Home Brew

My dad used to do a bit of home brewing. What that actually meant is that I did the brewing, and he drank it. Well, most of it…
So that was my introduction to the world of home brew, basically from kits to produce a passable imitation of a not very good pint.
Once I got to university in the beer desert that was Birmingham in the early 80s, with a few kindred souls we started the first Real Ale and Home Brew Society. We started by using Boots Premium kits, which included a liquid beer yeast and weren’t actually bad at all. We modified this, then started on our own malt extract brew, and finally obtained some yeast from a local brewer. With 6 of us living together, we produced on average 120 pints per week. I’ve never had so many friends; people came from all over to drink our beer, so 120 pints didn’t last that long. We had 2 5 gallon “barrels” for draught beer, the rest we bottled in 2l plastic bottles. Storage was interesting…
We also had a go at some specials, of which the best-loved was a beer with blackcurrent juice, which was quite drinkable and pre-dated our understanding of fruit beers. In fact when we held a beer festival with some decent commercial beers of the time, we smuggled some of this stuff in and it was the only one to sell out.
But since then… well, since then, I’ve only brewed very occasionally. The odd extreme-revivalist thing, such as attempting Saxon Honey Ale, Sack and the like. The odd attempt at something off the wall. Made more cider than beer, and quite nice it has been too, in a Normandy style.
But I’ve been thinking recently – why not have a go at something more cutting edge? I’m limited by equipment – no full mash, although I can add some grain. But I can have a reasonable bash at some ideas I’ve been having for some time – variations on Trippel, for example, with spices, orange peel, or medieval herbs.
Decided! Now just a matter of doing it…

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