A good start with brewing will hopefully keep getting better

Apr 09

I figured I was about due for a homebrewing update.

At this moment, I don’t have anything fermenting. However, I have some things ready and am hoping to start one or two brews this week. I have the ingredients and such for a bunch. Some are easier than others and some are so I can take the next step in brewing.

That being said, I’m sticking with the one-gallon batches. Though it yields just 10 beers, I truly do like the smaller batches. It gives a bit , more freedom, I think, when doing the brews. And I’ve also found a semi-local (about 1:15 away) brew shop that will give me all the ingredients to the correct measurement and everything, so that’s nice. That way I don’t have to worry about screwing that up myself.

The Irish Red.

There is another, closer, place that has ingredients, too, in case I need something quicker.

For the record, I’ve finished four brews. I’m going to list them here with my quick thoughts. Several people have tried each and there’s been different reactions. I don’t think any of them have been bad, so I’m happy about that. They do seem to be getting slightly better as I go along though, which is good.

Please note the names below are what I give the beers. I think it’s fun to try and be clever with them. I also attempt to make labels for the bottles, though I’m probably going to stop that and just use small labels for the name as the bigger ones are a pain.

1. Pee Light (Mr. Beer kit, American Classic Light)

Not too bad, especially for my first one. I enjoyed it. I got pretty solid reviews from friends, but I think we all realized it was just the fact that it was homemade beer that really gave it a good taste!

2. Kiss Me Arse Irish Stout (Mr. Beer kit)

I really liked this one. I still have some left, so that’s nice. We found that drinking it while eating tootsie rolls worked wonders, too. It made it interesting, so say the least. Pretty good overall reviews. I’d make it again. I’d probably switch things up and add a chocolate malt, though.

3. Sláinte! (Northern Brewer Irish Red kit)

Not bad, but wasn’t my favorite. My brother loved it. Others enjoyed. It was my first one-gallon kit. I have two left and they are aging a bit and I hope to see if the taste changes a bit more to my liking. I think I had higher hopes for this one and they didn’t match my original hope.

4. TFTB – Thanks for the Beer (Mr. Beer kit – West Coast Pale Ale)

Named after my love of geocaching (TFTC!), this is a really solid beer. I tweaked the kit a bit and used some Amber malt with it. Has a bit of a fruity taste to it and it’s quite smooth. Probably a perfect summer beer, to be honest. It’s likely my favorite so far of the ones I’ve made.

Those are what I’ve done and I’ve liked the process so far.

The Irish Stout.

I always worry when I start a new hobby how far I’ll go with it. I’m really enjoying this so far and have liked the steady progress. I’m not sure, to be honest, if I’ll jump to the five-gallon kits because that’s a lot of beer. I kind of dig the smaller batches as if there’s a crap batch, there’s not as many to get rid of. Plus, having 50 or so bottles ready to go would be a pain!

Anyway, the future is looking good and I have a bunch in the pipeline.

These are probably in the order I will be making these brews. I have two one-gallon jugs now, so I can basically have two fermenting at a time. I like that because it’s pretty cool to see it all work. I also think I can use my Mr. Beer jugs for this, so I might be able to do more than two at a time if I am really up for it. But, for now, I think having two going at a time is enough!

1. White House Honey Porter (Northern Brewer kit)

The story goes that a few years ago, President Obama bought a homebrew kit for his chef. They came up with a few beers, including a Honey Ale and a Honey Porter. The honey is from bees Michelle Obama has on the premises, too. Anyway, some homebrewers filed a freedom of information act for the recipes, the White House listened, had some fun with it and released it. I’ve wanted to try it and Northern Brewer had one-gallon kits, so I got the porter to start.

2. Chocolate Maple Porter (Brooklyn Brew Shop kit)

I’m excited for this one. Not just for what it is, but because I’ll be using local maple syrup for the beer. One of my friends, Gid, makes maple syrup each year. He traded off a pint of his good stuff for some beer. Fair trade to me. Hopefully the beer lives up to how excellent his syrup is.

3. Peanut Butter Porter (BBS recipe, I got all the ingredients from brew shops)

Yeah, you read right. This has an ABV of like 7%, so I’m really looking forward to it. Plus, peanut butter? Um, yes please.

4. Caribou Slobber (Northern Brewer kit)

One of the originals I bought, too. So it’s time to give this one a go and see what it’s all about.

A future beer…

5. Black Dry Stout (BBS kit)

There’s never anything wrong with a good Irish stout! These were on sale for St. Patrick’s Day, so I purchased two of them. One I’ll brew as the recipe says. The second… I’ll have to see if I’m feeling crazy.

6. Smoked Cherry (BBS recipe, I got the ingredients from brew shops)

This one intrigues me. They say you should age it for six months. It might be tough, but I’m going to see what I can do. I might have to crack one or two along the way. For research purposes, of course. I’m debating getting a second set of ingredients and do two batches when I do this.

7. Blackberry Red Ale (BBS recipe, I got the ingredients from brew shops)

OK, first, this will be blueberry. I’m going to switch the fruit. But it sounds really food and I’m excited to give it a go.

Beyond this, I’m not sure. I’d like to mess around and come up with my own recipe. I don’t know what to do there, but I’m reading about it. So maybe something will come to me.

When I got the ingredients for one of the beers at a local place, I got some “replacement” items. In other words, ones that would work to fill in what they didn’t have. But I went to another place and they had what I needed, so now I have some “leftover.”

That includes:

  • A 1 oz. package of Nugget hops
  • A 1-pound bag of Munton’s Chocolate malt
  • A 1-pound bag of Weyerman Carabell malt

For those of you who brew, any ideas on what to do with these? Maybe the start of some wacky recipe? I’m doing 1-gallon brews, so keep that in mind if you have any ideas. I’d love to mess around and find something out there, so if you have ideas, please let me know! I want this to be my first recipe I’ve just concocted for no reason other than to try and see what I come with.

This has been a fun journey so far and I hope it continues.

I’ve also taken my beer to social media some. Check it out:

If you have Untappd (smartphone app — way cool if you are a beer person. I plan on reviewing it on this blog soon), I made a “brewery” on there where you can see all the beers and such. And for those of you who get to test the beer, I hope you’ll sign up and rate the beer!

I also made a page on Facebook, so feel free to like it. I update it with photos and updates and such.

Fundraiser: I am, again, trying to raise money for the Relay For Life. If you donate to me — a minimum of $5– you will be entered to win a super-sweet quilted lap quilt or pillow. Click here for all the information!

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!


  1. I mentioned before (in another random comment on one of your post) my husband has a kit and did this a few months ago, but I really had no idea the home kits had so many varieties you could make! I think his came with two! Do they sell these on amazon or something? That might be a good gift!
    Rachel recently posted..Comment Promise!My Profile

  2. PEANUT BUTTER porter?!! heck yes!
    Mary @ Travels with Mary recently posted..Groovy Baby Action Gear Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  3. MMMMMMM!!! I have friends who are really into brewing their own beer. So cool!

    Visiting from Comment Promise Hop from You Just Can’t Google Everything:)


  4. I love beer. My husband loves beer. I got him a kit a couple of years ago and he only has made one batch (which turned out great) although he talks about diving back in all the time. I will be sharing this post with him and hopefully it will light a fire under his arse to get brewing again…and love your beer names.
    Anne @ circursberry.wordpress.com
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