It’s all in the wort

I think I may take up beermaking again.

It’s been a while since the folks over at Comrades Brewing showed me how to make beer.

I’ve done the steeped grains and the whole grains methods.

Personally, I like steeped grains the best.

Far less calculations involved in steeped grains but adding maltose to the mix does feel like cheating (a bit).

In any case, I have plenty of time on my hands to start making beer.

And according to Tejas, who is an authority on this matter, I can make up to 200 gallons of home brew per year.

Nice!

I sure wouldn’t mind making another batch of the first beer I ever made – a Baltic Porter with a whopping 9.5% ABV.

Mind you, it’s been SIX years since I made it in September of 2014.

Somehow I managed to retain the recipe

This beer turned out so good that my mechanic took bottles of beer in lieu of payment for services rendered to my truck.

I can only hope to get so lucky again.

Micro brew

Whenever I think of beer, I think of Benjamin’s Franklin’s oft quoted statement about beer:

I have a special affinity for beer since I’ve taken classes to learn how to make it.

Beermaking 101 and 102 – using the Steeped Grain and Whole Grain methods to beer making.

I took these classes close to 2 years ago but I have yet to attempt beer making myself.

Why, you ask?

Because I don’t know how to scale down a recipe to a manageable stovetop size.

In my class we brewed close to 30 gallons of beer at a time, an amount which would require me to buy a TON of EXPENSIVE gear.

I simply can’t afford to invest that much money in a hobby which encourages me to drink liquid bread.

I’d rather just go out to Bierhaus or The Halford and DRINK THEIR BEER.

So I have recently joined a MeetUp group dedicated to beer lovers.

Instead of MAKING beer, we just go to pubs and drink their beer.

I am thinking, and correct me if I’m wrong, that maybe I’ll meet people who know how to brew beer in SMALL batches.

Perhaps it’s worth investing in a beer making kit, like this one from Amazon:

I could handle brewing a gallon of beer.

But also?

I know of a beer making supply store near me and I could go see if they have their own little kits for making beer in smaller batches.

I’d much rather get a kit (and advice) from a local business than Amazon’s mass-produced kits.

So one of my goals for 2019?

Brew beer and make friends.

What could be better?

 

Making Homebrew

On Saturday, I attended my beer making class in the City.

We spent the first two and a half hours talking about beer and sampling various beers including:

  • Firestone Walker Wooky Jack
  • Firestone Walker Double Jack
  • Sammy Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
  • Highwater Campfire Stout
  • Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale
  • Ommegang Three Philosophers Quadrupel
  • Cinder Cone Red Ale
  • Speakeasy Double Daddy Imperial IPA
  • Morpho Herbal Ale
  • Trappist Westvleteren quadruple
  • And more…

You can imagine we were all pretty loopy at the end of this tasting, which also included passing around various barley malts to try and hops to sniff.

My class consisted of 5 guys and 5 girls, broken into three groups to each make our own beer of choice. My group had a very handsome (yet gay) British man in it. He was a lot of fun. We had a great time making our beer – a Baltic Porter – which will be ready to drink in four and a half weeks. Our method was the Extract with Steeped Grains method.

What did I learn about beer making? I learned that even though it’s a simple microorganism creating the beer, the process and execution is actually quite complicated. It also requires quite a it of an investment in materials.

The basic process was this:

  1. Pick out your recipe.
  2. Measure out your grains.
  3. Mill the grains.
  4. Make a giant tea bag out of the grains and steep in 150F water.
  5. Steep 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.
  6. Remove tea bag.
  7. Measure out malt extract.
  8. Add to steeped grain mixture and stir.
  9. Add your first round of hops – for bittering.
  10. Boil for one hour.
  11. Add your second round of hops – for aroma.
  12. Pump mixture through a heat exchange (to cool it) and into your glass fermenter.
  13. Measure the specific gravity (sugar content) of your mixture. Ours was 1.083 or 11.5% sugar. Our finished product should be a about 7% alcohol which is lower than your typical Baltic Porter but the highest our teacher would allow us to go.
  14. Add rehydrated yeast solution to the cooled mixture.
  15. Cap the fermenter
  16. Let the mixture ferment.

It was a fun class, but a very long process. It took us 7 hours to complete everything. My favorite part was steeping the grains and watching the color develop in the water. I also enjoyed the science of fermentation – how yeast change glucose molecules into alcohol and carbon dioxide via their metabolic pathway.

Here are some pics from the day:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Coming Up: Beer Making

Beer making class is this weekend and I’m totally excited to see how you can take grains, hops, water and yeast and make something amazing out of it.

I’m so excited, I’m not the least bit bothered by the fact that I’ll be taking this class alone, without a friend or date joining me.

Although I have had a few friends contact me wishing they could go with me.

Here’s my current knowledge of the process of fermentation:

Take water, grains, and hops and boil.

Let it cool until it’s a safe temperature to add the yeast.

Add yeast and let the mixture ferment for a few days. The yeast’s digestive process releases alcohol into the mixture.

Pour off the liquid and make beer with it.

Or something like that, I guess.

I really have no idea how to make beer, which is why I’m taking the class.

That and to maybe meet some cool people in the City.