It’s almost brewing time, at last!

It has been a long wait and a time in which I have not posted. I have been working my wotsits off and am now in a position to do what I set out to do in September, start my fledgling nano-brewery. Any spare time I’ve had has been spent playing my fiddle which has come on a lot. However, my skills on it are not yet performance-worthy.

I went back to the UK in February to get my dog, who my very kind ex-neighbours had been looking after. At the same time, I got my shiny new brewing kit that I’d bought in August last year, but couldn’t bring with me due to weight and space restrictions.

I am very excited and feeling a little proud of myself for not getting side tracked and pretty much giving up on my idea. I am still a long way from where I want to be, but a significant step has been made, the move from drawing board to action. OK, I will still need my reserves of persistence (some might call it bloody minded-ness…) and patience to make further steps forward, but hey, I’m still on the path!

I have decided to start off with a SMASH Pale Ale. I’d never heard of it until the other day, but it fits my newbie needs very well. SMASH stands for Single Malt and Single Hop (clever eh!?!). Anyway, it looks pretty simple and that is important for my first few attempts. I think I might call it TPA.

With only the one type of Malt and Hop the flavour of these is supposed to shine through. I’ve gone for the legendary Cascade as my hop and the base Pale Ale Malt is my Malt. So, I’m picturing an American-esque citrusy Pale Ale. I like Malty ales, but I imagine this is going to be lighter and more refreshing, but who knows…

I’ve got three attempts worth of ingredients and supplies for this particular recipe (the original recipe stated Challenger Hops, but I couldn’t get any and think Cascade might be nicer anyway). If you’ve read my other blogs you’ll know that I’m only brewing 5 litre batches, which is tiny for a homebrewer. I’m hoping to get the method pretty much down by the third attempt and then move onto to more interesting recipes, but even then nothing too flashy just yet. I’ve got a good idea of the method from my reading and research. I’ll post that up as soon as I’ve put it down in writing. I’m really interested to see if there will be a difference in flavour as I become a more fluid brewer.

Another development is that I’ve got my eye on a hop plant supplier. They will soon sell Fuggles, Challenger and Golden Hops (very much like Saaz, apparently). Somebody else is also looking to give away Cascade and Centennial rhizomes so, I am hopeful of getting some of those too.

So it’s all coming together and the dream is still alive! Persistence and patience has paid off…well, I’ve a feeling I’m going to need more of those to get through my first nano-sized batches and attempts at growing hops in a climate zone that doesn’t suit them!

If anyone has any advice or warnings, please get in touch. For example, is my straight swap of Challenger for Cascade a good idea? Does it have any knock-on effects that I don’t know about?

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