Then someone on the 'ish forum asked Gregorach, an expert on the subject, for a beginner's introduction to beer making. He said, "Buy a kit." I hadn't really thought about kits. They're not really any more self sufficient than buying beer ready made. On the other hand, they are a lot cheaper.
Having tracked down a shop in Aberystwyth that sells home-brew stuff (with health food - where else?) I chose the cheapest kit, thinking I'd try the branded ones (at twice the price) if the first lot went well, but the beer wasn't that great. I also bought a bucket...
Excuse me, I'd like to buy this beer kit and I'm not sure whether my bucket's big enough for it
Erm... how does she know how big my bucket it? (Not big enough - I bought a bigger one).
I added a kilo of sugar to the next shopping list, then in theory I was ready to go. The reason I didn't start straight away was washing up. The kit makes 40 pints of beer, which is great until you try and find enough bottles to put it in... and sterilise and clean them all. I gave up and left it all sitting on the kitchen side for ages.
Eventually I got fed up with the bottles getting in my way and decided I had to get on with it, so I sterilised and cleaned the bucket (again) and started the kit off, reasoning that I'd just have to do something about all those bottles when the beer got to the stage of needing them.
That was about three days ago. I now have a huge bucket of bubbling beer in the conservatory:
Apart from the scum around the top, it looks and smells a lot like beer already. So much so, that I dipped a jug in...
Considering it's only half made, it's really not bad. A bit sweet, of course, because the sugar hasn't all been turned to alcohol yet, but as someone who likes shandy, I don't mind that at all. It's possible I may never get round to cleaning all those bottles...