Craft Work: First Batch

Instead of setting resolutions per se, Ben and I decided that we would pick some new adventures: things to learn or try. With some of the gear from previous wine-making years ago (including custom shirts to “Ben’s Wine Club”, a noble establishment indeed), we decided that one of our adventures would be to try our hand at making craft beer.

My inner chemistry nerd was fully on board for this. Chemical reactions? Specific gravity? Ermahgerd.

So, after a quick discussion with the fellow at Barley Malt and Vine on City Rd., we settled on a kit with as much hops as they had in the store.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/40a/63358722/files/2015/01/img_0219.jpgOn the first day of 2015, we got the kettle fired up to make some brew!

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Of course, we had our assistant brewmaster close by…

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Chemistry Nerd was this close to getting a blue notebook to write up this lab, but resisted. After reading the instructions 100 times, the materials are organized in order of addition: grains, malt extract, three types of hops and the rest of the malt extract (which, if you divvy it up and add half at the end of the cooking stage, makes for a lighter colour beer).

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To start – adding the cold water to heat up and steep the grains.

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Cheesecloth with grains, making a lovely tea

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The process is closely guarded by the assistant brewmaster…

We decided to try out a new brew each time when we make beer, and brought this Spruce Beer back from Garrison Brewery in Halifax. Fun to try but I think we’ll pass on getting more bottles.

Pretty much what you think a boozy tree would taste like.

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Back to brewing: adding the malt extract to the grain “tea”

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Stirring in one of the three batches of hops

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Waiting for a brew is boring…

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Hops: so called because they look like rabbit pellets?

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Getting ready to put in the first fermenting bucket with lots more water

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Just before we added yeast and closed up the vessel.

Today, we opened the lid to see if we had the promised activity in the fermenter – we could guess that it worked by the bread/beer smell this afternoon. Sure enough, success!

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Next step tomorrow or Sunday will be to transfer the mixture to a glass fermenter for a serious batch of brewing…

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