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A novice's guide to producing his own food


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Here’s to new venture

39 bottles from a kit that was supposed to only make 36. Oh, well

39 bottles from a kit that was supposed to only make 36. Oh, well

Here at vegging.co.uk we like to start a new venture each year. We’ll keep adding stuff until we burst (which is soon). So what’s it to be in 2015? Buying a boat and catching our own fish? Growing a field of wheat? Although both (and, in particular, the first option) are things I want to do eventually, I’d thought I’d stick to something simpler and cheaper — home brewing.

I must admit, it has fascinated me for a while. I do like something that’s quite esoteric and takes knowledge beyond the ken of “normal” people (Call me a snob, if you like, but I prefer the term “elitist”).

The reason I’ve put it off for a while is two-fold: 1. the cost of equipment seems ridiculous (£60 for a bucket and a few bits) 2. Sue said the process would smell. Well, she’s no longer living in this house, so what does that matter?

The cost factor was overcome when I visited my local Original Factory Shop (also, a great place for wild bird seed). They had Kilner home-brew starting kits at £20, reduced from £60. At that time  I was counting pennies, but I realised I wouldn’t get a better offer than that. I needed to get bottles as well. However, I was delighted to see that Tesco had 25% off all their homebbrew equipment. So I got 96 plastic PET bottles for under £25. A bargain. Total outlay: £45.

The reason for so many bottles is that can have half fermenting away, while the other half is ready to drink. A constant supply of cheap beer!

I decided that before I go down the route of growing my own hops etc, I thought I’d better start simple — with a kit. One that caught my eye was St Peter’s Golden Ale. Unlike a lot of kits, you can actually buy the real deal, all bottled and ready to drink, from your supermarket. And it’s pretty good. At £23 for 36 pints (Lakeland), it wasn’t the cheapest or the strongest, but it had the potential to be tasty, which, when all is said and done, is more important than strength.

Following the instructions was easy-peasy, and within  a few days I had 39 half-litre bottles. The kit said it would make 36 PINTS. A pint is just over a half-litre, so that explains the discrepancy. Besides, I didn’t fully fill each bottle due to a fear of explosions.

Now all I need to do is wait. The instructions on the box says two weeks, but some folk on the home brew forums (whom I feel I should make my buddies) say give it six weeks.

I’ll let you know.