Archive for January, 2011

Brewing Beer…

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

For Christmas, my wife got me a beer-brewing starter kit.

Brewing my own beer has been on my bucket list for years, so kudos to Ruth for finally enabling it to happen. A few days later, I stopped by Austin Homebrew to pick up my recipe. Turns out the easiest beers to start with are lagers between 5-7% alcohol. I went with the Creamy Smoked Amber Ale because I love Cream Ales and the idea of a smoky aftertaste sounds kinda awesome. Here’s a running diary:

Step 1: Sanitize everything.

I’m not very good at this sort of thing. But I sanitized the pots, and thermometers, and buckets and shit. Done and done.

Step 2: Realize that the yeast needed to be out of the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, so go watch the Season 2 Finale of Dexter. Turns out he kills people…who knew?

Step 3: Bring 2 gallons of water to 155 degrees. This takes too long.

Step 4: Put a bunch of grains in a big-ass bag, and dunk it in the water for 25 minutes. The grains leave a dusty residue that covers everything, but they smell wonderful, even if they sort of also are making me sick. Drip out of the water and rinse out the bag (big pain in the ass).

Step 5: Add another gallon of water and return to heat until it boils. This takes for-fucking-ever (40 minutes?)

Step 6: Add a bunch of malt extract and something called malto dextrin (which supposedly adds body) to the beer tea. Try a spoonful of malt extract. Feel sick.

Step 7: Bring to a boil again.

Step 8: When it’s at a boil, you’re supposed to add the bitter hops. This part went fine, except that a bunch of it collected around the edge, so I took my big-ass spook and scraped it back into the mixture, and now the beer-tea looks like it has a bunch of sediment in it, which it probably does..but now I’m second-guessing myself. Anyway, I’m supposed to let this shit boil for 55 minutes, and then I’ll add aroma hops…so there’s that.

Step 9: After 55 minutes, put in the aroma hops. They gave me an ounce, but the recipe calls for a half oz…what to do…I put in 3/4 and hope for the best.

Step 10: Put the finished beer-tea (wort) into a tub of ice so as to cool it down to 80 degrees as quickly as possible. This mostly worked, and then I transferred it to the primary fermentation tub, which doubles as a plastic bucket. It was tough to figure out how much 5.25 gallons was, but whatever.

Step 11: Use a hydrometer to determine if it’s the right viscosity. Frankly, I didn’t have the right jar or turkey baster, so I half-assed this step. It’s not like if there’s anything wrong, I’ll be able to do anything about it, so fingers crossed…

Step 12: Pour some yeast in it, stir, and seal.

Step 13: Drag to my guest bathroom like it’s a dead body.

Voila! We’ll test in 24 hours or so and see where we’re at!