A successful “Teach A Friend to Homebrew Day” had by all.

After shaking out the cobwebs from a long Friday night at a Halloween party (reviews to come from that), my brother-in-law and I hit the homebrew supply store to get our grains and hops for the Summit Winter clone. Here’s what we used:

10 lbs. 2-row
1.25 lbs. crystal 60
.5 lb black patent
1 oz. Willamette (in boil at 60)
0.5 oz UK Fuggles (in boil at 15)
0.5 oz Tettnanger (in boil at 15)
Wyeast 1099

Summit Winter is a very sweet, caramely winter ale with just a hint of English hops. A “winter warmer” as its categorized by Beer Advocate. I got most of the recipe from a homebrew magazine, and augmented it with some of my own research, so I’m hopeful it will be pretty close to the real deal. 

As far as homebrewing out in the garage in early November goes, it was an absolutely perfect Fall day. Sun was shining, temps in the high 50’s, and little to no wind to mess with the propane burner. As we started in with the mash, some other friends of mine showed up, including my brother, so we quickly had a small war party of fellow beer lovers to keep sated. Thankfully, I was not in short supply of homebrew, with half a case of my Oatmeal Coffee Stout in bottles, and several gallons of Spider IPA left in the keg. And the beer was definitely flowing between the six of us.

A couple hours later as we mashed out and got our boil going, my buddy DR came out of the house with the terrible news that we’d killed the keg. I was astonished, as I’d only had a handful of glasses of the Spider IPA in the past few weeks. How could this be? Someone had obviously been weezin’ the juice. At least that was DR’s answer. For a moment, I contemplated cracking into my stash of Surly Darkness, but thought it best to offer up some Budweiser American Ale instead. I think it was a good call. Thankfully, I still have a few bottles of the oatmeal coffee stout left, so I need to get a review up soon before it’s all gone. 

Each step of the way, I explained the brewing process to my circle of homebrew newbies (minus DR, who is a very accomplished homebrewer himself). The whole thing went pretty smoothly (no stuck sparges, no boil-overs, etc.) so late afternoon I was happy to rack the wort into the primary and get it fermenting. And ferment it did. This morning when I woke up, the pressure of the CO2 had blown the top off the air lock at some point in the middle of the night. No messy krausen explosions though.

At the end of it all, I think everyone thought it was a pretty cool experience, and maybe a hobby they would pick up themselves. At the very least, it was a fun way to spend an afternoon hanging out with friends and enjoying quality homebrew.