I am a newly-minted homebrewer, starting in June 2012.   My college roommate has brewed for years and since I don’t get to sample his fine wares nearly often enough, I decided it was high time that I do it myself.   It goes along well with my culinary interests and my desire to have good brew sliding down my throat on a regular basis.

This is a list and brief notes of what I’ve so far accomplished in terms of batches of beer.

#1.  Light Aussie Ale (extract kit, pale ale, Midwest Brewing) —  My first beer and a great success it was, minus the carbonation issues.  Light, fruity, easily drinkable.   Everyone enjoyed this beer.   I need to make more, if nothing else, because it’s A) cheap and B) a crowd-pleaser.

#2.  T-Can and Bearcat’s Wheaton Beatdown (extract kit, wheat IPA-ish, Northern Brewer) — Not a favorite; the flavor was an somewhat uncommitted heavily-hopped wheat beer that didn’t quite seem to come into its own.   It never really settled out as a decent beer; it was certainly drinkable, but nothing you go home raving about.   A give-or-take brew and I’m not into doing those again.

#3.  Big Honkin’ Stout (extract kit, big stout, Northern Brewer) — Easily one of my favorite beers so far.  It was on this batch that I discovered that I’d been doing the carbonation all wrong and pouring in waaaaay too much corn sugar when bottling, so this is the first one that actually had very good carbonation, just right.   The beer is smooth, lovely dark, chocolate and roasted notes, and lots of booze for a good warming kick in the pants.   Will easily make again.   And again.

#4.  Surly Furious IPA clone (extract kit, IPA, Northern Brewer) — Jury’s out on this one; it changes every time I open another bottle.   Early bottles were perfectly carbonated and the notes were strongly floral and fruit; a couple more weeks and the carbonation (minus a random case here or there) has gone out of control and the sharp IPA flavor has strengthened considerably.   Which is fine flavor-wise, as this is an insanely-hopped IPA and that’s what I’m shooting for, but I’m still waiting for it to pin itself down.   Roll on kegging as far as the carbonation is concerned, because I used the right amount of sugar and I get a half-pint of head.   WTF?  I have no idea.    Minus that issue, the beer’s drinkable and pretty yummy and I’d love to try it again and see if I can get it sorted out.

#5. British Bitter (extract kit, British bitter, Northern Brewer) — This came out to be a very nice, drinkable beer, better at warmer temps than colder, and a nice middle-of-the-road in both hops and malt.  Everyone else thinks it’s too hoppy and I think it’s just right, so what does that say about me?

#6.  Oatmeal Stout (extract kit, oatmeal stout, Brewer’s Best) — My first kit from Brewer’s Best, picked up at Beer Crazy in Des Moines on a recent trip.    Brewed and put into primary, transferred to secondary where it sat for at least a month before I finally had time to bottle it.    First bottle opened a few days ago after a week and it had good carbonation (I finally used NB’s priming sugar calculator to gauge priming sugar this time around), but the flavor is still very “green”.   Looking forward to getting some age on it in the bottles before making a pronunciation.   Does not have the sort of strong, dark body yet that I expect from an Oatmeal and I really hope it develops a thicker mouthfeel, else I’ll be looking for another kit/recipe for my next go.

#7  & #8.   Repeats of Light Aussie Ale (extract kit, pale ale, Midwest Brewing) — Because I liked this one so much, and other people really liked it, too, I decided it would be one of my “summer beers” to have around for the warm months.   My aunt also is buying a case of bottles so I’m brewing up a double batch for this round.    UPDATE:  Brewed up 99 bottles of it, 60 of which were drank at my son’s 1st year birthday party, and the rest shortly thereafter.   Popular!

INTERMISSION — I’ve taken some time off because of getting busy, changing jobs, and because I’m working on building an all-grain system!   More soon!