Saturday, October 20, 2012

Home Brew

As if we didn't have enough things to keep us happily occupied...we have now added something new...home brewing. We already knew we liked beer.  And, not just any standard, mainstream beer.  We like craft brew and all the adventurous flavors it comes in.  That makes home brewing perfect for us.  We can create flavors we like and experiment with new ones and countless combinations.  And, it turns out to be very affordable.  Aside from the small cost of a few pieces of equipment (thermometer, hydrometer, fermenting equipment, some bottles, sterilizer, etc.), the cost of making the beer is very inexpensive.  Many types of beer run close to $10 a six pack and higher.  Home brew can cost pennies per bottle.  Plus, you get more than just good beer to drink, you get the entertainment and fun of making it, the satisfaction of making it, and a good feeling of knowing exactly what's in it.

My husband cooked up a batch of IPA about a month ago
that we were able to start drinking this week.  It's so good!

The initial stage of cooking took several hours but a lot of that time was just checking the
temperature and waiting.  Salsa loves to 'cook' and since it was beer...which she also likes...
she wasn't about to miss out on "helping" with this!

After cooking the mash, straining, rinsing, and boiling the wort, the fermenting began.
The next morning was very exciting!  It was alive!  The bubbles were coming out the tube like crazy and the bottle was full of movement.  That went on for a few days as the movement and bubbles slowed down.  Then, the tube was removed and an air lock was installed on the top of the bottle so gasses could still escape but it was still protected from the air.  We moved it into our pantry to ferment.

After two weeks, we added honey to create bubbles and bottled it.  The gallon jug filled seven bottles.  Then, it was another two week wait for the carbonation.  We stored the bottles in a plastic storage bin with a lid, just in case any of them were to explode.  We've heard of that happening and thought the bin could help contain the mess.  Luckily, that didn't happen. 

Two weeks later, we placed the bottles in the fridge to chill.  Then, it was tasting time.
Success!  It's delicious and the carbonation is perfect!

It was so much fun and the beer is so good that we're now hooked on home brewing.

We're lucky to have a great, local shop that sells beer and wine making supplies.  The shop is "Brewliterate" in Canyon Lake, California.  They have a little shop in the town center and an online store as well.  They're prices are great and the owner is super helpful.

We went there this morning to watch a demonstration and bought some more supplies and ingredients to make several more batches of brew.  The grains smell so good.  I think they're pretty too....that made the owner chuckle a little when I said that but I think the colors are pretty and they're all natural, which is beautiful all in itself.

We bought two row malt, black malt, caramel malt, chocolate malt, honey malt, and roasted barley.  We're planning on making a stout this time that should have a rich flavor of coffee and chocolate.  We're brewing tonight.  Our house is about to be filled with the wonderful aroma that comes with it.
I can't wait. Mmmmm!  


Judy S said...

Congrats Cheryl!!! It's fabulous that you guys are experimenting with making things at home --- so glad that is was successful!

Susan Harvey said...

My hubby has made his own beer, cider and wines and its fun!

He started with wines when we lived aboard our boat so you can literally do it anywhere!

Calli our Airedale loves beer too and I laughed when I saw Salsa's pretty 'sit and tuck' while she waits. My hub just has to crack a beer and Calli is right there!


Cindie Kitchin said...

I'm not much of a beer drinker but this looks like fun and I'm sure they're tasty - Sam loves beer - might have to investigate this once he retires.

jomomma said...

This is what I call a total rewards hobby. My dad tried wine making, until it exploded and left a hall closet smelling like... a winery. My brother is into home brewing beer too. He finds lots of equipment like kegs on Craig's list. You should also try growing your own hops. It's a really pretty plant but you may want to grow it next to something tall to help brace it, it grows to amazing heights. A perfect gift for you guys would be a nice set of pilsner glasses with your name etched in them.

Sandra said...

My Husband works in the brewing industry, and supplies many micro breweries with equipment - I et exposure to many craft beers, and as a cottager - it's my quaff of choice in the summer!
Congrats on starting a great hobby.

Roxie said...

My grandpa brewed beer in the basement during prohibition. One day, when Father Henrick came over for a visit, the bottles started exploding, filling the house with that rich aroma. Father Henrick flinched at the first crash, then sniffed deeply, smiled gently, and said not a word about it while several more bottles went off during his visit. Hope your bottles never explode, but putting them in the plastic bin is a darn good idea, just in case.

mompsgirl said...

That looks like a lot of fun! I've never brewed anything, but your story reminds me of a neighbor we had who would never weed out her dandelions b/c she was going to make dandelion wine for Christmas gifts. I think she must have drunk it all herself b/c we never got any...

Benita said...

Even though I am not an alcoholic beverage drinker, I can appreciate making it from scratch. Like you said, you know what goes into it and it is much less expensive than the boughten kind.

Margaret aka: Fact Woman said...

I've always wanted to make a batch of home brew but was worried about how hard it is. You've given me the courage to try!

Greenpatches said...

Sounds good. My hubby and friend make cider; I get to be chief taster!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow!! beer makers! wow, you are impressive! my husband tried to make beer once. We won't go there. But I would go to your house cause that glass of beer looks just about perfect! Yum=O