While I typically brew one-gallon all grain recipes, I got this Bomber Barley Wine recipe kit from Northern Brewer using a gift card I got for Christmas. Compared to all grain, Northern Brewer’s recipe kits are simpler and faster. Instead of creating the mash with the grain, you pretty much go straight to the boil using either a powder, as did this, or liquid. This cuts down about an hour of brewing time. Though because I mostly do all grain, this feels a bit like cheating.I have brewed a few other of these kits and most include specialty grains, which you have to steep for 10 or so minutes before the boil, but this one did not. No grains also means no sparging, which also cuts down brew time.

There were a couple weird things that happened that I thought I’d share. When the water started to boil, I added the malt powder. This raised the liquid nearly to the top of my 8-quart pot. And the wort got really foamy. It’s hard to tell, but there was a good inch of foam and I had to make a hole to see the liquid below. This doesn’t happen when I do all grain.

foamy boil

I kept a close eye on it and lowered the heat to ensure it didn’t boil over. In five minutes are so, the foam subsided. Not sure why it did this, as I don’t recall this happening before with the other Northern Brewer kits. normal boil

Another oddity: I had a good amount of liquid at the end. This caused me to be a little ambitious and fill slightly above the one gallon lettering.


Which meant I had a bit of an overflow problem in the blow-off tube once the yeast got to work. Not a big deal, but also not ideal. And I should know better.