It’s been ages since we brewed — March was, I think, the last time. We ordered a load of shiny new equipment and then it sat around getting dusty as we spent our weekends doing up the house instead. Then it was summer, and past experience tells us that summer is not a good time to brew.
Anyway, now our garage is nice and chilly again, we decided to test the new eqiupment (a proper boiler, mash tun and spinning sparging arm).
The one piece of advice I’d give to a new brewer is to invest time in working in a dry run. How are you going to transfer hot liquid from one vessel to another? Do you have the right pipes / taps? How are you going to keep everything sterile after the boil? Can you take a hydrometer reading when you need to with the fermenting bucket you have?
We learnt this the hard way when we did our first all-grain mash. The experience involved lots of hosepipe connectors, spilled wort and frantic improvisation. It was so traumatic and messy that we didn’t do it again for a year. This time we spent a good couple of hours going through the process with large quantities of water to make sure we’d worked it all out, and it was definitely time well spent.
As for the beer itself, it’s been made with store cupboard leftovers, so it probably won’t be great, but it’s definitely got us back in the mood to brew.
We bought our new kit, which worked like a dream, from the brilliant Hop and Grape in Darlington.