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Northern Brewer Cream Ale

February 7, 2010

I ordered my first two extract recipe kits from Northern Brewer last week and they arrived on my doorstep on Friday. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. I have been reading about brewing for so long, I really needed to get my first brew under my belt.

Of course, I had my box, so the first thing I had to do was open everything inside. I have to say, I was really impressed with the way Northern Brewer packages their kits, very well done. Looking at the box and ingredients was not enough, so I went ahead and smacked the nutrient package in my Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast. I knew I would want to brew Saturday, and it is good to do this ahead of brew day to ensure that the yeast is alive and healthy. My bag started swelling within a few minutes, so I knew mine were ready to work.

Saturday evening I finally had a chance to begin my first brew. The first thing I did was sanitize the bejezus out of everything that I would use to brew using Star San. Then I filled up my boil pot with water and added the grain-bag. This steeped for about 20 minutes. I was really surprised how good it smelled, I was not sure what to expect, but it was very pleasant. Once steeped, I discarded the bag and added my extract and began to boil. I started on my outside grill burner, but it didn’t put out enough heat, so into the kitchen. Finailly at a rolling boil, I added my hops after the hot break. I only had one boilover, due to my being on the phone with a local supplier, setting up a purchase for my sankey keg coupler (for use on my pony keg fermenter).

After the boil, I cooled my wort in an ice bath. Thinking I was smart, I added some cold filtered water, only to realize immediately afterwards that I had inadvertently been aerating. To hopefully reduce the chance of contamination, I went ahead and boiled the wort again (hopefully I didn’t oxidize it too much). After this, I returned the pot to the ice bath and had it cooled in about 25 minutes.

Now cooled, I transfered the wort to my fermenter. I used a sanitized kitchen strainer to filter out the hops and other sediments. It took a while, as the disintegrated pellet hops kept completely clogging the strainer. Once complete, I put the fermenter in my extra bathtub with a blowoff hose in a bucket of sanitizer.

There it still sits. I cannot wait to rack it to a corny keg for secondary fermentation. Once it has conditioned for another week or two, I am just going to hook the corny up and serve!

Throughout the process, I made a few rookie mistakes, so I really hope that it turns out well. It is my first attempt, so I will not be too upset if it doesn’t turn out fantastic.

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