Home Brew Beer #3, a new Challenge and Bonus update

Six months ago, I started brewing my own beer.

Anyway, in January, I brewed and bottled my third batch!
Carbonation hasn’t quite completed in all the bottles, but some of them are ready so I cracked a few open last weekend.

I brewed a bitter, namely Woodforde’s Wherry, which is a premium kit (two can) and cost £19.

As I didn’t need to buy anything else this time round, this was a particularly cheap batch (just over 21 litres/37 pints brewed), which worked out as £0.43 per bottle or £0.51 per pint! Even students can’t get beer this cheap at the NUS bar!
Strength of the beer is only about 4.0% ABV, clarity is so-so, still a little bit cloudy and with some bottles, you have to let the yeast settle at the bottom of the glass. But taste-wise, it’s a pretty good bitter and maintains a surprisingly good head too! In time, the cloudiness will hopefully clear up.
Am pleased with this one, even though I’ve sampled it early, only a month after it’s been bottled. Don’t think it’s quite as good in flavour as the St Peter’s Golden Ale I did but will do this kit again, especially as it’s great value for money and the kits are often on sale.

New Challenge
So I achieved one of my 2015 goals early in Feb, that of completing the Rubik’s Cube. It was a tough challenge and gave my brain a good work out but I wasn’t expecting to complete a goal so quickly.
I realised that I couldn’t not set myself another challenge so had a think of something else that I could learn, which would make me think and work my brain.
Well, Graham from MoneyStepper gave me the idea, as did Huw of FFB40 and my friends mentioned it too recently.
What’s my new challenge/goal?

To learn how to play poker.

I know plenty of card games but this one seems to have eluded me so far.

No, I’m not aiming to be some card shark or aim to earn a living from playing the game.
I just want to learn what the game is all about and how to play it.
Unlike some other forms of gambling, there’s some skill involved and well, I’d like to learn some of that if that’s possible.
It could be that I could turn out to be a dreadful poker player – Can I maintain a poker face? What’s my ‘tell’? Anyway, I won’t know until I try, will I?
I don’t think that completing this goal will be as straight-forward as the Rubik’s Cube but let’s say that if I can be a somewhat competent player by the end of the year, that will be a raging success, though I’m not sure how I can measure such success. I must have a word with those friends who were talking about poker nights at some point…
But first, I need to learn the basics!

Bonus Update

So I found out that I was getting a work bonus in March. This has now hit my bank account.

I’m actually quite tempted to go on a shopping splurge but no, I must not. I will however be treating myself to something.

I’m not sure exactly how much but at the moment, I reckon I will save at least 80% of my bonus, which will bump up my savings rate dramatically this month.

Full update at the end of the month/beginning of April!

Have a great weekend all!

15 thoughts on “Home Brew Beer #3, a new Challenge and Bonus update

  1. Wow, you're flying ahead with the homebrew! Personally think I'm going to stick with just using a pressure barrel and doing 1 batch at a time. Cant be bothered with all that bottling!

  2. Hi Guy, yeah, I'm trying to brew so that I don't run out at any one time. Hopefully will put on my next one in a couple of weeks' time.

    I considered getting a pressure barrel but realised that it was easier for me to store bottles. The first time I did the bottling, it took ages but it's not too bad now. Cleaning and sterilising all the bottles is a chore too but has become part of the whole home brewing routine. Plus with bottles, I can stick on my own beer labels!

  3. I'm a fan of Wherry – Mrs Ermine does this, also in bottles. Unfortunately when I invited a pal round to take some of this on we stirred up all the crap in the bottom of the bottles trying to get it out, so I achieved an epic fail, and we had to decamp to the Fat Cat pub where they serve it gravity fed 😉

    Mrs Ermine has the knack of getting it out clear, which involves racking it out of the bottle into a jug, and leaving the last quarter in the bottle. I was hamfisted with that. The plan for the next lot is to make in those 2l plastic water bottles, so the amount lost is much less.

    ERG must have a a lot of buddies or a strong liver 😉 We use pressure barrels for this with our farm parties but we don't have the sort of regular assistance that could take down a pressure barrel's worth in a week!

    When Mrs Ermine decants it the result is clear and very close to the real thing IMO. I personally would rate it over St Peter's when it goes right. Wilkinson's seems to offer the kits occasionally at ~£16-ish

  4. Weenie,

    Glad to see you continue to enjoy brewing your own beer! When can we finally buy a bunch of crates of Weenie's finest? 😉

    I really must say I love your challenges. Never ever would I have come up with the idea to learn to play poker.

