Hi, all! Another post from my most fabulous husband, Dan. He brews insanely good beer (including a seasonal Pumpkin brew he did specially for our wedding guests as a part of our party favor).
Enjoy his post!
For as long as my wife has been writing a blog, I think this is the post that she’s been asking from me for the longest – and most of the time, I get so caught up in the process, that I forget. But finally, here it is, my beer brewing post!
With a massive rise in craft brewing and micro brew restaurants, I jumped on the train early and began brewing my own beer a few years ago – and yes it’s more than legal to brew alcoholic beverages in your apt. (while distilling liquor is still illegal, Johnny law can’t stop you from making beer or wine as long as you don’t sell it without a license or make more than 100 cases of beer in a given year). In fact, brewing your own beer is very easy and only takes about 8hrs of your time at various intervals over a 6week span. I could go on for a long time about why I got into it and the benefits of brewing your own beer, but I’ll stop myself here and get to the Point (www.pointbeer.com) already.
To brew beer, you’ll first need to invest in a few pieces of food grade containers and equipment. Luckily , many online stores sell starter kits that include everything you’ll need to make your fist batch for only about $100. I like to frequent Midwest Supplies (http://www.midwestsupplies.com/) for my equipment and beer recipe kits. In recent years their prices have gone up, but they have always provided great customer service and high quality ingredients, so it all works out in the end.
Your first starter kit will come with all the ingredients for a batch of beer, but for future batches, you can always go back to an online provider who will offer a very wide variety of beer recipe kits, complete with all the ingredients you’ll need to brew your next batch. I know, I know, it’s a blog post, not a novel. So with that, I’ll get on with my current batch….
Step 1: Celebrate by opening a craft beer! Yes making beer is a celebration and what better way to kick that off than by opening a uniquely brewed craft ale. Humans have been brewing beer for thousands of years and the batch you’re going to make is the culmination of everything from Medieval mead, through prohibition and the craft brew trend today, it’s a legendary accomplishment of human innovation and deserves to be celebrated. Cheers to you and your effort to be a part of human history!
Step 2: The wort (pronounced wert). The majority of the beer making process is comprised of two parts: boiling and waiting. To start the boiling process, I steeped the grains, in hot but not boiling water for about 30mins.
After The grains have been steeped toss them, crank up the heat and keep an eye on your thermometer as you pour in the liquid malt extract. You want to a watch carefully as the wort approached 210 degrees because that’s right were water starts to boil and with a pot full of beer, a boil over would be a huge mess. The laws of physics state that the faster you wish a particle to move, the more energy it takes to get there, increasing at an exponential rate. This simply means that it’s going to take longer for the wort to go from 205 to 210 degrees than from tap temperature to 205 degrees – so be very patient and be watchful of your pot.
Once you see the first few bubbles of the boil, drop in the necessary hops and keep an eye on it until you are sure it’s going to keep a steady boils without spilling over.
Once the wort has boiled for an hour or so, it’s time to cool it off. It’s crucial to bring the temperature of your wort down to under 80 degrees as fast as possible to reduce the risk of contamination from the open air. I use what’s called a “wort chiller” which allows me to pump cold water through a copper tube that I’ve set in the wort to cool it off faster.
After the wort is under 80 degrees – under 80 because you don’t want to kill the yeast you’ll be introducing in the next step – it gets poured into the fermenting bucket and topped off with cold tap water. At this point you want to pour in your yeast and mix the cool wort vigorously to oxygenate the beer. Then the lid goes on with an airlock and you’re all set.
Over the next two weeks, the yeast will convert the sugars to alcohol and release carbon dioxide into the air which comes out of the airlock but won’t allow outside air in. After two weeks, the beer gets transferred into a glass jug for yet another two weeks and after which, gets bottled (yeah, then sits for another two weeks before it can be consumed). Moving the beer from one container to another, then to a bottle allows the sediments, such as exhausted yeast, to fall to the bottom of the container and get filtered out, leaving your finished product a clear amber color.
Once the beer has been bottled for two weeks minimum, it’s ready to drink. So chill a glass, steadily pour in your creation and enjoy the hard work you just put into a contribution of human innovation. Drink to your accomplishment or maybe a better way of saying is: