit for this past Christmas. He picked up the Brewers Best (can I say that on here??) deluxe kit and an extract kit (chocolate milk stout) plus a case of 12 oz bottles and two cases of 22 oz bottles. He was up for a week for the holidays and during that time we got the first batch started. This past Wednesday I racked it to the secondary and to my inexperienced eye, it looks like it’s doing good. IG was 49 (actually the highest that the kit is supposed to produce) and when I racked it to the secondary it was at 22 (supposed to finish at 10-15, IIRC).
After careful consideration, when I get to bottling day, I’m thinking of mixing a big batch of sanitizer and just do everything (bottles, bottling bucket, primary, kettle, etc) and starting a second batch of brew. After looking around (I’m not ready to try my hand at full grain yet, I’d rather get a few extract kits under my belt so I can get myself accustomed to how it all works), I’m planning on getting the Caribou Slobber and the Dry Irish Stout kits. Since I have a problem leaving things alone (my trucks are testament to that - there isn’t a stock one in the bunch), I was thinking of modifying things right out of the gate… at least with the Irish Stout. I might mess with the Caribou Slobber too, I haven’t decided yet.
From the reviews it seems that the Dry Irish Stout will come out somewhat like Guinness. But nobody says if it comes out more like the Draught (canned) or the Stout (bottled). I didn’t care all that much for the drier and more bitter Stout but I love the Guinness Draught. So my first impulse since I suspected it will be more like the Stout was to just order a pound of Briess Dark DME and throw that in with the brew when I add the DME from the kit. Then the thought occurred to me when I was reading about adding sugar or honey to boost alcohol levels last night on here that maybe I should gather some input before I go just throwing things in the brew pot. If things work out well with the Dry Irish Stout, that will probably become my regular brew for the time being. I’m looking for a nice dark well-rounded brew, it can be slightly sweet but not overly so since I’ll probably consume it with food and ideally between a 5-8% alcohol.
The Caribou Slobber will be a more sit back and relax brew. Probably to be enjoyed with a fine premium cigar in the medium or full flavor profile. Not sure where the brew will be out of the box, but it would be nice if it was strong enough to hold up to a stronger cigar.
If anyone wants to throw out any suggestions for someone new to the brewing world, I’d be happy to listen. At some point before the end of this year I hope to be kegging my more commonly produced beers, to have a full sized brew pot and a propane burner, and be experimenting with at least partial mash kits. For now though, since there has been a distinct lack of enough snow to make money, diving in with both feet is going to have to wait until work (hopefully) picks up in the spring.