Monday, February 2, 2009

Road Rash American Pale Ale

Phishbone23 and I brewed our first batch of beer yesterday using the equipment and American Pale Ale kit that he got me for Christmas. In order to prepare for this endeavour, I spent Saturday purchasing what I thought was all I would need to brew my first batch of beer. The beer kit has all of the ingredients needed for making the beer. They are all premeasured and the grain is even ready to go into the pot.

The equipment kit that Fish got me for Christmas has almost everything I needed in it for brewing, but I still had to get a pot (5 gal), a steel spoon, and I went ahead and got bottles for when I bottle it in about a week.

To get all of this equipment, I went to the store where Fish got the kits. The store, B&S Brewers Guild, is amazing. They have all kinds of grains and other stuff. They say they have enought variety to make 42,000,000 different kinds of beer. Using combinatorics I don't think that is really that difficult (especially since a slight change in amounts will brew a different beer) but still it is rather impressive. Even more cool though is that they do brewing demonstrations every Saturday. This is especially cool because, since they do brewing demonstrations every Saturday, that means they have lots of beer sitting around just waiting to be drunk. Since they don't have a liquor licence instead they have a freezer full of cold glasses and beer that they just give away! So I spent Saturday afternoon sipping on beer and learning about what I would be doing myself the next day.

Early Sunday afternoon Fish and I decided to start brewing the beer. This is when I realized I don't have a thermometer (not totally necessary, but being a scientist I like to be precise) so we ran back over to the beer store and got a thermometer. When we got home we started brewing the beer. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday I was also trying to multitask and make a cheese dip while my grains were steeping. Of course the ingredients and equiptment for brewing took up most of my counter space so I while I was making the dip, I accidently knocked my hydrometer on the ground where is promptly shattered. Luckily the beer store was still open. Fish, being the kind fiance that he is, ran back over and got me a new hydrometer.

This was only one of many mishaps I had while trying to brew the beer. The most painful of which consisted of trying to squeeze almost boiling water out of a cheesecloth bag with my bare hands. I think I can do better next time.

The most frustrating part of the whole process was getting the wort to cool. It took it over an hour to get down to below 90F. This is when I could siphon the wort into the carboy for fermentation and add the yeast.

As of 5:30am this morning the yeast seems to be doing its job and hopefully I will have good beer in a few weeks!

Some pictures from the brewing process are below! (I will try to add ones with Phishbone23 later, but his bright shiny face is just too brilliant for pictures, so they need to be doctored a bit.)

Steeping the grains

Boiling the wort

Cooling the wort

Just into the carboy with the yeast added

12 hours later at 5:30am today


DrX said...

Brings back memories. I brewed once several years ago.

And hey, you messed up by buying bottles! The best part is acquiring enough empty beer bottles. Also, champagne bottles are capable and work.

Kris said...

I bought bottles because I decided that I didn't want to deal with capping a whole bunch of bottles so I bought Grolsch style bottles with the stoppers. I have acquired a couple of the flip top style to supplement what I bought, but not enough, I am trying to work on it though! :)

Mikey OOO said...

I have bottled before, and its a pain in teh ass. Unless you can keg it, I would definitely suggest teh Grolisch style bottles. Good job!!!

DrX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DrX said...

Meh. I had a nice carboy with a spout on the bottom. Plus an industrial size bottle washer, and a huge autoclave to sterilize them in at the building where I did most of my grad work. It was totally easy.


Kris said...

It is also a little bit of a style thing for me too. I like the way the grolsch bottles look (mine are blue) with the topper. I have another container with a spout on it for priming and bottling so it isn't like I am going to have to be siphoning the beer into all of the bottles. I have just always had fun drinking from the bottles with the toppers.