Beer: First Brew

He was a wise man who invented beer.

When H was in grad school working on her MBA, I picked up some part-time jobs and one was at a beer-focused restaurant and I learned a lot about beer styles and the brewing process, and I always thought it would be cool to brew my own. H and her sister got me a full brewing kit last Christmas and I never got around to brewing my first batch because 1. I didn’t want to screw it up and 2. it’s really tough to find the time! With 2 dogs, 1 toddler, and lots of stuff to do all the time, it’s tough to carve out an entire free day to brew up a batch. Fortunately, H’s sister and brother in law were in town a few weeks ago and since her BIL (I guess he’s my BIL, too, right?) has a lot of experience brewing beer, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get my first batch done! H and her sister played with S for the long afternoon while BIL and I drank and brewed beer.

I think this will be a good way to network and make friends abroad and if not, at least I get beer out of it. In our experience in less-developed countries, it’s tough to find decent beer. I’m hoping to brew a few batches so I’m pretty confident with it by the time we leave for our first post.

We brewed a porter extract-based recipe in the driveway and it took a few hours from start to finish. Pics are below to generally outline the process.

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The set up: Turkey fryer, thermometer, propane tank, lighter, water.
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Get the water to temperature and steep the “specialty grains”. In this case, since we are brewing a Porter, we are using a pale chocolate malt.
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After the grains steep for their specified amount of time (155F-175F for 15 minutes in this case), add the Malt Extract and to the boil.
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If you’re not watching it, the pot can boil over! Keep an eye on the temperature and stir as needed.
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Post-boil-over. I have this under control!
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After boiling the extract for 45 minutes, add Aroma Hops for the last 15 minutes (no Bittering Hops here for the Porter), then chill to temperature (around 75F), and pour the wort into the carboy. No need to oxygenate because pouring through the funnel essentially does that for us. Take your Original Gravity measurement, add yeast, and start fermenting!
It’s currently fermenting in the closet in our spare room.

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Update: I either waited too long to brew or the room was too cold, because the yeast must have died (or was already dead), and the beer didn’t ferment. H convinced me to bottle a quarter of my batch (10 bottles) which are now bottled and awaiting secondary fermentation. BUT…I got a lot of beer kits for early Christmas so I have plenty of beer to brew in the new year!

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