Home Brew

Beer 2

Brewing my own beer is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I’ve always been really daunted by it. (I guess I’ve heard one too many stories about bottles exploding in the garage!) It wasn’t until a friend lent me his brewing kit a couple of weeks ago that I finally plucked up the courage to give it a go.

Beer Ingredients

Reuben Making Beer

I wanted to keep the process as simple as possible for my first attempt at home brew, so I used a can of malt extract (rather than whole grains) to make the base of the beer. After sterilising everything, I added the water and yeast to the extract and wrapped it all up in a towel to keep it warm. I was pretty lucky that the temperature was pretty ideal for brewing, but I borrowed a heat lamp from Katie’s mum just in case it got a bit chilly. Every afternoon when I got home from work I’d check on my beer and see the fermenter happily bubbling away. Then, after almost a week, it was time to bottle it up. I borrowed a bottle capper from a friend and filled all the bottles I had on hand, but I had made so much I ended up filling 12 mason jars as well. Then I just had to let the beer condition. I was so excited to try my brew, waiting for the beer to be ready was the longest 2 weeks of my life!

Beer 1

Reuben with Beer

Finally, on the weekend I was able to try the beer! I had one of my favourite store bought beers and then one of my own, and I actually preferred the home brew. So I’d call that a success! I was a little worried about how the beer in the mason jars would turn out but we cracked one open and it was great. Each one holds almost a litre so they’re a bit big to drink in one go, but they’ll be perfect for sharing.

I’ve loved learning how to brew beer. We’ve shared a lot of this batch with friends so I’m already planning my next brew and this time I plan to do the whole thing from scratch. For now though, I’m really enjoying being able to kick back with a beer I made with my own two hands!

Have any you ever attempted making beer? I’d love to hear some home brew stories.


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About Reuben

Reuben is a green thumb with a knitting machine for a brain. He likes dinosaurs, The Beatles and homebrew (among many other things).


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18 Responses to “Home Brew”

  1. Kathy March 31, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    I don’t drink beer but I can see why you would have been excited. A lot of these projects are scary at first (my first soap making and cheese making) but once you’ve tried it once it gives you the confidence to try it again and you know what to expect. Enjoy your beers, great job. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  2. Shelby April 1, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    If you decide to keep brewing, think about investing in an aquarium heater. Much easier than blankets and heat lamps and coddling! And it means you can brew in a shed or a cold room during winter without too much fussing. Just drill a hole in the lid of your fermenter for the cord of the heater, use a bit of silicone to seal around it, and away you go.

    • Reuben
      Reuben April 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

      That’s a great tip, thanks Shelby! 🙂

  3. Gem April 1, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    My first efforts in that area were when I was about nineteen and they did a WHOLE lot of exploding! I’m glad yours turned out better.

    Maybe when we get back to Oz, it’ll be time to try again….

    • Reuben
      Reuben April 2, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

      Thanks, I was pretty careful because I bottled them in glass. I mixed the sugar into the fermenter before bottling to distribute everything evenly. It worked out really well because my bottles and jars are all different sizes and I didn’t have to do lots of maths! You should definitely try it again.

      • Gem April 5, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

        Honestly, any strategy that doesn’t involve a lot of maths sounds like a winner to me.

  4. Brenda April 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Well done Reuben! That looks amazing and how fabulous that you prefer it to your commercial favourite! I see a Reuben Ale hitting the boutique beer market soon!

  5. Life With The Crew April 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    I’m impressed that your first batch turned out not only just drinkable, but actually enjoyable too! My husband bought 8 gallons of apple cider the week before our daughter was born. His intentions were to make hard cider. I told him not to do it, that it was really bad timing. So a year later, what was still sitting behind the woodstove? A carboy of apple something! Definitely not drinkable or enjoyable though.

    • Reuben
      Reuben April 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      Cider is on my (ever growing) to-do list too! 🙂

  6. Brooke April 1, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Wow what a cool process! A friend of ours makes wine but I’ve never seen beer made. That would definitely be something fun to try!

  7. Robbie April 3, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    I bought Pat a kit for Christmas, but we haven’t had a chance to make any yet! MAYBE YOU’LL INSPIRE HIM!

    • Reuben
      Reuben April 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

      Yeah! Do it!! 🙂

  8. Eva K April 4, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    So cool! There’s nothing better than enjoying something you made!

  9. Jade April 4, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Great job! Home brewing is a bit addictive – my husband can’t wait until we have our own home again so he can get his brewing kit out and get started. He makes amazing alcoholic ginger beer – it was one of my late Pa’s favourite drops…must admit to shedding a few sentimental tears whenever I open a bottle.

    • Reuben
      Reuben April 4, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

      We tried making ginger beer once but unfortunately it didn’t work. I think it was too cold. We’ll have to try again!

  10. Bill April 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    A very constructive activity Reub!I am sure TJ will enjoy the fruit of your labours next week.Make sure you keep up the good work for next time I am down there!

  11. Theresa W. April 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    My boyfriend and I brewed our own beer last year with a kit from BrewSmith — soooo much fun, and so much easier than I thought.

    Just last week I bought three more kits from my pals at BrewSmith so that we can give it another go — and try cider as well.

    Next up: mead!


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