Monday, October 24, 2011

Homebrew Session

I dabble in a lot of other hobbies and from time to time you will see glimpses into these mystical realms.

This is one of those times!

BACKSTORY... A few months ago sometime around June or July I was introduced by a few friends to the art of brewing one's own beer. With the state alcohol tax here in Maryland increasing to 9% recently and the fact that myself and my wife enjoy knocking back a few, I really liked the idea of brewing my own beer and being able to save a few dollars on good quality beer at the same time. I bought my first ingredient kit one weekend and went to my friends house where they helped me start up the process of brewing. Homebrewing is a lot harder than it sounds and is actually quite an easy process to accomplish. I have most of the tools to accomplish making my own beer and perhaps if I didn't have so many hobbies then I could afford to maximise my homebrewing experience... But hey! Where's the fun in that!!!

I was able to order a beer ingredient kit earlier in the week. I had a gift certificate from earlier in the year when I made my first purchase so ot was relatively inexpensive because I only had to pay for shipping. I ordered an easy to make kit that I plan to use as easy well made Christmas presents because I can't afford to buy the extravagant presents for everyone. Beer ingredient kits are nice because everything comes pre-measured and the directions are pretty easy to follow.

(Cologne Kolsch Kit Ingredients)

I chose a Colgne Kolsch Beer kit because of it's easy smooth drinkability. I hope that everyone enjoys this kit because most people will be getting a 6 pack for Christmas. 

(The Wort being prepared)

The Wort (pronounced "WERT") step is one of the most important steps. You steep (boil at 155 degrees) the grains for 30 minutes. This is done on a stove because it is easier to monitor tempatures. 

(Wort and Malt Extract at a rolling boil for 60 minutes)

Now add the Wort, 1st stage hops and the Malt Extract to 2 more gallons of water and set to a rolling boil for 60 minutes. 

(40 minutes left) 

(20 minutes left)

At about 5 minutes before the boiling time is up we add more hops to help with flavoring and aroma. 

(Ice Bath = STEAM!)

After the boil is complete the chemical reaction of taking the mixture and rapidly decreasing it's tempature will form the beginning of beer. You then add yeast that comes with the ingredieant kit to this mixture.

(It is very inportant that everything is very sanitary during these steps. There are some bacterias that will destroy your yeast and ruin your beer.)

Your beer is then added to a fermenter for a few weeks and then after that few weeks we will begin the bottling stage.

(Completed product begins fermentation in the basement away from light) 

Your batch should make 5 gallons (roughly 2 and a half cases) of mixture that should be ready to bottle in about 3 weeks.

(Yeast is bubbling like a champ)

A day later and the yeast is working it's magic. It is now eating away at the sugars within the mixture and producing gas (hence the bubbles). This chemical reaction is what turns sugar, hops, and grains into beer! In about 3 weeks we will start the bottling process and these beers should be ready right before christmas for my loved ones to enjoy!

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