We started a new adventure this weekend! Beer Brewing! We thought it would be a lot of fun to learn the whole process and are really excited about our first batch! It should be ready to bottle next weekend and should be ready for consumption a week later (or two weeks later depending on how hungry the yeast are.)
Since it was our first time we used a kit that included all the ingredients. We chose a Red Ale and now that we understand the process we can come up with our own recipes and use loose ingredients rather than another kit.
Here we are steeping the barley. From what I understand this breaks down the barley into more simple sugars which are what the yeast feast on.
I was almost as excited about our new HUGE stock pot as I was about the whole beer thing.
Steep, Barley, steep!
After the steeping comes the malt or malt extract. You heat it a little on a wet towel so that the plastic doesn't get too hot and melt into the malt.
After the malt comes the first round of hops. This is for flavor and must be boiled into the concoction for one hour. This phase smelled really good and humidified our kitchen at the same time.
Most of the time we had to carefully monitor temperatures and sanitation. I've never cooked anything that had to be so clean! Not that I usually make dirty things... (We even wore gloves so if you try some of our brew, know it was made with the utmost of care and cleanliness.) Apparently any stray bacteria can cause the entire batch to go terribly wrong. How sad would it be to wait three weeks to try something that is incredibly nasty? It would be worse than that time I made eggplant lasagna with home-made hand rolled spinach pasta and home-made cream sauce. It took all day and was the most disgusting thing I've ever created... and that was only one day.
What was I saying? Ahh, yes. after the rolling hopped-up hour long boil comes the dry hopping process. Not really a process, actually. You just throw in a second round of aroma hops and boil for five more minutes.
The entire next part involved surgically clean hands so no pictures were taken. We moved the boiling stock pot to an ice bath to bring the temp down. (If it's too hot when you add the yeast, you can kill them, and we are not murderers.) Then we siphoned the wort (young beer) (did you like that new vocab word?) into the sterile 5 gallon bucket, added the yeast and covered. This is where our brew will live for the next 7 days.
Please excuse the lame "Ale Pail" graphic. I bet they think they're soooo clever...