A few years ago a friend of mine(not into craft beer) gifted me a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas. At the time I didn’t cook( I can burn water) so it just sat in a closet. When we moved to Austin, I decided to take the kit with us with the intention of attempting my first home brew.
Fast forward a few months when I decided it was time! OF course at this point the Mr Beer ingredients were long expired so I ordered a Witty Monk kit from Amazon. I read some of the homebrewing forums online and talked to some of our own CraftBeerATXer’s on advice. It was suggested that we add some honey to the batch to up the ABV a bit. Since I’m a fan of higher ABVs 😉 I thought this was great advice!
I read the instructions several times and had my partner in crime @IrinaATX read them a few times too. From reading the homebrew forums and talking to those who have been homebrewing it became apparent that proper sterilization of everything that will touch the beer is key to getting a good batch. We took extra time to make sure this was done.
We used the filtered tap water from our fridge since we were told by Jordan Weeks of South Austin Brewing that Austin water was similar to water in Belgium(as far as making beer goes).
Before adding the yeast into the football looking keg, we added a few globs of honey(Honey Brother Clover) that we liquified with some hot water.
After adding the yeast and mixing, I put the keg in a plastic garbage bag and into a dark seldom used closet it went. We strategically did this a few days before a long vacation(mainly because I’m impatient!) Mom was house sitting and we warned her of a possible yeast explosion in the closet before heading to the Austin Bergstrom airport.
We returned from vacation with the keg still intact (surprised). I made a few trips out to Austin HomeBrew Supply to ask more questions and check out some of the more “professional” 5 gallon kits. The staff there was very helpful to my newbie questions and i wound up purchasing 12 500ml Grohlsch top bottles, Star San bottle cleaner and a pack of conditioning tabs.
We decided to wait 4 weeks before bottling even though I was anxious to do it sooner. We mixed up a batch of StarSan to clean all the bottles and began bottling after they air dried upside down. We added 5 conditioning tabs for carbonation to each 500ml bottle. The final batch went into a 64 ounce 512 Brewing growler and that bottle got about 20 conditioning tabs. Everything went back into that dark closet…the real waiting begins!
After talking to @BeerSnob82 & @ZachCook1 over some beers at Whip In, we decided to try one bottle after about 14 days of conditioning. I put in the fridge to chill overnight(not sure if this really does anything or not).
The moment of truth! Our first tasting of our first homebrew…I popped the fliptop open. There was only a lil bit of pressure. Poured into our 9 ounce tasting glasses…IT LOOKS LIKE BEER!…WE HAZ CARBONATION!…Wow it even smells like good beer….but how does it taste???????
The real gratification came this past Sunday, when we had some friends over for a BBQ. Everyone(who liked beer) liked the Witty Monk & we went through the 64 ounce growler in a few hours.
I’ve ordered another Mr Beer kit before I move on to the 5 gallon kits. I’m brave now and planning to do a Belgian Dubbel with Gentleman Jack soaked oak chips!
If anyone wants to try the Witty Monk or do a homebrew bottle share let me know!