Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Welcome to Shegogue Brew

Welcome all!  I have been meaning to setup a blog to record all things related to my hobby obsession of homebrewing, but just hadn't had the time until now. Here is a quick recap of how I got started, what I have accomplished so far.

Homebrew Beginnings: I first started homebrewing on my 23rd birthday.  I took some birthday $ and went with my sister on a snowy January day to the Flying Barrel in Frederick, MD, where I purchased a starter kit and and extract ingredients for an American Pale ale.  The next day, my actual birthday, I brewed up the batch with my friend Josh (also his birthday).  We made a lot of mistakes, as most first-time homebrewer's do and it is a day I will never forget.  The next day I was already eagerly googling for information on the possible mistakes I had made, as well as trying to learn more and decide on my next brew!  I am pretty sure I ended up buying ingredients for a 2nd batch before I had even tasted my 1st!

Where I am now:  I currently brew 5 gallon (have capacity to do 10) All Grain recipes using a 15 gallon pot, propane burner, 13 gallon mash tun, grain mill, wort chiller, and temperature controlled fermentation chamber.  I am inherently frugal and constantly attempt cost saving DIY when it comes to this hobby.  I love to research and absorb any and all information that will help me brew better.

I have learned a great deal through all the good people at HomeBrew Talk, which is a highly active internet forum and community.  You can reach me over there under the alias of "brettwasbtd."  I have also been educated through the hours upon hours of archived podcasts over at The Brewing Network.  I hope I can give back be the tiniest fraction of help and advice to the homebrewing community through my blog.


Homebrew Books

The internet and forums are an excellent resource, but I ride a commuter train to work everyday for close to an hour and a half, and I need some non-digital reading material.  I have acquired and read a lot of great homebrewing books over the past year and hope to share them more in depth in the future, but for now, here is my list of recommended reading

  • How to Brew by John Palmer:  This a great book for a beginning brewer.  Loads of helpful information, pictures, charts and recipes.  If it wasn't for this book, I might not have had the confidence to start brewing.  Make sure to get the updated 3rd edition so you don't get the outdated info that is on the free web version
  • Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer:  Once you learned How to Brew you can now get a head start by using some proven recipes.  Using the advice from this book as helped brew and Award winning beer myself!
  • Desiging Great Beers by Ray Daniels:  I am actually in the process of reading this, but know it is going to be an essantial tool in my efforts to craft my own recipes.
  • Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher:  I just finished reading this book, it is wonderful.  Randy provides more than enough brewing history and information to get your creative juices flowing.  If you can think of a beer recipe that he hasn't alluded to in this book, let me know!
  • Yeast by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff:  This Book is for the brewer looking to really understanding the workhorse of fermentation.  The info can be like a chemistry class at times, but it is thorougly explained so you can understand.
  • The Brewmaster's Table by G. Oliver: The Brewmaster's table provides a great style-by-style explanation of beer and what foods it will pair well with.  This book made me hungry every time I opened it!