Yesterday marked the first time, in what hopefully turns into a weekly tradition, that the unofficial Heriot-Watt Brew Crew—about 6 people ranging from the US, Canada and eventually even a Kiwi—got together to make a ridiculously delicious homebrew….well, that’s the hope at least. My friend Campbell also showed me how to make amazing homemade pizza, but that’s a whole other story.
The morning started out quite promising. We secured all the necessary pieces of equipment by 9:30am, and by 10:30am Carey, Campbell and I were on the 45 bus heading into Edinburgh, excited to get started on the day. We popped into Alba Homebrew to grab the rest of our supplies thinking that we’d make a big, American style IPA, but from the limited selection of malt and hops, we revised our recipe to be closer to an English style IPA.
After pit stops at a coffee shop and the grocery store to pick up pizza supplies and beer—you really shouldn’t homebrew without cracking open at least one or two beers—we headed back to Campbell’s flat and got the brewing wheels in motion.
Things started out pretty smoothly, but we discovered fairly quickly that the donated equipment we were using wasn’t the best quality, especially when we tried to get our wort to reach boiling temps—which it never really did. Undeterred by a little set-back like liquid refusing to boil, we decided to make a hop concentrate in a small setup on the stove which we then poured back into the wort once we were able to extract all the essential hop goodness.
After eight hours and a whole heap of snafus later, we ended up chilling the wort using a bathtub set-up that would have made MacGyver proud. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of brew days any of us had seen, but in the end it all came together for what turned out to be a super fun day full of brewing, cooking and eating amazing food and hanging out with some great new friends from my program.