Today We’re Making BEER!

Don't let the plain package fool you. This box holds FUN!

Don’t let the plain package fool you. This box holds FUN!

Irish Red Ale, to be exact. Should be similar to Killian’s Red. 😀

It’s Johnny’s birthday, as well as Pi day and Steak & A BJ Day, but the rain is preventing us from grilling steak, sooooo….We’ll do steak tomorrow. 😉

At any rate, I got up and finished removing the labels and adhesive from half a dozen clear wine bottles so that I could bottle my dry mead, which we did, and it tastes AMAZING after back-sweetening last week. The adventure of Mead V1.0 is here, if you’re interested.

I then re-racked our Hell Hath No Fury V2.0 to a smaller carboy, as I knew Johnny and I would need the six and a half gallon carboy for the five gallons of beer. And beer he shall brew on his birthday. ❤

This much water on my stove? Don't be in a hurry.

This much water on my stove? Don’t be in a hurry.

So far, it’s been ridiculously easy, though an exercise in patience. We have a glass top stove, as opposed to MY personal preference; a gas version, but with an all electric home? What can ya do, right?

We put 2.5 gallons of spring water in our brew pot, which is basically a big shiny silver pot. You might recognize it from the pics we took of all the grapes we had here last fall…It kept many, LOL…It took about 45 minutes for the water to hit 155F.

Once that happened, we put the steeping bag of grain into the water

Grain bag for steeping.

Grain bag for steeping.

and held at 155 for thirty minutes. Granted, that required a bit of supervision. We’d watch the needle on the thermometer, and if it went up, we’d lower the crazy cyclic heating of the burner a bit.

Thirty minutes went by fairly quickly. At this point, we took the grain bag out of the “grain tea” and got as much liquid as we could Halfway Steepedout of it. Then we had to put the pot back on the heat, turn it to “high” and bring the water to a full boil. That has been an exercise in patience, for sure!

The kitchen is starting to smell really interesting. I don’t think I even have  word in my vocabulary to explain what these grains smell like. Almost like wheat bread baking, but without the yeast.

Hops n malt n hops n malt, sung to the tune of "Boots n'Pants" GEICO Pig, LOL.

Hops n malt n hops n malt, sung to the tune of “Boots n’Pants” GEICO Pig, LOL.

I suspect things will get even more scent-sational once we add the malt, and again when we add hops.

So here’s how this went…Once we got the grain tea back to a decent boil, we removed from heat, then added one of two bags of Liquid Malt Extract (the flavor du jour is Amber Malt), then stirred to mix to dissolve well. We returned to the heat, brought back to a boil and added an ounce of Fuggle hops. (Does anyone else think of cute pre-school cartoons when they read the word, “fuggle?” I just wondered…) And because of this, I had to Google WTH Fuggle hops are: (From the Hop Guide at BeerAdvocate.com.)

“Fuggle is an aroma-type cultivar selected in England as a chance seedling in 1861. It reached its peak in the U.K. in 1949 when 78% of the English crops were grown as Fuggle. It is also marketed as Styrian (Savinja) Golding in the Slovenian Republic. In the USA it is grown in Oregon and Washington State.”

Once we dropped the Fuggle hops (part one of two), the house smelled amazing!

ice bathWe let it boil and do its thing for 45 minutes (I got a Zumba workout in) and then we added the other pouch of LME and the last ounce of hops. After fifteen more minutes we placed it in an ice bath in the kitchen sink so that it would reduce temp to 80 degrees, F.

Meanwhile, I reactivated the yeast…and we waited, still, for the wort temp to go down. We used every bit of ice in the house, plus all the cold packs. Okay, and some ridiculously old “something” that we could not identify, so once it’s thawed, it’s going away, LOL. Why did I not know the value of labeling back then?

Getting it where it needs to be...

Getting it where it needs to be…

So, okay. Once we got the temperature to 80 degrees, we were able to siphon from the pot to the carboy. We used our Fermtech wine whip to aerate our beer, and it frothed beautifully. Johnny aerated it for the prescribed five minutes and then we pitched the yeast. We then gave it a good stir, popped the air lock on top of the carboy and walked away.

We didn’t even mess with a specific gravity reading, which we probably should have, but we were both pretty tired. It took about five and a half hours to get to the point where we could get the wort into the primary fermenter. Now we’re both tired.

Finally in the carboy!

Finally in the carboy!

Until next time…

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