Monday, November 26, 2007

Brew Day Number One

Ryan has officially begun brewing his own beer. We won't know for a few weeks if it's drinkable or not, but we're excited nonetheless. Ryan says as long as it doesn't taste like band aids, he'll be happy.

Ryan and his friend Matt had gone to a place in Indy called Great Fermentations a few weeks ago to talk to someone about getting started. They bought a few supplies, and Ryan started reading a home brew book. Yesterday afternoon, they both went to a brewing class and came home extremely motivated to get started. The process seemed to go very well overall. They ran across a few questions as they were doing everything, but most of what they needed to know was in the book, so they referred back to it a few times.

The house smelled really weird. Kinda like fresh bread, but not as good. I guess that's from the yeast they were using. It was cool to watch the yeast after they mixed it. It seemed like there were a million steps involved, but the guys seemed to think it was pretty easy. They started out with an IPA, which is a pale ale. Even though I don't like beer, I will try this when it is ready. Eventually, I would like to start making my own wine. I think I'll let Ryan perfect his craft first, and then he'll be able to help me quite a bit with the wine.

Of course, I took some pictures of the process. Let's see if I can remember what's going on in these.............This is the turkey fryer I got out of this whole deal. The guys needed a five gallon pot with a spout to drain liquid from the bottom, so we went to Rural King and bought a turkey fryer the other day.The process begins with sterilized water that has had to sit in a closed and vacuum sealed container for at least 24 hours. Ryan is stirring in some of the first ingredients here. This makes what is called the wort. The wort is basically the malt and hops mixed with water before it ferments.
Not sure what he's doing here. Everything has to be extremely clean for the beer to turn out right, so our kitchen smelled like alcohol and bleach from all the cleaning we had done.These are the hops that Ryan is smelling. I personally think they stink, and they burn my nose, but Ryan thinks they smell delicious.This is one of the exciting parts, when you get to add the hops. It's common to have a "boil-over" when this happens, but the guys got lucky for their first try, and it never overflowed on them.Matt did an excellent job keeping an eye on the wort as they got it ready on the stove. It is never supposed to boil, but you want to keep the temperature as high as possible, so they had to watch it very closely.After the wort is finished on the stove, it has to be cooled down to a certain temperature before you can tranfer it and add the yeast. In order to cool it down quickly, the guys put the turkey fryer in the tub full of cold water. Ryan bought a digital cooking thermometer to make it easy on himself.This is the wort colling off in the tub.The garage has now become our little brewery. After the wort cooled off enough, it had to be transferred to the container that had the sterilized and vaccum sealed water in it. This bucket has some kind of valve on the top if it that allows carbon dioxide to escape as the water sits. That helps the fermentation process somehow, and keeps everything fresh.This is Ryan adding the yeast to the wort and water in the garage. It is starting to smell like a brewery in there.Here, Ryan and Matt are shuffling through supplies in the garage preparing for the next night of work. That will take place in two weeks.
In two weeks, after the wort has fermented with the yeast, the beer will then be transferred into a large glass bottle to collect any sediment that might be hanging on. After the glass bottle, they will transfer it a second time to this plastic bucket. This bucket has a spout on the bottom to fill the actual beer bottle with. So, they should have enough to fill 48 bottles in a couple weeks.

After the beer is transferred to the bottles, it has to remain untouched for another two weeks. I'm not sure what happens during this time. Ryan hasn't explained that part to me yet. The guys are going to call their beer "Wammer Ale." That's where they came up with this crazy "W" thing they're doing with their hands......crazy kids!!!At the end of the night, the guys celebrated with a big high five!!! Success.......so far.................

10 comments:

Andrea said...

They say you have to "acquire" a taste for beer...hey I never had to WORK at liking chocolate!!

Good for Ryan! Who knows where this could lead! Maybe one day he'll own his own brewery!

Have you ever been to Bsrley Island Brewery in Noblesville - it's not far from home and might be a good learning experience for the brewmeisters!

s-hooks said...

Hey, thanks for the brewing lesson--dang, it looks like more work than I thought was involved!!

I love the last picture of them "high fiving"

Be sure to let us know how it goes!!

KellyAnn said...

eewwwww....... I'm sure they'll love it though.

alli-gal said...

Ryan has been to Barley Island a few times. He loves all those weird beers. I think it'll take me awhile to aquire a taste for beer...but who knows, maybe one of these days.

I found out what happens after he tranfers it to the bottles in two weeks.
He will add some type of sugar when he tranfers it to the bottles, and that will cause the natural carbonation. YOu want that to sit for at least ten days before you drink it.

He's really nervous...it's cute!!

Bitzky77 said...

Why don't you have him hook up a nice chocolate stout for the winter time? Maybe he could brew cousin John a nice amber ale for when he gets home for Xmas? Anyway, it does take a while to acquire a taste for beer....believe me, I know. Be careful though because good beer can make you grow outward. I'm fighting it every day.

Oh, y'all the best breweries in IN are Upland, Lafayette Brew Co, and Bloomington Brew Co. FYI.

alli-gal said...

Ryan would probably love to brew a chocolate stout, but I think it'll be at least a few weeks before he brews anything else.

This is actually an English ale.....I have no idea where I got the idea that it was a pale ale. I should've known better from just seeing it.

alli-gal said...

Bitzky77, we may have some of his English ale to sample at christmas. We will unveil the bottles on my Dad's birthday, December 22nd.

Andrea said...

Since you'll unveil it on your dad's birthday, it should be called Jack's English Ale or something like that....or maybe you could make a different on in tribute to your dad.

alli-gal said...

Ryan already had his first batch named before we realized it would be Dad's birthday, but I do think it would be cool to do a tribute beer to Dad.

Hmmmmm.......need to start brain storming now.......

Andrea said...

How about these for your dad's beer name...

Countryside Brew
A Ride in the Sticks
Gazin' down the Tracks