Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thomas Home Brewery

MMMMMHHH Beer that I made.
No, It's not a new local brewery or brewpub, it's my own home brew. As a beer connoisseur one thing you learn that its fairly reasonable cost and time wise to make your own beer. Plus, if your wife (or husband) wants you to find some hobby, what better thing to do than make your own beer. Other than initial cost, beer supplies are cheap per bottle, you can make more beer for less money than buying the same amount of micro brew. I'm going to stop talking about how this is the best hobby in the world (we rent, so I can't do the other hobby on my bucket list...build a  Aston Martin DB5 the coolest Bond Car ever!) and get to the beer I made.
Look at my Father-in-Law teaching me how to read a bag of hops

Thomas IPA, I haven't come up with a creative name yet, so that is what I am calling it for now. This is by far the best beer I have ever made. So today I am going to give an overview of the process, so that in the future I can focus more on the ingredients. So are you ready to learn how to brew, lets take a look.

The first thing that you need to do other than have the right equipment. I got most of my stuff for Christmas from my family. here is a list of Equipment list that you will need

Here are some of the things you need...
True Brew Handbook & Kit Instructions, 
7.8 Gallon Fermenting Bucket, 
1 Lid Drilled & Grommet, 
True Brew Rack & Fill kit,
5 Gallon Glass Carboy, 
Fermometer Fermentation Thermometer, 
Small Buon Vino Drilled Stopper, 
Bottling Spigot, 
Emily Double Lever Capper,
3 Piece Airlock, 
Bottle Brush,
...here is the rest.
C-Brite Sanitizer 8-Pack
3 Gallon Boiling Pot
Metal Spoon

The most important thing you need to do is keep a sanitation station. You need to stay sanitized, no matter what happens you do not want to enter harmful things into your beer.
Smart thing...prepare hop bags ahead of time

On this day I can say I have read books and watched videos but I can say I have learned best by doing and my father in law is the one I have learned from. He is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to home brewing since he has been doing it for 20+ years. So with a watchful eye I began to brew for the first time with my own equipment.

"NO!, This is how you stir!
To begin you need to take the boiling pot and boil two gallons of good water. With water as one of the main ingredients to beer, you want to make sure you have good water. I would suggest if your not sure do a water test or doing what I do, buy spring water from the grocery store. 
You know if you add milk you could eat this for breakfast as cereal

My Arm is going to fall off!
Once the water is boiling you add your malt extract, I prefer the dry kind myself. The extract is the easiest to work with as you learn to brew on your own. 

Note: Watch out for Walt pouring the boil
Do you smell what the Mike is a cookin?
Two things to note, this boils up fast and if you add some pennies (sanitized of course) to the boil it helps the malt from boiling over. You do not want a boil over, its sticky, its messy and you'll make less beer. You also want to be constantly stirring, adding the malt slowly and stirring, this too also helps the boil. Once you have achieved a steady boil add your first bag of hops. This will be in the boil for around an hour. You will continue to stir every so often that you continue to keep the malt from boiling. The closer you get to be the end of the hour with around 5 to 10 minutes left, you add a second bag of hops. This bag will be more for the nose and a little of the bittering to the beer. Once your hour is up, take your boil off of the heat and add the last bag of hops again for nose. 

Once all three bags are added to boil then you want to prepare your carboy to receive the boil. First you need to add 3 gallons of water to the carboy. Then prepare the funnel to receive the wort, then pour into the car boy. Make sure you cap it with the airlock. Once in you need to cool it down. There are many ways to do it, because of equipment (or lack of) I placed the carboy in a plastic bin with ice and water. Depending on how much water and ice you use will affect how fast it cools. Once you get the almost beer to the temperature the yeast calls for then you slowly add it in. Place the airlock back on and find a cool place for the beer to sit for a couple of weeks. 
If you don't hold it down, then the hops go into the carboy

Once thing you noticed is that I haven't used a hydrometer, quite frankly I have not learned how to us it. Its something that I will look to learn how to use at a later date. 

While the beer is sitting and fermenting for its two weeks you can add dry hops at any point, wisdom points to seven to five days before bottling. I added it six days myself. The dry hops add another layer of flavor.

Look at the bubbles
When you are ready to bottle, you get your food grade plastic bucket ready for receiving the beer from the carboy. One thing you will need to do is prepare the priming sugar. Boil 3/4 of priming sugar with two cups of water, once mixed together pour it into the bucket. The set the carboy on the counter and the bucket on the floor so that you can use gravity to remove the beer from the car boy. You want to make sure your not sloshing the beer or creating a splashing into the bucket which changes the composition of the beer. Once all the beer is in the bucket, then you move the car boy and place the bucket up high and use the bottling tubes to fill your bottles and cap them. Once again you need to wait between two and three weeks, once done thou go and enjoy your own brew.

For my beer I used:

Briess Dried Malt Extract Golden Light
1st Boil 1 1/2 oz Chinook Hops
2nd Boil 1 oz Citra, 1/2 oz of Chinook
3rd Boil 1 oz Citra
Yeast Safale S-05

Dry Hops: 1 oz Citra

Bottling: Priming Sugar

The beer it's self was very hoppy, more of a west coast style, well balanced, nice golden color. I actually entered it into a home brewers contest that Table and Vine is doing and I'll know Friday if I won. One of the brewers from Sam Adams is a judge. I found out today that I am a finalist, there is a good chance I could be a winner on Friday, I'm soo excited!!!!!!

Also, I have yet to come up with a name, If you've got an idea for a name I want to hear it...and if you live close by you can even get one of your own.

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1 comment:

  1. So I finished in 2nd place by two tenths. I still one a really nice tasting kit and an envite to a Special Beer dinner with Jim Koch, the owner of Samuel Adams. Great time all around.