Brewing Beer

Submitted by Alex Hallowell

So, I’m a big fan of beers. I was lucky to be exposed to high quality brewing at a pretty young age: I lived among some of the best breweries on the French/Belgian border when I was 18 (legal there…)

I’ve always wanted to try brewing, but it always seemed pretty intimidating. I’m a good cook, but I lack the precision of a baker, whose skills are required when brewing. You’ve got to time everything precisely, keep it at a consistant and steady temp. I’m not very good at paying attention for a long time, nor am I terribly patient. So, this was certainly an adventure.

A few weeks ago, I got a brewing kit for my birthday, so I had no more excuses. It’s a little, simple 1 gallon kit from the Brooklyn Brewshop. The 1 gallon is perfect for a first-timer. There’s no sense in destroying 10 gallons of beer on your first go, so I dove in.

After hearing horror stories of improper sanitation ruining a whole batch, I was super cautious. Sanitizing and re-sanitizing everything. Twice. Thrice.

I took over the kitchen, and since you need multiple pots and pans for the brew, I took over the kitchen supplies as well.

Note: Quadruple check all the supplies you’ll need before you get going. I triple checked, and still missed  a pot. Luckily it turned out okay, but really. 

So, after straining the mash, as best I could, I funneled it into the 1 gallon jug provided by the kit.

I let the beer sit and ferment for two weeks. For the first few days, the yeast churns up a storm, it’s fun to watch. After about three days it settles down and is far less entertaining…

Today, I bottled. And, after watching a  few tutorials and reading the instructions provided, I thought I was all set.

Wrong.

Siphoning is really, really hard. So, after about an hour and a half, plus half a bottle of beer on the floor (and in the carpet…) I had six bottles. Now, I let them sit another two weeks, to get bubbly and delicious. I’m just hoping that I didn’t contaminate something during my nightmare of a siphoning experience.

Do any of you brew? I’m interested in continuing. This inagural batch has taught me a lot. I’m not sure I’m ready for anything complicated, but I am interested in trying it again with my own ingredients. Local grains, and if I can, local hops. So, I’m on the hunt and could really use suggestions from seasoned brewers out there!

About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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One Response to Brewing Beer

  1. trixfred30 says:

    I’ve got a wine kit. Still sitting there…

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