Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Homebrewing Begginings

So now that I've officially started my home brewing blog, I guess I should catch up on what is going on in my brewing world. 

I had been interested in brewing for quite some time but have never attempted it before.  I, as most people I assume, thought that the hobby would be terribly difficult and expensive to get into.  Neither of which could be further from the truth. 

A guy I know through about 4 degrees of separation decided that he was going to start brewing a while back.  I took a little interest, but never really questioned him on it or how difficult it was. I did taste some of his beers; they were a little hoppy for my taste, but not bad.  This renewed my spark of interest, thinking to myself, if this guy can do it, surely so can I. 

A month or so passed and I moved no closer toward my goal of creating the perfect ale.  That is until another of my close friends started talking to the aforementioned home brewer and had his interest sparked as well.  While chatting a couple of weeks later, my friend told me that he brewed up some beer the previous weekend and that it was remarkably easy and fun. 

My buddy said that he was planing on brewing again the upcoming weekend and suggested that I come over and brew up a batch of my own.  Then came the great internal debate of which kind of beer should I brew.  I knew lagers were out considering most of them require a cold fermentation and I, unfortunately, do not have a spare beer fridge. 

I wanted something with body and a full flavor.  Something people would hopefully remember if they drank it.  No IPAs, really, really not a fan.  I went for an American Amber Ale.  For about $40 I had what I needed, at least for the time being.  I had a fermentation bucket with an airlock and the recipe kit, which was an all extract kit, great for a novice brewer such as myself. 

So came the first brew day.  Easy enough, just follow the directions that came with the extract kit. I changed the proportion of hops that I added at the beginning of the boil versus the end. According to the directions this will lead to a less bitter, more fragrant beer.  My old friend turned brew buddy and I worked to chill off the wort and transfer it to my fermentation bucket.

I must say that there was actually some excitement that was derived from checking up on my concoction throughout the week, looking at the air lock, checking for bubbles and other signs the yeasties were working, turning the wort into beer. 

At the end of the week, I decided that it was time to bottle.  In hindsight, I probably should have let it sit for at least another week, but I am impatient and  wanted to move the process forward, but mostly because I was hooked and wanted to brew yet another batch and with only one fermentation bucket, I needed to push the process forward. 

Bottling was easy, taking the two of us only about 20 minutes to complete 2 cases worth of beer.  There was such a sense of accomplishment seeing the boxed up case of full beer bottles holding my own creation.  Now I knew I had to wait...I hate waiting. But in the name of good beer I did, and am still waiting for that matter.

For my second brew, I went wanted to create a clone of a local beer called Fireman's 4.  I can't honestly describe the flavor, but it is a good beer none the less.  I followed the brew plan as was laid out by the good folks at the brew supply company.  They had to modify a house recipe to give me the flavors I was looking for, so I trusted their opinion. 

This time I wanted to try going to the next step in creating a home brew.  I decided that I would use a double stage fermentation.  From what I've pulled together in all my research is that this helps to clarify the beer and eliminates yeasty flavors and removes proteins from suspension.  This is where the brew currently sits and has for 12 days and where it will remain for at least another 3. 

I promise, my following entries will not be this long, I just felt the need to catch you up to speed.  I will say that I will probably be brewing in the upcoming weekend. I am seriously throwing around the idea of a stout.  I had a St. Arnold's Stout the other day and it reminded me how much I actually like them.  Look for upcoming post about this brew. 

I will not only be using this blog to tell about my experiences, but also log my brewing from week to week.


1 comment:

  1. I think one beer should have Sherlock's photo on it and be named after him and one after Walker with a picture. But I love the "Two Dogs" theme.