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Steven Wright

Written by Steven Wright who lives and works in Sacramento building useful things.

My First Homebrew

Sat May 23 2020

I was given a home brew kit many years ago for a Christmas present, and made it the following year I believe. It was an American Ale, and made a gallon batch. I was really excited of this undertaking as I had always envied the homebrewers out there and the delicious beers they came up with.

Preparation was lengthy and was not understated by all of the literature with the homebrew kit. I had a packet on sanitizing powder that I used to soak all of the equipment in prior to usage.

homebrew 1 prep

I wasn’t sure if I was doing this right and probably sanitized too much since I was really just worried about dirtiness spoiling my beer. The process probably took me longer than necessary but I guess better safe than sorry. One thing I wasn’t really prepared for was having a deep enough container to soak everything in.

homebrew 1 prep 3

The whole process of mashing the grain, and then chilling it was alot of hurry up and wait, mixed with ample assurances of “am I doing this right?” and “yep, I’m sure it’s going to taste terrible now”.

homebrew 1 mashing

When it came time to chill the wort I had made, I was lucky enough to have a ton of ice in the freezer. I hadn’t planned for this step as well as I should and it totally could’ve gone bust. Luckily the sink was empty and the icemaker had done its job earlier that night.

homebrew 1 wort chill

At long last, the labors of brew day are complete and I am now ready to sit back and watch my beer ferment for 2 weeks.

homebrew 1 finished

After 2 weeks had gone by, it was time to bottle my beer. The kit I used came with a regular gravity siphon, which I had a heck of a time getting a consistent flow. There was also the problem of sucking in the fermented wort and having to spit out wasted beer along with it. Not pleasant.

homebrew 1 removing labels

The first thing I needed to do was go about collecting bottles. Being a fan of Pliny the Elder, I saved several bottles. I’m not sure if it was something specific to Pliny bottles, or if I was just taking the labels off the wrong way, but this process was super time intensive. I can see why people just buy bottles but that just seemed wasteful. I drink beer to make beer and vice-versa.

All in all, my first batch of beer was a rousing success. Now all it needs it a cliche name, and an obnoxious logo.

homebrew 1 capping

Building an Oak Chest With No Experience

Thu Mar 19 2020

All those hours of watching New Yankee Workshop and Youtube finally paid off. I had to improvise with some ghetto carpentry skills, but the end product came out not too bad. Also, this project really made me appreciate how much having an actual woodworking shop helps out. I did 50% of the work inside a house, with the other 50% being done outside on unlevel ground and hastily-thrown together carpentry equipment.

The idea started when my wife Kate wanted another chest that could double as a coffee table. She sketched out a design and make a rough newspaper floor template, and I went from there.

Working with ideas pieced together from websites, as well as some carpentry books I have been given, this is the final product.