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Homebrewing for Beginners

Mom was kind enough to get Doug and I a beer brewing stater kit in lieu of a more traditional Valentine’s day kit. I remember a time in my life when she discouraged drinking, and now she’s enabling me to begin making my own. ‘Teach a man to fish’ I suppose…

It was a complicated process that I didn’t expect, but it wasn’t so difficult that it was discouraging. Actually, a lot of the beer brewing process is short bursts of involvement in between minutes or even hours of steeping and boiling. In all honesty, the process gave me a new appreciation for the process and the finer points of crafting a specific variety of beer. It’s probably something every beer aficionado should do once in life.

We started with a kit for Kolsch beer that came with wheat dried malt extract, Pilsen liquid malt extract, Carapils grain for malting, bittering hops, aroma hops, and yeast (recipe here). I missed the photo opportunity, but during our primary fermentation, the head brought enough grain from the mash in to the valve, clogging it, and building a surprising amount of pressure. As you might expect, the top blew off and covered our entire living room with malts and grains. It hasn’t smelled quite right ever since…

After we got the ‘reaction’ back under control, we let the beer ferment for another few days and eventually bottled it. After two weeks from bottling, enough CO2 had collected to make the beer drinkable. I was astonished in how much carbonation actually got in to the beer. I was afraid home-brewed beer would turn out stale and flat, but much to our surprise, the beer actually tasted excellent and had just as much carbonation as you’d expect from a beer bottle.

Since I have all of my new German friends, our next kit we’re brewing will be Dunkelweizen. After a few more kits, we’ll probably know enough to start selecting our own recipes and ingredients. Hooray beer!

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