I’ve had the itch to brew some beer since doing a batch of wine a few months ago. Hanging out with brewers I felt left out of the fun! Homebrewer/Neighbor/Friend Brad Daniels of Peace Brewing gave me the skinny on brewing in the OC. (Nice articles on his set up here and here.)
There are a couple options in OC for homebrew supply, and it basically works out like this: North OC hit Addisons Homebrew Provisions (AHP). South OC hit O’Sheas. I think Brewbakers in HB also sells kits. I’ve talked with a few brewers that shop at both AHP and O’Sheas and everyone has extremely positive reviews. Me, being from North OC chose Addisons. You can also purchase everything online, but I highly recommend supporting local business. The other bonus to shopping at a local shop is the ability to join their homebrew club, message boards, and even have people to call with dumb newbie questions.
I purchased the starter kit, a 7.5 Gallon Brew Kettle and a Wort chiller (optional). One morning I was eating some Cream of Wheat with real maple syrup for breakfast, and decided that was my inspiration for my first brew. A simple Maple Wheat beer! Eric at Addisons whipped up a quick recipe for the base Wheat beer and made a substitution for the Maple Syrup. All I had to buy was the Maple Syrup from Trader Joes.
I don’t have a super good burner so I opted for the one on my BBQ. I figured it scorches the crap out of beans in ten seconds it should do a fine job boiling six gallons of water. It did okay. Most of my brew time was waiting for boil to happen, which is not exciting. While at IKEA I bought a few items as well, a timer, measure, and a digital scale. I also bought a BUTRÄK.
All in all it went fairly smooth. My only issues were my own retardedness thinking the Arrowhead 2.5 Gallon jugs were 2 Gallons. I was about to add a third jug and the pot was full. Also, my wort chiller leaked into the wort. I had some good fermentation after five hours! The following morning it was bubbling away.
I’ll keep you posted when I bottle it, and drink it, and hopefully not die.