As I mentioned in my previous post, I was contacted about reviewing a brew kit from Midwest Supplies and agreed (on the condition that I could make a minor tweak!). The brew kit came with instructions and all the ingredients I needed for a nut brown ale. The recipe said the brew would produce between 1.042 and 1.046 SG and 46.8 IBU.
At the bottom of the post, I have pictures in chronological order of how and what the steps are for brewing a kit brew. As you can see, its easy and just required a couple of hours to complete (unlike my 5-6hr all grain brewing sessions) and I am able to set up and brew right on my back deck.
With this brew kit, everything went off without a hitch. The extract our of the milk jug works a lot better than the cans (IMO) and I thought it worked well. One note that Midwest may or may not endorse is I immerse the jug partially in the water to help get some of the extract out. It’s pretty sticky and thick, swashing some of that 150f water in there helps knock it out.
The hops smelled great, as you can see, the recipe called for 1.5oz at 60 min (meaning that the hops will boil for 60 minutes) and .5 oz at flame out. I don’t get too crazy with this, I just eye the .5 oz. Look for the wort to create s think milky foam (picture below), that’s usually a sign there is a potential boil over coming. This is especially important to look for if your brewing in your kitchen as it’s a mess when there is a boil over. You can stir, but watch out because it comes on quick, I usually look to take it off the heat at the point where the boil over looks like its coming. After its off the heat, I let it settle down and then return it to the heat, after that there usually isn’t much threat of boil over.
Once you reach boil and add your hops, you’re on easy street. Just watch the pot and make sure nothing crazy happens. If you’re using an immersion chiller, put it in the pot at about 15 min and make sure the hoses don’t hit anything hot and melt. Once you’re done, just hook up the hoses and be cautious because the water exiting the chiller is REALLY hot (I know, it seems obvious, but I burned my hand pretty good when I forgot the basics of physics).
You want to chill to 70, but in my experience you’re usually good anywhere under 90f. In this brew, I wasn’t in a hurry and I let it get down to 70.
Sanitizing is another important part of brewing. One thing to think about is before and after the boil. The boiling itself is a cleansing agent, but once the wort is cooled, it’s important to ensure that everything the wort is exposed to is sanitized.
Once that’s done, add your yeast and wait for the fun to happen. I will follow up with more on this.
**Quick thought on the brew kit itself. This was a good product with good parts. You’ll note that there were a lot of styles to chose from. With that said, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend utilizing your local brew shop (assuming you have one and its hours fit your life). As a new brewer, visiting EJ Wren really helped my get the confidence I needed to move along in brewing. I can honestly say I am not sure I would have followed through with brewing if I hadn’t visited my local brew shop.
However, some folks may not have the convenience of a local brew shop or also might benefit from the increased selection online suppliers like Midwest have. I just hope you consider all the options for brew supplies as this is a wonderful hobby and having access to supplies is only made possible by us brewing and purchasing. There, I am off my soapbox.