With the explosion in craft brew beers in recent years, I have many friends who have become great at home brewing. Any type of beer, from ales to lagers to wheat beers are attempted and sometimes turn out pretty well.
So it was with lots of friendly support and enthusiasm that I began my own home brew. Being a fan of darker beers, my first attempt was for an amber ale. I am told this is the easiest to try. About a month and a half ago I spent a weekend preparing my kitchen for some messy brewing and getting down to business. I boiled my hops and malt and created about five gallons of beer. Sanitizing the kitchen and utensils was tricky but I think I did it well enough. I poured all five gallons of would-be beer into a bucket to ferment and then stepped back for three weeks.
I found this to be the most difficult part. It has to sit and ferment, letting yeast and whatnot do it’s stuff. Unfortunately, I am one of those cooks who likes to constantly stir the broth; If I’m not being active, I’m not really cooking, right?
That’s the biggest thing I learned about brewing beer – it’s not cooking. It’s chemistry. It’s a science. Nature has reactions that go on in that bucket that I need to just let happen.
After three weeks I bottled the stuff (which now smelled like beer – a good sign!) and again let it sit.
Finally, after about five weeks, by brew was ready to be tasted. I called it “First Draft,” which all my friends assured me was totally a good name and not at all a horrible pun for an editor to use.
I was surprised. It was beer. It was amber. It had taste that was not bad at all.
In the immortal words of Bud Light (which will be the only time I will ever mention them), it was “drinkable.”
If you have stories about brewing beer (or even wine or other spirits), drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Revue and News Facebook page. I’d love to hear your horror stories, your successes and what tricks you’ve learned.