The first brew to go in was the tin that came with the kit, a basic Young's bitter. I picked up a packet of Geordie beer-kit enhancer (50% Dried Malt Extract/50% Dextrose) rather than use sugar.
1 x Young's Bitter Kit
1 x 1kg Geordie beer-kit enhancer
3.6L Boiling water
Cold water to 5g
Using sanitised equipment, loosen bitter kit by standing in a bowl of boiling water. Add to fermentation vessel, sprinkle on beer-kit enhancer add boiling water and mix well. Add cold water and allow to cool to between 18-23 degrees C (This was guesswork). Sprinkled on yeast packet and then gave it a good stir. Carried bucket upstairs and wondered why on earth I didn't do the kitchen stuff then add all the water upstairs.
2009-01-14: Gravity: 1043. Pitched on this date.
2009-01-17: Gravity: 102? Hard to read hydrometer because of foam on the surface.
2009-01-19: Gravity: 1012.
2009-01-20: Gravity: 1012. Initially I had thought the fermentation might go lower than that, but then I realised that the reason the beer-kit enhancer is supposed to enhance is that it contains non-fermentables which should give body to the beer. I decided that the brew was ready to bottle, and so cracked on with that. Estimate 4% a.b.v. (according to http://leebrewery.com/beermath.htm).
A couple of trips to Netto got me a mix of 2L and 1L PET bottles from lemonade and tonic water. Both were foul so the bulk of the contents ended up going down the sink. It's probably helping to clear the drains out as we speak. I sanitised the bottles (hopefully properly), using sodium metabisulphate as that is what came in the kit. I shall be purchasing some thin unscented bleach when I next go to the supermarket. This process was quite messy and I managed to get rather wet.
With the help of Gemma and a re-purposed washing up bowl we managed to get the stack of bottles filled without completely messing up the spare room. We simply used granulated sugar to prime and gave the bottles a squeeze before putting the lid on so the CO2 has a somewhere to go. The bottling experience did leave me slightly yearning for a keg though. That's on the future shopping list. A sneaky glass filled whilst bottling was tasted. Quite nice, no obviously awful tang to it, nice bitter after-taste. Should be good when it's had a chance to condition.