I started brewing when my boyfriend gave me a present of his brother's old home brewing gear. He got an ale kit from somewhere as well. We mixed up the kit as per the instructions but it didn't turn out very well. The beer smelled a bit suspicious and the foam on top didn't look so healthy. We got another kit which went well, unfortunately the barrel it was in leaked all over the place making the house smell of beer. So after those disasters I decided to give the brewing a rest for a while.

So over a summer I learned more about beer and bought Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher. This is a great book, it's a really entertaining history of brewing, explanation of beer styles and how to brew book. I had been reading How To Brew by John Palmer online and Mosher's book was very welcome light relief. Palmer's how to brew website is comprehensive and tells you everything you need to know but it's very serious and well at the end of it you will know more about the chemistry of brewing than many professional brewers. Brewing isn't that hard and I think Palmer's book can almost scare you off, you don't need to know what a maillard reaction is to brew great beer. Then I discovered Irish Craft Brewer while looking for homebrew information on This is a community of Irish home brewers who know everything from where to get homebrew kit to how to make a yeast starter. I joined called myself Bog Myrtle and used this recipe from the site to brew up a bitter.

It turned out really well and it was all gone all too quickly. Now the brewing bug had bitten and I had to do more. I really liked using malt extract and steeping grains, using real hops and doing a full boil. It felt like I had more control over what was happening and how the beer would turn out. The next step would be to use dried malt extract and try out some recipes from Radical Brewing.

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