In 2012, I began homebrewing. Well, not exactly homebrewing, but brewing beer at home, using a kit, from Mr. Beer, which I bought on Woot for $24.99. For those that don’t know, Mr. Beer sells canned HMEs (Hopped Malt Extract), requiring the brewer to simply boil water and stir in the can, then add the mixture to a gallon of cold water in the Mr. Beer fermenter, and top off. 3 weeks later, bottle, wait for carbonation, and enjoy.
I was so nervous about brewing that I didn’t do my first batch until mid-summer, and fermented way too warm. The end product tasted awful. To learn how to brew better, I spent time reading on brewing forums and learning what I did wrong. Within a few batches, my results were much better.
Within about 6 months, I moved to Mr. Beer refills plus steeped grains and LME, then quickly into extract brewing. I did extract brewing for about 4 years, and kept reading about how to move on to whole grain brewing. I brewed and brewed, building an inventory at one point of 16 different beers, and over 20 cases.
In late 2016, I learned of a brewing program at a local college that included actually brewing in their brand new, state of the art, 7 barrel brewery. I didn’t think about it very long, enrolled and began an intensive 1 year program (7 classes) to earn a Certificate in Brewing and Distillation.
Since I was brewing 7 barrels at a time (220+ gallons), I didn’t brew at home. And, at the same time, our youngest began his life on his own, and we still had 20+ cases of beer to drink between my wife and I, so I didn’t start brewing all grain batches for myself until April of 2018, putting to great use the education I had received. Boy, did it taste better than extract brewing!
I’ve now been doing all grain batches via the BIAB (Brew-In-A-Bag) method for almost 3 years, and getting great results.