Sometime in mid-October, on a whim, my girlfriend and I bought a Brooklyn Brew Shop home brewing kit from Whole Foods-Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC. After brewing and bottling our first beer, I’m kind of hooked. We are currently brewing an IPA (we bottle this Wednesday) and this past weekend, we cooked up a jalapeno saison. The first beer that we made, bottled and drank was the grapefruit-honey ale and it was pretty good. It had carbonation, alcohol and tasted better than I thought. The IPA brewing now, I think will be a disaster, but I can’t wait for the saison. I think we did everything correctly and I can’t wait to bottle in two weeks and drink in four.
The one-gallon kit comes with the grains, hops, yeast and other ingredients to make a one-gallon batch (enough for about 9-10 bottles). The kit also comes with sanitizer, tubing and the glass jar (carboy). What you’re going to need are two big pots that can hold at least 5 quarts of liquid a big strainer (the 8-inch was too small) a dark place to put the brewed beer and time (the whole process takes about 5 hours…but I think we can get it down to about 4).
We’ve since purchased a hydrometer (which we broke), the aforementioned 14-inch strainer, plastic bins, more no-rinse sanitizer and a mini-syphon. But all the home brewing stuff is pretty reasonably priced and hanging out at breweries or home brewing shops is sort of inspirational.
If you do it once, this kit isn’t worth it. Go buy yourself a great six-pack. But if you think you’d like to make some beer a few times, go for it. This is a great way to spend an afternoon.