Homebrewing 101

I love making beer.  I have been home brewing beer for going on 8 years.  And it never gets old for me.

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Making beer at home is incredibly easy.  You only need a few things.  But like every recipe out there you can make it as simple

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Or as intricate as you want.

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I, of course, prefer the simple side.  I figure that if my ancestors could make drinkable beer without all the toys and geegaws that you can add to the process these days, I can also.  And that is what I do.  Which makes some of my brewing friends crazy…but more on that later.

To make beer all you really need is grain, water, hops, yeast, something to heat it all up, and then something to put it in to let the fermentation process take place.

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The beauty of brewing your own beer is that you can make it taste the way you want.  Not the way that a big business tells you it should taste.  I have always like the heavier beers with more ABV.  My favorite has always been my Imperial Red, with my Coffee Stout as its runner up.

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I have had the opportunity to help some of my friends learn how to brew along the way.  There is no better way to spend an afternoon than with a friend or two brewing up a batch of wonderful smelling beer.  Standing around with a couple of cigars, and of course a good homebrew or two just to keep things in perspective.

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Which leads me to the real reason behind this post.  Even though I have been brewing for the number of years I have….if you are a OCD type brewer…one who likes to know exactly what temp to put in your malt, or your hops, etc then I am probably going to make you nuts.  I tend to brew in the method of…..yep, that water looks hot enough…toss in the malt.  Yeah, I think that it has been 45 minutes…toss in those hops…oh crap I forgot to put in the bittering hops…oh well.  Screw it.  Toss ‘em in now, it won’t hurt anything.

Yeah.  That kind of brewer.

I got a call last night from a friend wanting to know if I wanted to come help him brew today.  Hell yes, I want to come help you brew!  What a stupid question.  So off I headed this morning with a pocket full of cigars and a song in my heart.

Now, my friend is a particular kind of brewer.  He hasn’t been doing it for more than a few years.  He keeps meticulous records of his brews.  He wants to know the temp, and time of everything.  But he does tend to forget things….especially considering the number of beer he is on at the time.  He got talking while we were waiting for the water to initially heat up.  I was standing by the brew pot, saw the water starting to boil so I tossed in the malt.  I thought he was going to swallow his teeth.

“What is the Temp of the water?”

“Hell if I know.  It is starting to boil a tad, must be around 200.”

“What does the thermometer say,” he growled?

“Did you calibrate it?”, I shot back.

That stopped him in his tracks.  And set the tone for the rest of the boil.  I tossed stuff into the pot, and he just kept moaning that this was going to be the worst brew that he has ever done.

Whiner.

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Everyone who likes beer should try making their own at home.  I can’t stress that enough.  You get to find out what goes into making good beer, you educate your palate (because the crap you drink from Bud, Miller, and Coors is not real beer.  Especially that Lite crap), and you tune yourself into history.  Beer has been around for thousands of years.  It is easy to make.  It is fun to make.  And I will even come over to help you make it.

As long as you don’t make me keep track of the water temperature, or the time of the boil.  That crap makes me crazy.

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