Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Induction of Another Home Brewer

Austin, Texas, March, 2010

I am happy to say that the home brewing ranks have been augmented by the addition of another brave soul who is ready to taste the best beer the world has to offer, home brew. His name is Rob Malone and he has been a steadfast member of the brewing team since 2006 providing such paramount tasks as beer tasting, critiques, and moral support. Rob has officially stepped off the sidelines and created his very own first batch of beer. To get off on the right foot we choose a Dunkelweizen for its versatility and ability to come out tasting great even as one’s seminal brew. For all of you soon to be brewers out there, I suggest choosing a first batch from a style that can take a little abuse. This would lead me to suggest a mild or dark ale as they have a wide fermentation temperature range and their darker color can cover up a bit of off tastes or final color/clarity variations. For this reason we chose a Dunkelweizen.

Remember it is of critical importance to have beer while brewing, preferably one related to the beer you are brewing. To that end we sampled some authentic European dunkelweizen and weizen beers along with an American version, Allagash White. Hacker and Pschorr is an excellent beer. If you can find it at your local liquor store, I recommend trying some. In my opinion it is best served ‘mit hefe’, or with the yeast by rolling the bottle prior to pouring.

Most home brewers, Rob included, start their brewing journey with an extract kit as they require much less time than all grain brewing and tremendously less equipment. As you can see by the picture all we using to brew this batch is a simple pot purchased at Wal-Mart for less than $20. The beer ingredient kits come with one or two containers of liquid malt, hops, dry yeast, and in Rob’s case, a bag of brewer’s malts to steep in the boil kettle as it heats up. While pure extract kits are much easier and potentially quicker, the partial mash kits that come with grains add a considerable amount of flavor and color depth to the finished product. For an additional 20-40 minutes, I think they are well worth the effort. In fact with the advances in liquid malt extracts and a wider variety of dry yeasts, one can brew a batch of beer in a quarter the time as all grain brewing and end up with an excellent beer. There are a lot of people out there that look down on dry yeast but they are still a cost effective way of producing beer. To prepare the dry yeast we mixed it with some warm water at the beginning of the boil. That preparation combined with a well aerated wort lead to a raging fermentation the next day; so much so that the airlock had to be removed prior to blowing the lid off.

I highly recommend starting home brewing with extract or partial mash kits and dry yeast prior to going for the gusto of all grain brewing and liquid yeasts. With less than $100 in the game you can get an idea of whether brewing is for you or not. For additional information on the starter equipment prices to brew your first batch of beer see the links below to my favorite online home brew store Midwest Brewing Supplies.

Midwest Brewing Supplies Equipment Kits


  1. I was thinking of coming to Maifest, but I am not sure if I am ready for a "seminal" brew. Unless, of course, you mean the beer was so good it will change the face of beer as we know it.

  2. This "seminal" (1. Of, relating to, containing, or conveying semen or seed.) will not be featured at the brewfest... fortunately for everyone involved. Maybe Kyle should quit being such a sesquipedalianist!