My Home Brewing Experiment: Prologue

A few years ago, if you asked me to describe someone who homebrewed I would tell you it was a person who wore tin hats and had conspiracy theories about Roswell and 9/11 being an inside job. You see, I was a dummy. I didn’t understand it so I just imagined insane scenarios. But ever since developing a passion for craft beer, I’ve slowly come around to the idea of homebrewing. My wife is an excellent baker and makes cakes and cupcakes better than you can find in a store, so perhaps I can make a beer that is at the very minimum drinkable, and maybe even….. awesome? And after seeing the Brooklyn Brew Shop beer making kits at flea markets around New York for the past year or so, my curiousity has continued to grow.

For Christmas, my wife bought me Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches. The thing I like about this book is that the recipes are for creating 1 gallon brews, something that is important to me since my apartment is not very big. My hope is to begin brewing in February.

I know there’s a lot of websites, podcasts, and resources on the web. If you have any favorite sites, feel free to share them, including any tips for a first time brewer. I’ll be posting my progress on the website along the way.

Robert Duffy

Robert Duffy is the co-founder of Empty Growler and lives in Brooklyn, NY

8 Responses

  1. Lee says:

    The best advice I can give to a new homebrewer is that it’s really hard to ruin a batch of beer. Keep your setup clean and sterilized and things will turn out just fine 99% of the time. Yes, weird things can happen along the way. Usually they’re wonderful little accidents. Rarely, they’re cringe-inducing catastrophes – but those make for fun stories, at least. is the mecca. There’s so much wonderful knowledge here, including the all-important “Don’t give up on your beer!” threads.

    Everyone has a favorite supply shop. I’m partial to Northern Brewer:

    Good luck! I’m looking forward to following your progress.

  2. Hark says:

    I assume you are Cincinnati local? If so, you’re in very much luck… there are at least 3 major homebrew supply shops. Listermann’s, Paradise and TableTop. Google them. There are also about 6 AHA (American Homebrew Association) recognized clubs in the Cincy area… the two biggest being Bloatarian Brewing League ( and Cincinnati Malt Infusers ( Joining a club is a *great* way to learn more about the hobby.

    I’m a Bloat and so I would encourage you to join us in Feb for our monthly meeting. Check out the details on the website. Also, any questions feel free to contact me!

    • robert duffy says:

      Hey Hark, thanks for writing.. I’m actually based in Brooklyn… Joe Long, the other site’s co-founder, is in Cincinnati.. But good advice either way!

      • Hark says:

        Doh! How did I miss that?!? Either way… Seek out a local club. Not only is it great for learning but the club events are always a good time! :)

  3. James Pilcher says:

    Hey Joe,

    Listermann’s is by far the best. They have hand-made kits that include fresh malt. And Lee is right, cleanliness is the key. I’ve had two batches go sour on me. But it works out great to cook with anyway. The guys at Listermann’s will help you with anything and are open on Saturday if you need to call in an emergency. There is also a store now on Ky 18 right next to Buffalo Wild Wings for equipment, but they only sell Brewer’s Best kits.

    I figure you get 2 cases of high-quality craft beer for anywhere between $30-40 – about the cost of Budweiser. I’ve got a great nutbrown that I just opened and I am brewing a batch of Belgian Ale that my wife adores this weekend. And you are welcome to come over to watch the process since we live pretty close to each other.

    Have a great weekend.

  4. James Pilcher says:

    Oops sorry Robert. Thought Joe wrote this. I’m sure NYC is FULL of brewing stores and equipment and kits. Have fun!

  5. Kenny Kellner says:

    This is a youtube series on homebrewing which I think is awesome! Very detailed and tells and shows you every step!

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