My wife Rachel was actually the first one of us to homebrew beer having done a single batch with her father before we met. We started homebrewing together in late 2011 not with beer, but with wine. Our first batch of wine was a bastardized recipe for scuppernong which advised to toss some steel cut oats and potato into the fermentor. Looking back on it, it might have said potato meal OR oats, ours however got sliced potatoes AND oats. Either way, do potatoes or oats really belong in a wine?
Everything was tossed into a antique crock together and covered with a lid of a pan. Strangely enough even though we used a completely random grapes from the grocery and I think probably bread yeast, it turned out drinkable enough that none of it went down the drain. Beginners luck truly is amazing. Following this amazing success we were hooked and started doing additional batches with steadily improving results.
By early in 2013 Rachel insisted that we give beer a try and I started reading Palmer’s How to Brew. Beer it to me seemed like a far more daunting task than wine and I was a bit unsure about how this would go. In the end we retrieved all of her old equipment and ingredients from her parents house and bought a Russian Imperial Stout kit off Amazon.com. That June, armed the extract kit and an old pressure cooker as a brew kettle we started down the road of beer brewing. That first beer was massively unpitched (1 packet of dry yeast from the kit) and when it was young was just boozy and hot, but mellowed into something drinkable within a few months. Sadly, with much more age it’s turned into something amazing full of dark fruits and a wonderful complex character. Unfortunately, most of it was drank way before it reached this peak condition sadly. As I’m writing this today (2/2015) I still have 2 bottles of this original batch of beer left, the last one I opened was in December of 2014 and it had aged amazingly well.
After that first batch I was hooked and since then have probably dragged my wife more into homebrewing then she ever planned. I take to hobbies with a bit more gusto then most people so by the end of the year we had brewed 10 more batches. In 2014 we moved to all grain BIAB with a 20 gallon kettle on an induction burner, started kegging beer and brewed 36 batches. This blog is part of my effort to keep a better record of what we’ve done and capture what we learn along the way.