Monday, May 9, 2011


Before heading down the Pinehurst for the weekend for MW's birthday, we had a big task to complete:

Brewing our next beer!

This was our 6th brew, having already made: Walberry Wheat, Honey Nut Brown, Ginger Lemongrass Ale, Pumpkin Ale and a Holiday Spiced Ale. In my opinion, we keep getting better and better at brewing and I especially loved the Holiday Spiced Ale (pictured above). 
Next up: IPA 

MW is the Master Brewer, leaving my role as Sous-brew. He's the aficionado of brewing techniques and hops and all that. But I happily brew along with him, learning more each time. Since our kitchen is small we're limited to doing extract brews. Once we have more space we'd like to move on to a mini-mash. 

We order our beer kits from Austin Home Brew where they have tons of supplies and kits available. MW also got some supplies at City Beverage (which also has a great beer selection- that's where I finally found Dogfish Head's 90 Minute Ale). You can even find kits that are similar to your favorite type of beer. This IPA we're brewing now is similar to Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Nice and hoppy!

Once you pick your kit and sanitize everything, you're ready to go:

First you steep the grains in about 3 gallons of water for flavor and color. 
The grains are determined by the type of beer you're making

Once they're nice and steeped...

Bring it to a boil and add the extract

The extract contains the fermentable sugars 
(which are normally from the grains in an all-grain kit or partly in a mini-mash kit)

Then, Gus comes to help. 

After the extract, add in some hops for bittering and bring it to a boil. 

Add more hops after about half an hour of boiling for flavor.
Then you add more hops after the boil for aroma. 

Then you cool it all to a temperature that the yeast can handle
Syphon the mix into a brew bucket with cool water to bring the total volume to about 5 gallons. 
Once it's all transferred, add the yeast (the brew should be about 70 degrees by this point)

This yeast has a "smack pack" inside that, once popped, activates the yeast prior to using it. 
When the bag is inflated, you know it's working and ready. 
As you add the yeast, vigorously stir the beer to aerate it to help the fermentation process begin quickly. 

Then, you cap it off and add an airlock (the clear thing) filled with water.

The airlock will create a seal and bubbles when the yeast is active. 
Yeast is what eats the sugars in the beer and produces alcohol and CO2. 
This lets you know that the beer is fermenting and allows the gas to escape.

After it's all done, we pack it away in the back of a dark closet to ferment happily for about a week, before we transfer it to a secondary fermenter to clear up the beer and we'll dry hop it then for aroma. And about a week after that, we get to keg it. 

I'm always excited to have a new brew on tap!

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