In The Beginning…………..

It seems like ages ago when Dennis, Jesse, and myself finally stopped procrastinating and began brewing our first beers. In fact it wasn’t even a year ago. Jesse and myself were already big time beer nerds and had talked about biting the bullet on a starter kit numerous times. It wasn’t until Dennis had his first sip of Old Yale Brewing’s “Sasquatch Stout” (not a bad choice for your first craft beer) that the question was finally asked “so…is there a reason we’re not making this?”. That was a damn good question Dennis. This was the final push we needed to make us drive down to Dan’s Homebrewing Supplies and gear up to brew our first batch. It was an exciting time!

Dennis' first taste of craft beer.....and it was awesome!
Dennis’ first taste of craft beer…..and it was awesome!

We tried making things easier on ourselves for that first brew by starting with a partial mash recipe (whatever that meant). However, we had big stars in our eyes and went straight for our favorite style at the time. Scotch Ale here we come! We had our gear, ingredients, and some great beers ready to enjoy back at Jesse’s while we brewed. Everything was set and it was gonna be awesome.

Minus 9 and Broken Label bubbling away!
Minus 9 and Broken Label bubbling away!

Was it ACTUALLY awesome though? Yes and no. A more appropriate word to describe it would be “CHAOS”. Up until that point we had done little to no reading on what we were supposed to do and were relying HEAVILY on the instructions that came with the recipe, which seemed to assume that the reader had brewed before. Our measurements were right’ish, temperatures were taken with a meat thermometer and our times were…eh…close enough. Our original gravity reading was…oh…is that what that floaty thingy was for? We even dropped a label from one of the extract buckets in the boil for good measure, which inspired its name “Broken Label Scotch Ale” (Don’t worry we fished it out). It was one hell of a learning experience that’s for sure and we learned a lot. On top of that we were hooked.

The very first bottle we ever capped!
The very first bottle we ever capped!

It wasn’t long until we picked up more ingredients, borrowed some better gear (THANKS JACK!!), and began brewing our second batch, all the while dreaming out loud about what this could be leading to. “If we actually get good at this, could we turn it into a business?”. That question was running over and over in our heads, as I’m sure it has for many ambitious first time home brewers. Our first two batches tasted ok. Definitely drinkable, but the highest compliments we’d received were “not bad” and the occasional “good”. Are you kidding me? “Not bad”?! “Good”?! We were after words like “fantastic”, “amazing” or something similar with a well placed explicit. These “good” descriptions just wouldn’t do. After only two brews we were done messing around with extracts. Things were about to get serious.

Minus 9 Cream Ale and Broken Label Scotch Ale.
Minus 9 Cream Ale and Broken Label Scotch Ale.

Check back soon for our next post “Adventures In All-Grain”!

-Kevin

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