    Best of luck, I'm sure you'll do great!

  5. Hi NMW, I'm strictly an amateur in home brewing, although when I reach FI, it could be something I would like to do more of!

    My challenge is just to do and learn something different – just like you taking up dancing!

    Thanks and I hope I can become a decent player!

  6. Hi Ermine, the few bottles I've sampled so far have been good but as you've mentioned, this particular brew does have a lot of yeast at the bottom of the bottles, so you have to try to pour carefully. I'll be definitely doing this kit again and yes, I've seen it on offer at around £16 both at Wilkinson's and online at Tesco and shall be picking up another kit (or two!).

  7. I can only say "I wish I enjoyed beer". Especially since the rest of my family are proper Camra people and we spend a lot of time in pubs like another "Fat Cat", in Kelham Island Sheffield whilst visiting my son who's at Uni there.

    I used to be a mild drinker when a student but have somehow lost the taste. Perhaps I should make a real effort to get it back and then I can join in this home brewing lark.

  8. just imagine trying to do a rubik's cube or play poker after a few wherries…. you'd definitely fail at the challenges then!

    p.s. please can you let me know if you ever see a hefeweizen kit (wheat beer) as I've tried to get hold of them and they're ALWAYS out of stock

  9. Hi Cerridwen, if you like your wine, then there are plenty of home brew wine kits out there so you can join in this home brewing lark! At some point, I may have a go at those, to appease my friends who don't drink beer.

    Funny, I acquired a taste for mild while I was a student and from there, moved onto stout or rather Guinness, though I don't drink that very often.

    Although I may try to brew a stout at some point!

  10. Haha! Well, I know that I can't multi-task when doing the Rubik's Cube as I end up messing things up and having to start all over! Drinking and playing poker – a dangerous combo and that's after I've learnt how to play properly!

    I've seen various 'wheat beer' kits online (Brewferm Tarwebier might be one – http://www.home-brew-online.com/beer-kits-c1/tarwebier-wheat-beer-kit-p172) but I don't know much about them sorry, except that it's a Belgian company.

  11. Loving reading about the home brewing exploits!

    Nice one on the bonus, and good to hear you are keeping the lions share of it. Hopefully I'll be doing the same come July!

    Poker is an awesome game, you'll love it. Easy to pick up but definitely tough to master. It will be hard to gauge how good you've become because unless you play many hands and games then a lot of it is down to luck.

    Maybe you should pride yourself on the pot odds at any given time or something like that? (That would already make you a better player than 90% of people who play, including me that's for sure)

    Also I would strongly discourage getting into online poker unless it is initially just to learn the rules on a free to play site. Not that I think you would be dumb enough to lose any money on it but more than anything it can be just a massive waste of time,.. Playing with real people and shooting the breeze with your mates is what it's all about!

  12. Thanks TFS. I think I know the basic rules now (of Texas Hold Em). It was hearing about pot odds that drew me to wanting to learn about poker – I'd say I'm not bad at maths but there's always room for improvement so yes, it's something that I want to learn and at first glance, I can see it's going to be a challenge! Gimme the Rubik's Cube any day lol!

    As for playing online, having cut down on my gambling this past year, I'm not looking to start gambling on something else! Playing for free online at some point to get the feel for games perhaps but ultimately, I want to organise some games with my mates. The home brew might make an appearance too during these sessions….dangerous haha!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Hey Weenie,

    I'm really impressed with your current costings on the beer. 50p a pint is impressive by anyone's standards! Like TFS, I like you're brewing updates, please keep them coming.

    Loving the poker challenge! I agree with TFS once again. It's such an easy game to understand to play, and it sounds like you'e experienced all of that, but it's so tough to master. You can learn pot odds, %'s, when's it sensible to check, raise or fold (the mathematical part of the game) but the psychology behind bluffing and reading players counteracts the statistical part of the game. It's bloody brilliant! I hope you continue to enjoy it as you learn more.

    Congratulations once more on the Bonus. Great news and well deserved by the sounds of it. 80% is very substantial chunk of the bonus, and I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with the remaining 20% too. I look forward to seeing what you end up doing with both.

    All the best!

  14. Hi Huw, thanks – I hope to continue my home brewing for a good while!

    I think the basics of poker are quite easy but there's so much more to learn – started reading on pot odds and already I can see it's going to take me a while to absorb it all. I shall let you know how I get on!

    The bonus has been great for me (in an investing sort of way) – am looking forward to updating my month end numbers!

    Thanks for the kind words of support as ever and it was great meeting you in the flesh at last! 🙂

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