With many thanks to all the people at my old Department, I have begun an epic journey this evening.
Well, okay, I've started brewing my first batch of beer. Beer kit provided by Festival Beer Brewing Company, it is the Golden Stag variety. I have disinfected the bin, lid, tubes and various items. Then you soften the malt (stop reading if you know the process), cut open the bags and put the malt in the bottom of the bin. I don't know what I expected malt to look like but the treacle-viscous substance that oozed from the plain green bags wasn't it. This formed a viscous treacle (no, really?) layer at the bottom of the bin that seemed to be solidifying and hardening as I watched. Add three litres of boiling water and it started to flow better, then, with my lovely lady assistant doing the stirring, I added a further twenty litres of cold water.
It frothed, looked like a bad batch of beer, and then did, uh, nothing. I sampled it as instructed for Specific Gravity and the reading said "40". I have recorded this, the SG meter tells me that this is "start brewing" SG, and then added the yeast with a gentle stir. I have put the lid on, stuck in the airlock (which promptly drained and had to be refilled with water when I moved the bin into the cupboard under the stairs) and stuck the bin in an area that is currently about 18 degrees Centigrade and is roughly consistent temperature.
At approximately six days, so next Friday evening, I shall add the hops. At some point this week I must also order either another bin or some barrels to decant the beer into. Given that the barrels last less time than bottles I suspect a second bin and some bottling kit may be in order. This... could get expensive.
Still, I am moderately excited and this, hopefully, sets a new routine that I can follow. Members of my old Department, expect bottled slightly shitty beer in the near future! I can't promise a label.