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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Fine Art of Home Brewing {Honey Porter}

On Sunday, Jim decided to brew a batch of beer instead of doing yardwork.  The man has priorities. *smile*

We've brewed several batches of beer before.  I'd have to look back through my photos to come up with all of the styles, but to name a few, we've done two or three pale ales, a belgian that blew up in the bathtub, a red ale, and two or three IPAs (one of which Jim super hopped and it blew up in the bathtub).  So we're not new to this game, but we're definitely still in the beginner to intermediate ranks.

So far we have only brewed using kits with a small amount of malt and a tub of malt extract, with a few additives (such as the extra hops that blew up the IPA).  There are home brewers who invest a lot of money into their equipment and have a whole setup of mash tuns and fermentation tanks in their garage - this gives them the ability to brew all malt.  We aren't those home brewers (but one day I hope we can afford to be!).  We use pretty basic equipment: our kitchen stove, sanitizing solution, a large pot, a long thermometer, a long metal spoon, a glass carboy for primary fermentation, ice in the garage sink for the wort ice bath (instead of a wort chiller), a funnel for pouring the beer into the carboy, a rubber stopper with an airlock and tube into a water bottle for fermentation gas overflow, a corney keg (soda keg) for secondary fermentation, and a pump syphon for pumping beer into a corney keg.  We have a kegerator, which is just an old hand-me-down fridge that we got for free and converted into a kegerator by drilling a hole in the side for the CO2 line and a hole in the door for the tap.  Excellent!

Future upgrades we want: we want to get a crowner so we can bottle some batches in the future, and have been saving our large 22 ounce bottles from beer tastings for this purpose.  It saves us buying new bottles!  Also, I'd like to get a hydrometer and learn how to use it. 

Ok, on to the Honey Porter we brewed on Sunday.  Here is a photo of the brew kit specs:

We also added about 2 ounces of honey to the wort that the recipe did not call for.  We're hoping to get a nice honey undertone and some extra yeast partying with the extra honey sugars.

Steeping the grain is like making beer tea.  And it makes the house smell SO amazing!  That's almost the best part of home brewing right there.  The only downside (which isn't much of a downside) is that boiling all of that water fogs up the mirrors and windows in the whole house and sometimes sets off the smoke detectors. 

Here it is in all of its glory... in 4-6 weeks, I'll let you know how it comes out!



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