Making your own beer: Greatest. Hobby. Ever.

I recently got into home brewing and I absolutely love it. I thought I'd share my experience as a first-time brewer, because I still can't get over the idea that, even though I made a few blunders along the way, I made a beer that tastes way better than stuff I normally buy - and for just a fraction of the cost. 

Anyway, here are my beer notes:


Batch no. 1 - Pacific Pale Ale

Beer kit brand: Morgan’s

Brewing date: 21 May 2023

Bottling date: 30 May 2023

Tasting date: 25 June 2023


Batch size: 23 L

Sugars / malts: Aussie Brewmakers Beer Improver (1 kg)

Yeast: supplied with beer kit (1 sachet), and later SafAle S-04 (11.5 g sachet)

Pitching temperature: circa. 26 degrees Celsius

Fermentation temperature: 22.5 – 23.5 degrees Celsius with Kegland controller


21/5 Beer brewed.

Specifically, what I did was heat a 1.5 kg beer kit and add it to my fermenting vessel (FV) with the Beer Improver and 23 L of water. I pitched the sachet of yeast that came with the kit, filled my airlock with vodka, and set up a temperature controller to keep the wort at a steady temperature of about 23 degrees Celsius. The original specific gravity (OSG) was 1.034

22/5 Vigorous airlock activity noted circa. 16 hours after pitching

23/5 Airlock activity slowed on the second night/third day and then stopped. Thinking I had a stuck fermentation, I opened the FV to agitate the wort (it was very fizzy), and then set the temperature to cycle between 24 and 25 degrees Celsius. Little did I know that my airlock actually had a tiny hole in it, and I didn't have a stuck fermentation at all! I didn't discover this until a few weeks later while making my second batch of beer...

24/5 No airlock activity. It occurred to me that I might have an air leak, but I couldn't locate the source. I measured the specific gravity at 1.010 (i.e. 3.26% estimated ABV) but it should be lower than that since I was aiming for around 4.2% ABV. Thinking I had more fermenting to do but not knowing any better, I bought and pitched a sachet of 11.5 g of SafAle S-04. On sprinkling it in, the wort was immediately very fizzy, but only for a short time. I returned the wort to my original fermentation temperature of 22.5 – 23.5 degrees Celsius

25/5 No airlock activity. I agitated the wort again, noting that it was not fizzy at all

28/5 Still no airlock activity. I took a SG reading and noted that it remained at 1.010

30/5 With the SG remaining at 1.010, I bottled in 30 X 750 mL PET bottles with 2 carbonation drops in each. I avoided shaking the bottles so as not to oxidise the brew. Happily, I bottled the whole batch of beer in exactly 30 bottles with barely a drop to spare!


Original Specific Gravity (OSG): 1.034

Final Specific Gravity (FSG): 1.010

Estimated ABV calculated as follows:

OSG - FSG = XX,  /  7.36 = XX, + 0.5* = % estimated ABV

1034 - 1010  =  24 / 7.36  =  3.26  +  0.5  =  3.76 % estimated ABV

* 0.5 added because secondary fermentation was done in bottles


After a wait of about 3 weeks for secondary fermentation and bottle conditioning to complete, I finally sampled my first batch of beer. Here are my notes:

Appearance: pale yellow

Aroma: mild hops

Flavour: hoppy, fruity, slightly yeasty

Overall: light body, easy to drink


If I'd known about the hole in the airlock, I wouldn't have pitched the extra yeast, I wouldn't have opened the FV to agitate the wort, and I wouldn't have increased the temperature. Live and learn. Even so, the end result was beyond expectation!

The slightly yeasty tang that I noted during sampling was completely gone after 6 weeks. The flavour obviously improves with time

I do think that, since I didn't wait for my beer to go flat, my FSG measurement might have been off. I can't be sure, but I suspect that the estimated ABV is probably closer to my target of 4.2 %

I find it interesting that I might have completed my initial fermentation in only 3 days. If true, it suggests that SafAle S-04 is a real beast...

At the time of writing, I have a clear pale ale that tastes wonderful!

I hope these notes are helpful to anyone else brewing their first batch of beer.

A picture of a beer brewed by H.R. van Adel



Popular posts from this blog

Worst poem

Type 1 error

Worst party ever