224/1809) Home: Everyday IPA brewed by me in Ontario: ***;
As you might imagine, this is a tough one for me to objectively rate.
This came about as a result of a confluence of things. I have long wanted to brew beer and the action of planting a hop vine in my backyard pretty much committed me to it. Brooklyn Brew Shop's kits come highly recommended for beginners and the fact that I was able to buy one from Chapters-Indigo with free shipping and five dollars off pushed me off the fence.
Back in the day, you needed to make an awful lot of beer at one time and my worry was if I made a bad batch it would be quite a drain-pour. The Everyday IPA kit was designed to make one gallon of beer and it came with almost everything I needed. I ended up buying a second stockpot (I am considering buying a third) and a funnel. I decided for next time out it would be helpful to have a strainer a size or two larger than the one I was using.
The customer support I received was only outstanding. My questions were answered very promptly. It is easy to see why the Brooklyn Brew Shop is so highly regarded.
The result is a bit of an up front cost of entry and I did calculate the price on a per glass basis and that is all I am going to say about it save for the fact that it will reduce with subsequent batches.
I have taken several brewery tours but now I can say I really know how to make beer. There is nothing like the experience when it comes to learning. I think from here on in I will try to use my own hops and limit myself to purchasing the barley, yeast and - very important - the sanitizer.
I was left with an awful lot of spent grain but, here again, the Brooklyn Brew Shop has a number of helpful recipes on their website. Spent grain adds a certain nutty flavour to baked goods and even if my family was tiring of my efforts I couldn't get enough of the cheddar scones, among other treats. It did leave me wondering how those people I met at Rainhard last month dealt with five times as much spent grain.
Storing up my own ice over the course of a week saved me the expense of buying a bag and I had accumulated enough swing-top bottles to suit my needs. I learned why this variety of bottle was recommended - my beer was certainly not lacking for carbonation. By the third bottle I had learned to plan ahead and visit the bottle every five minutes over the course of an hour (!) to spare by-standers.
About that beer, I could smell the honey I added prior to the aging process. There was a good grainy, malty backbone and a dry, bitter hop aftertaste.
The whole experience was great fun. I can't wait to do it again.