Posted by: Wayne | March 23, 2014

Beer, part 1

Maria and I have started a new hobby: fermentation.  So far, we successfully concocted some hard apple cider and pear wine last fall.  We decided to try beer this time.  Unlike the first two attempts, we used a kit this time (MUCH easier than starting with raw grains; also a higher likelihood of success).

The process started simply, with a BIG kettle of water


After bringing about 3 gallons of water to a boil, we added about a half-gallon of grain extract (similar consistency to honey).  Unfortunately, there were not enough hands for pictures of that stage.  Then the concoction was brought back to a boil and kept there for about 45 minutes

Fun for the whole family

After boiling finished, we cooled it down in some cold water

Then we siphoned the lot into a bucket

And added water to get to 5 gallons

The wort ready to receive the yeast

The yeast came in a nice thin package.  Before use, you smack it to rupture an inner bag

After this, the package starts to swell

Until it is ready to add

Time to pitch the yeast (add it to the wort), giving this lovely creature

Finally, add a lid and top with an airlock (to let gasses out, but not let bacteria in)

Remember, the Vessel with the Pestle has the Brew that is True (with apologies to Danny Kaye)



  1. Yay! Brewing! We just bottled our 32 brew! We have found it so helpful to keep a brew journal, I jot down all the dates, the gravity readings, what brand kit we used, and then tasting notes. We have a Belgian Stout, a Chocolate Milk Stout, a Cherry Wheat, a German Light, and a Kolsch all bottle conditioning. I know it sounds like a lot, but we share. My brothers come and we get together twice a month to brew, bottle, and visit. We just did our first mead, a “short” mead. We have not tackled a long mead. The short mead was lovely, and so easy, it looked rather elegant in wine bottles. Doug made his own wort chiller for a fraction of what they sell at the brew stores and boy does it cut down on the chill time. Sometimes we have not been careful and almost got the wort too chilled. Brewing has brought us a lot of enjoyment. We each have our favorites, right now the current darling of the bunch is the Honey Bee Ale, so light and fresh. People who say they don’t like beer, like the honey bee ale. I don’t think we will ever venture into all grain brewing, we are still having fun with all the different kits, some stores will make your kits for you from all fresh ingredients – so we are good with kits. The all grain means more equipment, and right now, it is all rather manageable.

    Much, much love to each of you. Happy Brewing!

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