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My personal (but public) notes about my homebrewing, knitting and other random stuff

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Past Brews (part 2)

After much searching, I came across this website which seemed to offer a reasonable range of brewing supplies with as good a postage rate as I could find anywhere else:

EasyBrew Home Brewing & Wine Making Shop

In order to qualify for free postage, I had to get £50 worth of stuff so I bought 4 beer kits, 2 wine kits and some miscellaneous supplies. Delivery was very fast and the owner was very helpful regarding the handful of items which were not immediately in stock (even to the extent of supplying at no extra charge a more expensive alternative to the red wine kit I had ordered, which was unavailable). I've only used the place once so far, but I was impressed by the customer service and would be quite happy to recommend it.

By the time my supplies arrived in the post, I had just transferred my cider from the fermentation vat to the demijohns (I had a yield of almost 3 gallons, which used all 3 of my demijohns) so I was able to get cracking on the first beer kit (Young's Harvest Stout - a 30 pint kit), but had to wait a bit to begin the wine.

The beer brewed up quite nicely and I'm currently working my way towards the end of the barrel. It seemed to go flat very quickly and I had a few feed problems, which I thought might have been caused by a small hole in the outlet valve rubber allowing the gas to escape. However, I'm also suspicious of the beer floatation system I had installed into my barrel. It got to the stage where nothing was coming out so I had to open the barrel, and since I removed the internal hose it's been working much better (although it definitely is quite flat).

Once my cider was safely bottled, I started work on both wine kits. I had a red one (Cabernet Sauvignon - a Beaverdale kit) and a white one (Chardonnay - a Grand Maison kit, IIRC), both 1 gallon. Because my kitchen was a bit cooler than the recommended fermentation temperature (it was around 16°C - roughly the minimum before fermentation apparently ceases altogether) it took a bit longer than the recommended time before they were ready.....
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