I brewed my own beer this summer.
It wasn’t great.
When we lived in Tallahassee, we were good friends with Leslie and Keith. Keith is an experienced homebrewer, with quite a lot of expertise. So much so that he even brewed a beer for us to celebrate our wedding. I was pregnant at the time, but I think Dave was fairly certain that I would cut him if he drank all of the homebrew before I could have any. When it was time, it was delicious. Just a really great beer.
When we were in Tallahassee, we tried to get into home brewing, but it was hard. I was in grad school and Nico was young, and we were coaching. So, it didn’t really happen. Eventually, I got rid of all the home brew stuff.
But since I am trying to knock out the things I can off my list, I figured it was a good time to try again. So, I bought a new kit. And the stuff. And the materials. And gave it a go.
Truth be told, it wasn’t great.
The thing is, that I like crisp, light beers. My favorites include Old Style. Technically, I like pilseners, which are kind of a special class of lager (I think). This beer I made was, while light, kinda of tangy, which is a weird taste for a beer. I want beer that I can slug after mowing the lawn or playing soccer. This wasn’t refreshing like that. It is drinkable. But I’m not sure I would share it with a lot of people.
But it was a good learning process. I learned how to use a hydrometer, which is a tool for measuring the gravity of liquids.
I actually walked through all the steps of making the beer, and did it completely by myself, which was pretty cool. It was a bit of a shit show:
- I scalded the wort. I didn’t realize it was possible to do this. Essentially, I was using malted extract and poured the big can of syrupy thick stuff in the water and didn’t realize that it was so thick it would settle and scald. I ended up having to strain black burned bits out of the beer.
- Sanitizing and cleaning bottles is a beat down. I bought some bottles from the brew store, but also recycled a bunch, which involved soaking and peeling the labels off. Something I didn’t realize, is that among the pry-lid bottles, they are not the same size.
- I broke several bottles. I thought I wasn’t using the bottle capper right, but it turns out that there were several different sized bottles. So, I was putting the muscle on this bottles and they were just shredding in my hands. It was kind of annoying.
- Brewing beer is a messy endeavor. It really should be done outside- most kitchens are not well set up for it.
- Our place isn’t big enough.
The unfortunate thing about home brewing, is that I feel like you do a lot of work and can’t even be guaranteed a good beer. Which is annoying. So, when I plan to be out by the brew place, I plan to take a bottle of my beer and ask them why it tasted the way it did.
If it is a matter of the type of extract I used, that is an easy fix. I think I might try actually brewing with the hops next time. Take my game to the next level.