My Journey into homebrewing – a hobbyists tale

There comes a time in the life of every drinker that they think, usually after a few drinks, ‘I can have a go at that’ and with that in mind I headed up the homebrew centre in Morley. Twenty minutes later and £80 lighter I arrived back at Bf towers with all that was required to brew up 40 pints of what, I was assured, would a reasonable approximation of Fullers London Pride.

I was using a Milestone starter kit and so having spent a fair amount of time sterilising everything with reaching distance (I fear that I may never now have children) I set to work. Having the eyesight of a mole with cataracts and the logical mind of a distracted squirrel I did struggle a bit with what were probably straight forward instructions but eventually I got a barrel of fermenting wort (?) up in to attic and, after a few weeks of fermentation and regular temperature checking I decanted the resulting brew into my plastic barrel and left it bubble away. There was a slight glitch when the heating went off for a few days due to a new bathroom being fitted but the application of a fleece and woolly hat (for the barrel not me) seemed to do the trick and, with a little intrepidation and a steady pair of hands I carried the whole lot down to the kitchen for testing.


Admiral Bentine’s Potty Time ? -one for the oldies there.

I used a couple of the CO2 valves I got with my pack but to no avail, the ale was as flat as the proverbial witches breast but was not unpleasant to the taste. Fullers would no doubt be on the phone to their lawyers if I were to claim that it tasted anything like their London Pride. It tasted like, well, I suppose, homebrew is the best that can be said and not entirely unexpected.

I decanted quite a bit into bottles so as to avoid the sediment and got a nice clear autumnal shaded beer. A quick request via twitter for a name and soon we had a dozen wine bottles full of Misty Mountain Hops – as an old Led Zep fan this appealed to my love of awful puns (I was once of a mind to start a cleaning company just so I could call it ‘Dust Never Sleeps’). At this point I would like to thank Mrs Bf for her supply of empty wine bottles – a selfless task that she entered into with great gusto.

They say that no-one will ever tell you that you have an ugly baby and the same may well be true of your first batch of homebrew. Extensive testing with Scottie led us the conclusion that it was, despite my first concerns, quite alcoholic and to be honest I have developed quite a taste for it; just as well really as I have at least another 7 bottles to go. I find it tastes best if served chilled so the fridge is now the fullest that it has been for a long time.

I took a few bottles back home to Liverpool for my nephew’s 18th and asked for an opinion there; I can only assume that it doesn’t travel that well as the most favourable review I got was ‘it’s not horrible’ to ‘ that is f@ck!ng rank’.

So there we have it – first batch of Misty Mountain Hops in the bottles and ‘it’s not horrible’.

Just started on a batch of coffee porter so watch this space.

Apologies to any homebrew experts out there if I have used the wrong terms but hey I am on a newbie. 




About Mike Massen

Drinking quality beers on your behalf. My thoughts and no-one else's; to report without fear or compromise and never to do things by half - always a pint.
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