In November last year, two colleagues and I happened to talk over lunch about
home-brewing beer; a few days later packages with equipment arrived at our door-steps.
None of us had any real experience and I only vaguely remembered a good
podcast (CRE 194, in German) on the subject. But how hard
could it be?
So we read a few websites and ended up following the beginner's instructions at
brauanleitung.de. Our equipment is for the
standard homebrewers' batch size of ~20 liters (5 gallons), meaning a big pot, two
plastic buckets, one for filtration, one for fermenting; a few hoses and
connectors, plus the actual ingredients for our batch #1: a single hop and
single (Pilsner) malt for a German-style "Altbier", that is a light ale like they were
made before Lagers became popular.
The result was good. Not the most amazing beer ever (partly because we
were impatient and did not give it enough time from bottle fermentation to
drinking), but definitely good enough to continue! I will
link below to the GoogleDocs that we used for keeping our logs; these are in a varying
mix of three languages (Swe/Ger/Eng) since we all know them to some degree
and gathered recipes and information this way. But fellow brewers should
be possible to read the recipes anyway.
Our #2 was an Irish Red
This was a big step up, following a proper recipe with four times as many
ingredients as our #1. We thought it would fit nicely as a Christmas beer, and
it sure did. Very malty, not much hops, almost sweet because of the liquid
yeast with lower attenuation.
The Brown Ale #3
came into being through me just taking some remaining ingredients from the previous two
batches. It turned out quite all right, more bitter and hoppy than #2, less malty.
Next we wanted to try a Lager, since our closet in wintertime holds a temperature of
10-12 C, perfect for bottom-fermentation. So #4 became a
that is a Munich-style light lager and it went really well. Clear, great color and
taste, better than the average commercial Helles I tried at the time in Munich.
Continuing in the same line, our #5 is a
Quite happy with that one as well, on the upper end of hop and bitterness for my liking,
but far from any of the trendy IPAs that go berserk on the hops. The dry yeast settled
better in the bottle than the one we had for #4, so it it easier to pour clear into the
For #6 we went for a Dark Ale
that has some torrefied maize among the ingredients. It makes for a fantastic foam, but
maybe we overdid the carbonation a little because it foams by itself when opening a
bottle, and the sediment gets torn up and mixed. Fortunately it settles quickly
in the glass after pouring. Another very pleasant malty ale!
#7 is Copper Cascade,
another Lager, reddish this time, probably the last for this winter. This batch is about to
be bottled, so no verdict on the outcome yet.
Overall the above means that I now have a little stash at home to enjoy whenever I feel
like it, which is very luxurious. We have some routine in brewing and bottling now, no
screw-ups yet, it
is still fun and considering Swedish prices on beer, our small investment in the beginning has
already more than paid for itself. We will therefore continue, maybe at a slightly slower
pace than recently. Next in line are a Bavarian wheat beer and an IPA. The malts and hops are
already on the way.
A few brew and result pictures
The kitchen with 30 litre pot, filtration bucket to the right.
Improvised but functional cooling
The very first result
Bottled Irish Red #2
Trying the Brown Ale #3
Transfer before bottling
Almost done, just cool-down, pitch yeast and cleaning.
Measuring the #4 Helles
Maize and roasted barley for the Dark Ale #6
Admiring the Dark Ale #6
Cool-down takes time
The Brown Ale #3 in glasses
The Pilsner #5 in glass
The box for +1 C lagering, with bottles and bucket
The Dark Ale #6 in glass