Thursday, March 4, 2010

Brewing beer

Now that we have a bit more down time following the end of the season, we've started in on some projects that have gotten neglected over the past few months. The first project on that list was attempting to brew our own beer. I've got lots of pictures, so I'll leave my descriptions pretty minimal and let the pictures speak for themselves. This post is going to be a long one, even without my commentary!

Step 1: Measure water. (We had to buy a new pot for this!)

Step 2: Add grains and bring to a boil.

Step 3: Remove grains just before boiling.

Step 4: Turn off the heat and add wheat extract. This was WAY thicker than we were anticipating. It was sticky and gross!

Step 5: Add the hops and bring the pot to a boil. These looked like rabbit food.

Step 6: DO NOT LET YOUR POT BOIL OVER! We had a mishap in which we left the kitchen for a second, came back and the wort was all over the stove and spilling onto the floor. I had already started in on the clean-up when I took these pictures, so it doesn't give you a true impression of how bad it was...
The burned/cooked wort smelled like a burnt marshmallow and caked up about an inch thick on our burner. Since you have to let the pot with the hops "vigorously boil" for about an hour, we had to transfer our pot to a new burner, clean up, and transfer back, all the while trying to keep it boiling.
 I had to scrape it off with a fork before I could even attempt to clean the burner.

Step 7: Remove hops.

Step 8: Transfer pot to an ice water bath to cool.

Step 9: Pour the wort into a sanitized fermenter. Add water.

Step 10: Add in the yeast and stir.

Step 11: Rock the fermenter back and forth for 5 minutes to aerate the yeast.

Step 12: Take out a sample from the fermenter and take a reading on a hydrometer. (This is used later to determine whether the beer is done fermenting.)

Step 13: Put the extracted wort into an old beer bottle, shove a paper towel in it, and use this "satellite sample" to take future hydrometer readings.

Done! Now we just have to let our fermenter and satellite sample sit for a week or so before we take our next steps.

Hope it comes out well! If not, we've got about 5 gallons of gross liquid :) The whole process should take about 3 weeks or so - I'll let you know how it turns out later!


Patty said...

Oh my gosh - that is so complicated! And one nasty burner. I commend you on your efforts and hope you're happy with the result! Your ale pail makes a nice accessory!!

Rob said...

Excellent. I have been waiting for this post. If you didn't the first time around, soak your malt extract in war/hot water for a few minutes before pouring it into the wort, it'll come out a lot easier.

Did you add any water to the fermentation bucket to bring it up to 5 gallons? Or did you just leave it, because of the earlier spill?

Katie said...

Thanks for the tip about the malt extract - I'll remember that for our second brew.

We added a little additional water to bring it up to 5 gallons - I don't think we lost too much with the boil over, I caught it fairly quickly :) Just not quick enough to prevent the mess!

Lauren said...

Dang woman... how does uncle Mike do it...

Dorothy said...

That is more complicated than I imagined! Good luck with the rest of the steps. Can't wait to hear how it turns out.

jennie said...

wow good work! i can't wait to see how it turns out!

The McPhersons said...

Wow! You guys and Isaac need to compare notes;) We can totally help you taste test;) Since I can now consume things other than water!:)

Liz said...

i hope it turns out delicious! are you going to have a special name for your brew?

Stina said...

wow what a process! i'm so impressed by your industriousness!