As I’ve become a fan of craft beer, the next step in my beer-volultion was to brew my own beer. It’s the cool thing to do these days. Too many people I know to count have brewed their own beers. I’ve always heard it wasn’t a hard thing to do and allows you to create something to call your own.
So a while back my mom bought me a kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop in order to make my first batch. I had found this place online after a recommendation from a fellow beer lover and home brewer. The nice part of starting with something like the kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop is that for under $50 you get pretty much everything you need to make a gallon batch of beer. For a beginner like me this was perfect. Since I was starting this thing from scratch, the easiest path was the best path. The kit that would end up being my first beer was the Bruxelles Blonde kit. As described on the Brooklyn Brew Shop site:
A dreamy, light-bodied Belgian ale with a gentle malt sweetness, Bruxelles Blonde offers a refreshing, slightly earthy, slightly spicy hop aroma and a smooth, fresh taste.
So, with supplies in hand…or in the box…it was time to brew…
To help with my first brew we had a good buddy (and more superior beer geek/lover) and his girlfriend over. I mean, if you are going to brew your first beer you might as well make a night out of it. After a quick dinner, it was time to get down to business.
The first step was to sanitize everything. This was pretty straightforward as the sanitizer came with the kit. Now came the fun stuff I’ve really only see on TV…the mash. At this point you boil the required amount of water and then add in the grain. This step is called “mashing in” for all you in the know. During this process we stirred the grain while keeping the temp just at the right level. It kind of felt, and smelled a little, like making oatmeal. We had an affectionate name for the smell that we came up with, but that will probably stay with the four of us. You aren’t privy to our inside joke. In any case, it wasn’t bad at all to get through the mash. So, the first sixty minutes…done.
Step two, or the sparge, is when you pour the mash through a strainer. The liquid collected below the strainer is the wort (I may sound like I know what I’m talking about, but I’m reviewing the directions again to sound cool). Apparently the wort is our beer. By the looks of it in the pot, this is not a beer I would want to drink. We tasted the wort and it was beer-like, but not beer yet. After we collected the wort, it was time to bring it to a boil. During the next hour we added in the hops provided at 15 minute intervals. Adding the hops really started to bring out the beer smell in the house. It even started to taste like actual beer at this point. I can’t tell you how many times we took temperatures during this process. We wanted to follow everything to a tee.
Once the hops were added it was into an ice bath to cool everything off. After it was cooled to the right temperature (which we measured about five times) it was through a strainer again and into the glass fermenter…that the kit provided. Once in the fermenter, we added in the yeast packet and gave it a good shake. At this point I kind of got worried because our beer looked a tinge green and seemed as though things were swirling around. Little did I know the hops can do that and things would settle to the bottom.
So, like good direction followers, we put the top on the fermenter, slid in some rubber tubing to allow the CO2 to escape, and put our “beer” in a dark place. After a good three hours from start to finish we had beer…or something. We wouldn’t know for a month, so it was anyone’s guess at this point.
That is where I leave you all for now. If you know me on social media, you know how things turned out. However, for the blog it would make for one insanely long post. So for now, I leave you in suspense. Until the next post folks!