Brewin’ up a Storm

Rebecca and I started brewing beer. Years ago (2012) I started brewing beer with my friend Alex. I gave it up when I moved to South Korea since my apartment was so small. However, since back to America, I started brewing beer again, and Rebecca was happy to join in.

 

It’s a lot easier to get into brewing beer now. I remember four years ago having to scavenge on Craigslist for equipment. This time around I just went on Amazon and found a basic kit from Northern Brewer for $99, including a recipe for a beer (~$40 value). Our first beer was the White House Honey Ale. We spent a Saturday morning and afternoon brewing the beer. Once the active steps were done, we transferred the beer to a carboy to ferment for the next 2 weeks. Extract beer brewing (the sort that you can buy all-in-one recipe kits for) is pretty easy to do. Essentially it’s some variation on:

  1. bring 2 gallons of water to a boil
  2. put grain (look like oatmeal) into a cheesecloth
  3. steep in boiling water
  4. add malt extract (looks like honey)
  5. stir, add hops
  6. add enough water to bring total size to 5 gallons
  7. leave to cool
  8. transfer to a big white bucket
  9. leave to sit for 2 weeks
  10. bottle it

It can become a lot more complicated than this, and it often is, for example, there are usually specific amounts of time for many of these steps. An IPA might require adding hops in 15-minute increments for an hour. Sometimes you may also let the beer ferment an additional two weeks with some additional ingredients added to it. This second two weeks is referred to as a secondary fermentation. Coffee beers or anything with fruit in the name usually means it had a secondary fermentation with coffee or fruit added to it.

Following that beer, we also made a brown ale, a grapefruit IPA, and a Saison. The grapefruit IPA won second place at a beer brewing competition in Ridgefield, CT. The competition was judged¬†by 2 brewmasters from Two Roads Brewery in Connecticut. The second place finisher didn’t get a trophy, but Rebecca’s dad had a trophy made for us online, which was awesome!

Rebecca and I at the beer competition