Monday, March 3, 2014

We're making beer, Part 1

This year for Valentine's Day I gave Andrew a kit from the Make Magazine store to build a circuit board in the shape of a heart with red LEDs that flashes messages, and a book on making beer, Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book (also advertised on the Make website). The goal had been to be geeky, but cute, but also useful. The heart kit allowed him to go to the Artist Asylum, and play with electronics. The beer book allowed him to well...start brewing beer (something we've both wanted to do for a while).

We made wine once before. Maple wine. We made if for our wedding, and I think considering it was made from maple syrup, it worked out pretty well. In the course of making the wine, we also managed to make maple brandy (the fermentation process stopped at one point, leaving us what we fondly referred to as Maple Death...I wish we still had some of that). Since then we've often commented that we wanted to try making more wine, or beer, so when I was searching for gifts the beer book struck me as a great idea.

Andrew browsed through the book while I was at the aerials workshop, and figured out where we'd be able to pick up the necessary supplies. We agreed that for the first time that it would probably be for the best to go with one of the pre-packaged kits produced by the authors of the book. Although many of the recipes sounded appealing, we based our decision on what was available at Whole Foods. Four or five different flavours were available, but opted for the straight up IPA as we both like IPAs, but also because it's one of their best sellers and we figured it had to be decent if it was popular. If this batch turns out well, we'll probably try future recipes on our own (there's a fairly well stocked home brew store in Cambridge where we can get all the necessary ingredients).

The beer making kit, fresh out of the box.
Me adding the malt to a pot of hot (not boiling) water to make the mash.
The mash. As the book says, it's a lot like making oatmeal at this point.
Andrew straining the malt the first part of the step called the sparge.
The second part of the sparge, which is straining hot water through the malt. The strained liquid then gets boiled as hops are added.
Once the hops have been boiled for an hour, the mix is placed into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Finally, the fermenter. It sits for about two weeks before we have beer and it get's bottled...although it's still not ready to be drunk.
The bottling process should take place sometime over this up coming weekend.

As a further note, rather than throwing out the spent grains, I've been using it to make bread. Last weekend, it was a simple bread recipe that we found on line, this weekend, I made my traditional multigrain sourdough baguette, but instead of using multigrain I used the spent grains. Yum!



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