This weekend I finally helped the Hubs brew a batch of beer. He’s gotten two brews under his belt and has been enjoying his first batch for the last week. He’s been really enthusiastic with the whole process and is turning himself into a bit of a beer geek. The first two batches he made were IPA’s and pretty hoppy which isn’t my favorite, so to get me excited about brewing he bought a Nut Brown Ale so I could enjoy it at the end too. I think it’ll be my last time helping though, it wasn’t hard or frustrating, it was BOOOORRRINNNGGG.
The very first thing we did was get the liquid yeast going. You find the little pouch inside the package and smack it so it pops. Then you let it swell up for at least 3 hours before you start brewing.
Later that day, you get 2.5 gallons of water in a large pot and then add your mesh bag of crushed grains. I should note, we bought this kit at Northern Brewer so we were able to get the grains crushed at the store and pre-mixed for the recipe.
We let the grains steep in the water for about 20 minutes until the water temperature reached 170 degrees, then removed the bag.
We then turned the water up to let it get to a boil and while it was working its way up there we put our malt syrup in a sink of hot water to make it easier to add in once it was fully boiling.
Once the malt was added you bring it back up to a boil, it’s called a wort at this point (nerd stuff), then add in the pack of hops and let it boil for a good hour.
This is where I got really bored. You have to watch it so it doesn’t boil over and you’re not supposed to stir it because you want any solids to stay at the bottom for later. So we sat in chairs in front of the stove and waited, for the full hour.
After the hour was up, we brought the pot down the stairs and put it in our basement bathtub to get it cooled back down to 100 degrees as quickly as possible. We made a makeshift trivet out of aluminum foil underneath so we didn’t burn through the tub.
While it was cooling down we filled up a carboy (or primary fermentor, nerd) with 2 gallons of cold water. We also had to make sure all of the pieces of equipment were sanitized and yeast pack we’d be using through the rest of the process.
Once the wort was cooled to 100 degrees we added it in to the carboy (making sure the solids stayed at the bottom) with the other 2 gallons and started aerating it. This means the Hubs rocked the carboy around for 2 minutes.
Next we took a sample to measure the specific gravity of the wort with a hydrometer and wrote it down (super nerd). Ours was 1.044 which matched the instructions so we’re right on track.
Then we had to wait until the temperature reached 78 degrees or lower then cutting open the yeast packet with sanitized scissors and added it into the wort.
Then we could finally seal the fermentor with the fermentation lock and let it sit in a warm dark place to let the yeast do its work.
I just looked at it tonight and we’ve got a nice head of foam on top. We should be able to bottle this round in about 2 weeks.
Like I said the process wasn’t too difficult but it was just so long and monotonous. I started to loose interest about halfway through the cooling down of the wort. I think part of what was boring to me was we still have to wait before you get to taste anything. True, bacon was a little over a week to enjoy but it wasn’t as much time in up front.
I’ll let you know how bottling day goes in a couple of weeks!