Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year Brew

Well as the title shows it is New Years Day, Happy New Year everyone, but the Title is also a bit misleading. I had the Crazy Irishman over this last weekend to brew up a fine batch of Coffee Stout. Now this sounds easy but to be honest, this is the first time I have brewed my own batch of beer. I tend to research everything that I want to try to the extreme, so this being no different I hit the Internet weeks ago and read everything that I could find about making my own beer. Now the Irishman is a bit different. He tends to like the trial by error approach (the gods truly love the Irish to have them all survive this technique) and as he had already brewed a couple of batches of beer with excellent results I called for his help. So off we go to the local home brew store. I had found a recipe for a part grain, part extract brew that I wanted to try. The one thing that I suggest to every first timer, talk to the shop owner. I did and after talking to the owner I found that I really wanted to modify the recipe to make the stout that I was going to attempt fit more to what I was looking for in taste. With ingredients in hand, we headed to the kitchen to start the brew. For those that are reading this and know what they are doing I will state that we did clean, sanitize and boil everything before the cooking started. Now being the fine Celts that we are we decided that making beer required us to first pour a glass of single malt scotch. Today we started out with a bottle of Aberlour 16yo Sherry cask. Wonderful scotch. Now we get all the grains that we got in the bag and put them in the water and bring it up to 150 degrees and cook for 30 min. Now 30 min is just about the right time to enjoy the glass of scotch so who needs a timer. Once the scotch was completed, we took the bag of grains out, washed the grains and brought to a boil. Once we reached boiling we poured in the liquid extract. This is some sticky stuff I am telling you. Ok, malt in we return the wort ( that is what we are making by the way) to a rolling boil and add the first batch of hops, set the timer for 1 hour, pour the next scotch, this time a 12 yo Tullibardin, and wait. The house now smells like a fine loaf of bread. Fast forward an hour, now time to cool the wort. This we did by setting the whole pan in a ice water bath. Now they do make fancy cooling coils that you can use but this being my first attempt and poor to boot, I just did the old tried and true bath method. after 20 min of cooling we have reached the right temp for the yeast so we pour the wort in the bucket, add water to 5 gal, add the yeast and stir. Then we capped it, set up the air lock and placed in the basement. This is where I explain why the title is misleading. This beer, as good as it tasted now, will not be ready to drink till probably St. Patty day. Sad but that is the way of beer making. So in the mean time, we will continue with drinking scotch, store bought beers and looking forward to the day that we can see what the fruit of our scotch laden labors taste like. Cheers.

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