Following the success of my first ever attempt at brewing my own beer
, I brewed and bottled my second batch in November!
I had believed that I had purchased all the equipment that I needed for my home brewing but as with any hobby, you end up buying more gear, which has ultimately added to the end cost of the beer.
My kitchen is pretty cold (when there’s no cooking going on) – I think I just about got away with it with my first home brew batch as I was brewing at the tail end of summer but I knew that if I wanted to brew in the winter, I needed to either brew in a warmer room or buy equipment to ensure optimum temperature for the brew.
I opted for the latter and bought a brew belt for £24, which is just a plastic heating element that goes round the outside of the fermenting bucket that heats the brew and keeps it at a constant temperature for optimum fermentation. I found that it was very simple to use and worked well.
Which Beer Kit?
My first kit was a basic Coopers Aussie Lager kit. For my second attempt, I’ve gone for a premium kit, St Peter’s Golden Ale which cost £26. The main difference that I saw in the two kits (aside from the price) was that the premium kit contained two tins of malt extract (compared to one tin of extract and a bag of brewing sugar) and also a packet of hop extract. Everything else, including how the ingredients were mixed etc was exactly the same.
As before, I didn’t follow the very brief instructions that came with the kit but instead followed the notes that I’d made for my first batch, which I knew worked for me.
I was able to get 35 bottles from this brew (just over 17 litres/31 pints), which works out as £1.43 per bottle or £1.61 per pint.
A couple of my friends who sampled my first brew said they would pay for future bottles but well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, this is all just strictly fun (and good drinking I hope!).
Anyway, this beer took a while to be even drinkable, 2 months in fact:
This pint had a decent head but it’s hit and miss with this batch
Whilst this brew is slightly cloudier than my first one, it tastes a lot better, is quite strong (4.5% ABV) with lots of flavour, although I don’t think I primed the bottles with enough sugar as some of the bottles lack a full foamy ale head when the beer is poured out. Still, apparently it continues to mature so future bottles I open may get better. In any case, I will definitely buy this kit again to make.
I’m giving away around 10 bottles to friends so I’d best get my next batch on soon!