Ok, so I have spent some time now with this kit, and I feel a lot more comfortable with it.
Since I started out with this new little project, I have not had high hopes for the finished product. I have only heard bad things about the first batch of beer that you brew. So, because of that, I have dubbed this batch, “TW Wheat”. The “TW” stands for toilet water, haha.
I have come a long way, and have since met with a few brewmasters, read a ton online and I have really been drinking a lot of beer. Read on to find out some things I’ve learned in the process.
Since Part 1 of this review, I have finished the fermentation stage of the brewing process. I was very excited to bottle, but I want to make sure I do it right. I decided that I was going to add my brew to a second fermenter in order to clear it up a bit and allow the sediment to settle a little more.
After sterilizing everything, I hooked up the auto-siphon to my primary fermenter and began transferring the beautiful liquid into my glass carboy. I’m very glad I did this, as the slurry and sediment that collected on the bottom of the primary was pretty gnarly. Once in the carboy, I was finally able to see the awesome color that this wheat has become.
Once in the secondary fermenter, I let the brew sit for 3 days. I figured this was long enough because I saw a marked difference in the clarity of the beer.
From the carboy, it was time to transfer the beer once more to the priming bucket. I used the auto-siphon again and once again noticed a collection of sediment at the bottom of the carboy. I’m so glad I went with the secondary too, as all of that gunk would have ended up in my final beer.
Once in the priming container, I needed to get my bottle ready. I filled a clean sink with hot water and added my no-rinse sterilizer. I then methodically washed and dried my 36 22oz. bottles.
After the bottles were all dry, I added 7 priming sugar pellets to each bottle (5 for a high-head 12oz.). I then disconnected the auto-siphon from the tube and connected the bottle filler. From there I proceeded to fill each of the bottles. It was actually a very fun and fairly fast process. Once that was done (actually, after each bottle was filled), I capped each one with the provided caps and capper. That was surprisingly easy and enjoyable, it didn’t get boring.
Now all that’s left to do is sit and wait for the beer to carbonate, which I’m going to give 3 weeks. That should allow the flavors to really come out.
Now, to review the kit.
Contents, Price and Instructions
Note: Now, I have to of course preface this section with “I didn’t pay for the kit”. However, having been making and spending money for some time, I do have a decent understanding of the value of a dollar. Therefor, I feel I can comment on the kit’s value.
The amount of things this kit comes with is pretty awesome. If you were to go out and price everything on your own, you would come out right around the same price, and it might not be as high quality as this. The fact that it comes with the caps and the sterilizing solution and the hydrometer and all that is really, really convenient. Of course, it doesn’t come with the pot or the bottles, but that is kind of secondary. Well, maybe not. So, the contents I say would score a 8.5÷10, and price would be a 9/10.
The instructions were phenomenal. In fact, they are an entire book that actually sell for $7–10 on their own. I read the whole thing front to back and it was very very valuable information. I give these guys a 10/10.
Ease of Use
At first I was very nervous. I didn’t want to get into this thing and blow the whole batch. However, once I got into it, I felt much more comfortable. To be really honest, it is very nerve-racking for a newbie to jump right in. I think this kit is supposed to come with a DVD and that would really make your life way easier. As with my kit, however, it didn’t and I was forced to YouTube some videos to help me out. I got through it, but the jury is still out on my brew.
Overall, I really thought this was a very pleasant experience. Never once did I think, “man, this kit sure is making this harder on me”. The kit did exactly what it needed to do, without any extra knowledge on my part. I think, in addition to the awesome book, the kit should come with a simple “1, 2, 3″ step guide for new brewers. Like “wheat: boil, place in bucket 1, then move to bucket 2, then bottle”. That way, a new brewer can very easily find out the basic steps for his specific brew.
A neat thing to note, according to my hydrometer, this kit brewed the wheat ingredient kit at nearly the exact abv that it stated on the package. Just a cool thought.
My next step is to venture away from the pre-packaged kit and mix my own ingredients. I want to possibly make a blueberry wheat this time. Changes: I will be using a different brand of wheat malt extract, I will be using liquid yeast, and I will be steeping some dried blueberries for added fruitiness.
Stay tuned, I will be reviewing this ingredient kit as soon as I taste the finished product!