Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Brewing Beer: the diary of the Marc and Lucas micro-brew

For the longest time, my roommate and I have been talking about brewing our own beer. It all began when I was a freshman living in the dorms, and I started making something that resembled wine. I'd get gallon jugs of 100% grape juice, add a little bread yeast and sugar to the mix, then I fashioned an airlock out of plastic tubing. The airlock, I feel, was the most innovative component on my part. I just put a loop in the tubing, taped it off with duct tape of course, and poured a small amount of water in it. Then put a hole in the bottle cap, and epoxyed the crap out of it.(i know, it doesnt sound very healthy, but it never touched the wine so its all good.) Anyway, this was a great operation for me in the dorms. Not being 21, it was a good way to get alcohol, and it was a lot of fun- making wine in the dorms.

So after a while, Lucas and I decided we should up the aunty and actually brew beer. We ordered two ingredient kits- and Irish Stout, and my personal favorite, and India Pale Ale. Somehow they sent us just a regular pale ale, but we called up, complained and they sent the IPA for free. Pretty sweet if i might say so. Anyway, we brewed the pale ale first.

Here is my roommate Lucas showing off all the ingredients. I had done plenty of research on brewing beer and winemaking ever since i started my wine experiments as a freshman, so I decided that we didnt need to order those pricey supplies kits, I would just piece it together myself.

Here's the grain being boiled in.

This is the very appetizing finished wort. this is after all the malt and hops have been added and boiled sufficiently. at this point it smells very much like a bready beer with a hint of a pale ale smell.

We then added the wort to our good ol' Fleet Farm bucket along with the yeast.

One thing I did not take into account when placing so much faith in my Fleet Farm brethren was that the bucket cap would not seal air tight. This was very problematic seeing as we had already put the yeast in, and fermentation had begun. But never fear, with a little quick thinking, our MacGuyver like instincts led us to a solution. It just so happened that I had a bunch of modeling clay from an art project, so I rolled up a very thin coil, shoved it in the cap to make a seal, and BOOM crisis averted. After a week of fermentation, we did our bottling which was a modgepodge of different bottles we had collected- mostly the great and the cheap Milwaukee's Best Light.

The bottles had to sit for about two weeks. You would have thought we gave birth to our first child we were so happy. Our first beer. Its a pretty good batch if I might say so. There were roadblocks, but we got through em, and it turned out okay. So if you'll excuse me, I've got some beer to drink; we cant brew another batch till we have 50 more bottles.