Matt loves to homebrew his beer, and I often get recruited to lend a hand. I took some photos last time and would love to share them with you all. These are pictures of brewing the brown ale.
First things first, we get the water hot. It has to be about 155F or so. This requires lots of patience. In fact, beer brewing in general requires a lot of patience.
As we waited, we got the grain sock ready. This is made up of barley and some other grains that make the beer yummy. There's a wide range of grains in there, and we're not quite sure exactly what it is (Matt, still being a novice, uses a kit that gives you all the ingredients you need).
Getting that grain sock in there! It's basically a tea bag of grainy goodness.
Next is stirring in the very thick malt extract. It's a thick syrup with all the sugary malt goodness you need. You could add other sugars, or malted grains, but this is the process Matt uses.
We find that it works best when you stir while adding the malt. Otherwise, there could be a little burning.
Cooking it up! You bring it to a boil, let it hang out there, and watch. Oh, and apparently "bittering" hops were added somewhere in there (right when it started to boil, Matt says. I guess I didn't get a picture of that). Bittering is in quotes because Matt wants to make sure no one confuses it with flavoring hops, which imparts the hoppy flavor. I think I'm over my head here in beer terminology. Good thing my household beer expert is sitting next to me. Apparently, "bittering" hops give bitterness, balances the sweet taste from the malt, and acts as a preservative.
The yeast bag is activated, and those yeasties are happy!
In the bathtub (easy cleanup), Matt pours the beer from the cooking pot into the primary fermenter. The beer will do two weeks in here before getting moved into a secondary fermenter, a glass carboy you'll see in a later post.
And, finally, topping off with a little water to bring the volume up. We use the showerhead because it's the easiest way to get the water. I bet Matt's happy that we replaced the showerhead with a nice one when we first moved in. Apparently, adding the water this way also aerates the beer to provide oxygen for the yeast.
And that's our beer brewing process! Next post, tomorrow, will be on the bottling process. Go, beer, go!