Saturday, June 26, 2010

First Batch

Because I am a patient man, I waited a full eight hours before starting to make my first batch of home brew. Turns out that brewing - with all the sanitizing, boiling, steeping, and cooling - can be a little time consuming.

Lesson one: Starting the process at 8pm on Sunday night is not advisable for those who have to wake up and go to work the next day.

The first batch is an IPA and almost everything went according to plan. Brand spanking new equipment cleaned and sanitized, ingredients at the ready and with recipe in hand I set off to make my very first home brew!

First the steep:

Once the steep of the base grains was complete it was time to remove the mash and add the dry malt over low heat to avoid scorching.

Then for the favoring hops. Sure, it has a striking resemblance to gerbil food but this stuff has a unique and potent aroma. It also gives IPAs their distinctive flavor.

As the boil draws to an end it's time for the addition of a finishing hops and a "quick" cool down of the wort.

Apparently there's a couple of ways to do this and I chose the method known as the "kitchen sink ice bath" method. Little did I know it's probably the least efficient way to chill the brew.

Essentially, you need to chill the liquid from boiling to under 80 degrees as quickly as possible before pitching the yeast. This requires a great deal of heat transfer... and lots of ice. I did not have lots of ice. And here lies the problem.

I dumped every ice cube and freezer pack I could find at it. I even dropped a frozen bottle of vodka into the ice bath! At three o'clock in the morning and the wort had still not gotten down under 80 degrees. I gave up and pitched the yeast at about 82 degrees.

My starting gravity was 1.050 with a potential alcohol of 6.5%.

After about 3 days it was time to transfer from the primary fermentation to the secondary. This requires more sanitizing and some careful siphoning to leave behind the trub, or sediment. And then... More hops!

Once the beer is in the secondary fermentation it's just a waiting game. Watching for bubbles in the air lock and periodically checking the gravity.

And this is where we're still waiting. Bubble... Bubble... Bubble...

Once the secondary fermentation is complete I'll add some additional sugars to start the carbonation, bottle, and wait about two weeks before cracking open my very first cold one.

Can hardly wait!

"He that can have patience can have what he will."
-Benjamin Franklin


Ernie said...

very cool. you'll have to let us know how it turns out.

Josh said...

You can count on it, Ernie!