I finally decided to start homebrewing a couple a months ago on a very small scale basis. I ordered a 1 gallon kit from Craft-a-brew and made my very first beer, a dry-hopped, bourbon oak aged IPA. It came out pretty nice, even if it still had some hops in the final product.
For my second effort, I did another IPA, but this time an all grain effort from Brooklyn Brew Shop. It was more effort, with the mash, and I kicked up the hops as well as the ABV with some additional corn syrup added to the boil. It ended up nice and hoppy, but the mouthfeel was thin without enough malt backbone. But this one was a much clearer beer since I racked it to a secondary fermenter and used an auto siphon with a filter, so I wouldn’t pull as much yeast or hops into the fermenter or the bottles.
My 3rd effort was an American wheat, again from Brooklyn Brew Shop. I knew I wanted to add something to it when I racked this one to secondary, but I was torn. I’ve had plenty of fruit wheat beers and I didn’t really want to go in that direction. Then it hit me. My wife has plenty of basil growing in our garden, so why not a basil wheat? I picked about 6 leaves, washed them well and tore them into small enough pieces to fit into the carboy. I racked it on top of the basil and allowed it to sit for another week before bottling.
After allowing it to carbonate for about 10 days, I finally got to taste it yesterday. Immediately, I got lots of basil on the nose. The first sip continued the basil-fest, and the finish was nice and crisp. This was by far the best of my 3 homebrews. The ultimate test was today, when my wife wanted to try it. Fortunately, it got 2 thumbs up from her. There’s only one problem: these 1 gallon batches don’t make enough beer.
I brewed a pumpkin ale yesterday, which is happily fermenting today. It should be ready for mid-October, and I’ve got a pumpkin wheat on deck to brew next week. After that, I think it’s time to upgrade to larger batches. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy what little I have left after sharing with some friends. Yep, homebrewing has proven to be addictive.