God is Great, Beer is Good, People are Crazy

God is Great, Beer is Good, People are CrazyCountry singer Billy Currington sings a song titled, “People are Crazy.”  The chorus of the song is the line, “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”  Currington declares three profound truths.  The first is that God is great.  That has to be set at the outset for as God is the creator of all that exists, He is over all.  Thus His greatness must be declared.  Lastly he states that people are crazy.  This has been the forgone conclusion since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. But the middle truth has been much debated ever since man first discovered that mashed grains combined with yeast will ferment into a potent liquid suitable for warming the body and soothing the spirit. The question of whether or not beer is good leads to the question is all beer good?  The search for good beer along with a well meaning Christmas gift eventually led me to begin brewing my own home craft beer. This site is dedicated to that search and to all who are not satisfied with the mass produced bland liquid sold in stores today as beer.

The Mr. Beer Brewing System

It was Christmas 2005 when a friend of mine, Pat O’Toole, presented me with a Mr. Beer kit.  I was quite surprised.  I had never thought about brewing my own beer.  I had for some time been searching for unique and different flavors in brewed malt beverage.  I’d explored the various mass produced beers; but these all seemed bland with the exception of Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Yuengling Lager.  These two beers are fine with pizza or a hamburger; but what I had been searching for was something crafted with unique flavor and aroma.  Now there are a number of local establishments where one may purchase fine crafted beer.  These are all quite good; but I never seemed satisfied. 

Seeing my search progress, Pat recognized the solution to my problem.  He realized what I was really looking for was more a journey than a finish.  How better to solve the problem than by providing me with the means to make the trip?  Pat discovered that with relative ease and little knowledge of the process, anyone can brew their own beer.  Thus he introduced me to Mr. Beer and my first kit, a Nut Brown Ale.

It’s true; anyone can make beer with a Mr. Beer kit.  The kit contained a two gallon plastic fermentation keg, a pre-hopped can of malt, a boosting agent (sugar), dry yeast, sanitizer, and a dozen bottle caps along with instructions.  The key to the process is cleanliness. Everything from the keg to the bottles, to the spoons used to stir and cups to measure must be absolutely sanitized.  If you miss that one small detail what you produce will not be called beer; but cider (more on that some other time).  It only took two hours to brew and a week to ferment.  Carbonating the beer is solved by adding a half teaspoon of sugar to each bottle of beer when it is bottled.  That’s all there is to making home brewed beer with Mr. Beer.

My first beer was ready to drink about two weeks after Christmas.  It was dark in color with a light malt flavor; but not much hop to it.  Regardless, I enjoyed drinking a beer I had made with my own hand.  I quickly went out and found a local hardware store that sold Mr. Beer supplies and purchased two more kits, an I.P.A. and a German lager.  After two months, along with three batches of beer, the challenge was gone.  Was this all there was to making home brew?  Not by a long shot.

Graduating to Bigger and Better Kits

Every Saturday morning I have breakfast with my twin brother, David.   Many years ago, David brewed beer in his basement.  He also made wine.  Over time he stopped making beer; but held on to all of his equipment.   Shortly after I received the Mr. Beer kit, I told David about my new hobby.   He indicated he no longer needed the beer making supplies and would show me where I could purchase more significant beer making ingredients than Mr. Beer offers.  With this new equipment, not only did I have the ability to make larger batches; but I also had the tools to determine the average alcoholic content of each batch.  All I needed were the ingredients and I would be brewing real home brew beer.

One Saturday morning, David suggested we take a road trip to a little store where he purchased his wine making supplies.  After a short drive down the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Bethlehem Pennsylvania, we were in a wine and beer making supply store.  There I purchased the ingredients to make my first five gallon batch of Irish Stout beer.  Over the next five months, I produced an American Pilsner, Scottish Ale, English I.P.A., and Steam Style Lager. 

Be the end of the summer, I had five cases of home crafted beer ready to share with my friends.  That was the beginning of a hobby that has produced many hours of enjoyment for me as I seek to produce new and different flavors in beer. 

Over the past five years I have used the same basic equipment to brew beer.  I have read numerous books on home brewing; but prefer to keep to the various home brew kits that are available at local home brewing stores.  Occasionally I will add an ingredient or modify a recipe to develop a different flavor.  Through this site, I hope to share with you my experience as a kit home brewer.  Please pour yourself a beer and join me as we explore what will come out of the Copper Brew Kettle.

Cheers.

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Comments

  • Beth  On January 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Nice! I love it!

  • Greg Poulos  On January 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Ahhh, there is NOTHING like a task well done!

    A fine brew, hand made, with love, is ALWAYS a treat.
    And it is true, it isn’t the end result, but the Journey itself, that makes the beer a treat!

  • Jerry Kreischer  On January 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I actually remember when Pat gave you that kit!!
    Commenting on the site – very well done…
    Cannot comment on the content – I’m not a beer drinker…
    😦

    Will definitely tell my drinking relatives & friends to check this out!!
    Keep up the good work!!

  • Linda  On January 24, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Really nice!

    • The Copper Brew Kettle  On January 24, 2011 at 3:58 am

      Thanks – More to come. I hope to do some beer reviews and maybe tie it in with some other brewing ventures.

  • Joe Arlotta  On January 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Dan:

    Wow, even though I am not interested in home brewing (I live in an area where they have stores which sell already bottled beer and other alcoholic refreshments) I was very impressed with your blog. First off, the writing is great. Very taunt and to the point. Tells an interesting story in a compelling and personal manner, and imparts facts which those of us who do live near stores that sell already bottled beer might not be aware of. This is a side of you of which I was unaware. Not just the home brewing part, but more so the writing. Congratulations! I think you have a winner on your hands. Keep up the good work.

    Joe

    • The Copper Brew Kettle  On January 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Many thanks Joe. When we worked together, I was not yet a home brewer; but it is certainly an enjoyable hobby. I’ve always been a writer or maybe more a reader with active typing fingers. There will be more to come. Again thank you for the fine words. Cheers!!

  • facebook  On February 17, 2011 at 7:11 am

    i love it

  • kimberly  On February 21, 2011 at 8:50 am

    as if!

  • Bob  On July 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Well lookee here! Blogger, Home Brewer, Writer, Kraft Management Guru, Grandfather…is there anything you can’t do, you multi-talented, multi-faceted darling you. And to think that I knew you when. Keep up the good work.

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