We brewed our first with the new system on Saturday. I’ve brewed a few times with friends that have super systems, but this was the first time we took the training wheels off.
At times, it was painful.
Painful because we used extract and didn’t jump right into an all-grain format. It’s probably okay to use extract in your first run, but it’s probably also true that you usually make better beers when you start from scratch. In our case, we made an English Brown using some light malt extract from More Beer, with some Crystal and chocolate grains in the boil and Cascade hops for 60 minutes and 10 minutes.
Painful because we made some mistakes. It was probably to be expected, and also not a big deal, but we shorted the boil a gallon, didn’t make sure the beer was 70-80 degrees before we pitched the yeast, and over-hopped the boil a bit. Eh, also to be expected.
Painful because it was a cold, windy day. Painful because it hailed on us and into the beer. We didn’t have any control over it, it probably didn’t change the beer too much, and it did create a new name for our beer — Hail Beer! — but it was still a cold day.
Painful because the beer we were drinking while we were brewing was so good. We had the Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale, and it was a great beer that made me embarrassed for our beer that we were brewing. Somewhere between a Belgian double and a Saison, the Flemish Wild Ale is not for everyone, but it suited my palate. Less in your face than a lot of Belgians, and therefore more drinkable. But still nuanced and great. If our first beer can be half as good, we’ll have done something right.
It was a painful day, but it was a first step. I’m excited to brew a saison of my own as soon as we drink up this brown ale and practice a few more times. Pain always leads to gain, right?