When I were but a nipper, my dad was a full-grain homebrewer, boiling the mash in a huge, copper jampot. The aromas of his small-scale efforts filled our street and mingled with those from Timothy Taylor 200 yards down the road. Along with golf, dad's primary hobby these days is researching the family tree, which has thrown up several ancestors running pubs and brewhouses in Leeds.
Now it's my turn. Our Lad got me this for Christmas. It's a Brubox, a sort of one-pot homebrew system. Very straightforward. Sterilise, boil up the 'teabag' of hops and grain, add the malt extract, fill with water and add yeast when the temperature gets down to 18 degrees. Actually, that was the hard bit. The temp went from 22 degrees and settled at 16, which was a bit cold for the yeast to get its mojo working. A bit of wandering around with a thermometer showed that the dining room was the best bet, so after bunging in the yeast that's where I left it, wrapped in old blankets. Stand back, light your pipe. And that's that. Came down this morning to find the airlock blooping away and a satisfyingly crusty 'krauesen' forming on the top. There's a lurid warning in the instructions about venting off gas if the fermentation gets carried away and causes the bag to burst.
So, in about a month I'll know if I've got 20 pints of 'London Bitter' or 20 pints of vinegar. Or a dining room freshly decorated with malt extract and a supremely angry Mrs TIW.