Friday, December 5, 2008

first brew, part 1

As I was organizing some recipe clippings after Thanksgiving I happened across a document I'd printed years ago: How to Brew Beer in a Coffee Pot. It was Friday, I had the day off, and it sounded like a great project. Plus, it was a use for that old Braun that I hadn't used for years. I wrote down the ingredients, leapt into the car, and tore down to the closest homebrew shop, The Cellar. All I needed was malted barley, hop pellets, and yeast in order to make about two quarts of beer.

I used my autocross training to successfully navigate the gigantic pothole outside the shop but was less successful inside. So many choices! So many cones! Confused, instead of the barley I bought liquid malt extract. Two and a half pounds of it. Apparently, I was 1) completely ignorant of how to make beer, and 2) prone to constructing shopping lists stupidly.

Back at home I picked up the directions again and immediately realized that I would not be making coffee pot beer after all. I stomped around for a bit and then remembered that many years ago my brother gave me The Beer Machine. I have never used it, partly because the last time I thought about it I didn't have refrigerator space, partly because I thought the sanitizing instructions were pretty terrifying, and partly because it came with a package of light golden lager or something else I didn't want to drink. But could I make it work with what I now had?

I began googling for basic homebrew information. I scanned many pages and eventually found what I was looking for at Simplest Homemade Beer, which did indeed describe a far simpler process than anything else I had seen. And it looked like I could adapt my ingredients for use in the machine (which normally uses dry malt rather than liquid) thanks to a bit of assistance from this Brewing Formulas page. I wouldn't have to bottle at all, since the machine is essentially a little keg with its own CO2 and dispensing system. Sweet! I gathered up my gear and headed for the kitchen.

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