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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We Will Have Beer!

On Sunday, May 1st, my son-in-law Howard and I brewed our first batch of beer. I bought the equipment and gathered the requisite ingredients for a British style brown ale: One pound of Crystal Malt, 1/4 pound of Chocolate Malt, 7 pounds of liquid Extra Pale Malt Extract, 1 ounce each of Kent Golding and Northdown Hops and some British Ale Yeast.

I also bought five gallons of spring water for the brew. I like Tacoma water and it would be great to brew with except I would have had to boil it all first to remove the chlorine.

Before Howard and my daughter arrived I started a couple gallons of water heating to steep the crystal and chocolate malt.
Once we steeped the grains like a tea, it was time to bring our beginning wort to the boil and add the Malt Extract and the hops. All the while we kept track of the temperature.

Once we got it to boil, we added the extract and hops to the pot. After an hour of boiling, we chilled the wort down to 80 degrees and add our yeast. We then transferred the wort to the glass carboy and then added enough water to bring it to the full five gallons. So far, it smelled like beer!

We even tasted it and I gotta tell ya, it tasted pretty good.

It is now sitting in a dark corner in our kitchen covered to keep the light out. All the little yeastie critters are happily eating the sugars and turning them into alcohol and CO2.
It all went pretty well except for the occasional flood. Our first flood came when we were sanitizing the fermenter and other equipment. Sanitizing is probably the most important rule in brewing. We had a bucket on the floor full of sanitizer with the carboy bung, the wort chiller and the airlock soaking. The bucket had a spigot and I accidentally bumped it when I grabbed the last of the hops for the final 15 minutes of the wort boil. Before we realized it, we'd lost about a gallon of water to the floor. We quickly got it all mopped up and got the wort chiller connected. ( The wort chiller a coil of copper tubing that has a hose connection on one end and a drain hose on the other that goes to the drain. The coil is placed in the wort and water flows through the coil, cooling the boiled wort. )

We placed the brew pot into the sink and put the chiller in the liquid. Somehow, the drain hose got away from me and suddenly, we had another flood on the floor. Howard cleaned that up while I continued to monitor the temperature so that I could pitch the yeast at the right time.

At the end of the month, we'll bottle our brew and it should be ready to drink around the middle of June or so. We hope to brew a second batch over Memorial Day Weekend. Not sure what kind yet. I'm thinking about a good stout or porter next - who knows.

I will let you know how this batch turns out . We are so excited!




wadsbrau said...

This is great. It's always good to see a new brewer. I do have one suggestion. Most english ales generlly do better when using fair to hard water. The "spring" water you used may be much to soft for this style of beer. You don't neccesarily need to boil the water to remove the chlorine. Tacoma water is generally pretty good for brewing. You could, use a small filter on your faucet, leave the water to sit in an open bucket for a couple of days (the chlorine will dissapate or you could use the spring water but harden it using some supplies you could get at a local brew shop.

Good luck with the batch. The recipe you chose is sound and should produce a good beer.

Violence Worker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VW said...

Thanks for the tip about the water. I did choose the spring water because I figured it would be better than just plain bottled water.

I bought the equipment from a local retailer in Lakewood, but I bought the recipe kit on-line. I'm probably going to by a second carboy soon and have two batches going.

Marisa said...

May 7th was National Homebrew day. If you want to network with other local homebrewers, the HOPS Club (Homebrewers of Puget Sound) meets the 2nd Friday of each month around 6-6:30 at The Beer Essentials 2624 112th Street South
Lakewood, WA 98499
(253) 581-4288

VW said...

Hi Marisa,

I was actually at a meeting a couple years back. Things came up and I had to put off getting started and even when I bought the Equipment from Beer Essentials last March, I had to put off my first brew date until May 1st because of an unexpected business trip to California that lasted a month.

I won't be to attend tomorrow and between travel and vacation, August would be my first opportunity.


venugopal said...

Nice tips share your design see good I like this.
I read this article very interesting.

Glass Chillers

wadsbrau said...

How is the brew coming along?

Larry Killion said...

I remember when Dad did his home brew thing and the bottles started exploding out in the garage. What a kick. On this Memorial Day I remember my Dad and My Father-in-law. Dad served in the Philippines during WWII. He was a Combat Engineer. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer. My Father-in-law served in the famous 442nd Infantry, the most highly decorated unit in WWII. He retired as a Command Sargent Major. God Bless America.