The Homebrew Experience

Kris has a friend who has offered to let us apprentice his brewing expertise in hopes of perhaps brewing our own beer for the wedding–how awesome would that be? So we headed out to his house out in the boondocks (Palamino Valley, approximately 1 hour from our house…we learned as we arrived 30 minutes late at least). He and his wife bought their house through Kris and the three of them really hit it off, they and their friends we met were really really fun people to spend the day with. Here is their property.

Unfortunately, the house Kris sold them doesn’t have a garage, so they have these cargo containers on their property. Did I mention they have 40 acres?

I cleverly cut off the rest of the word and just kept the green, in honor of my sister, the Green. Anyway, so after a little bit of hanging out, we got started on the brewing. Mitch had all the stuff in terms of supplies, an outdoor propane burner, the big stainless steel pots, large buckets, mesh bags, iodine, yeast, and other stuff I am forgetting. The stuff he told us to buy was some actual brewing product (the guy at the homebrew store gave us supplies for an amber beer with a vague recipe) and a carboy (the large glass container you let the fermentation take place in). So first, we had to boil some water. There was a lot of anticipation so this seemed to take forever.

The grain was in the bag, inside of the bucket. We poured the boiling water into the bucket and let all the grains soak for about an hour or so.

In a separate container, we boiled another pot of water, and this was for us…for our brew recipe we had. We had a malt extract, it was a large jar of molasses-type stuff. We poured it into the pot while it was boiling. Side note, if you are ever doing this at home kids, do not fill the jar half way with water, put the lid on and shake. We did this in an effort to get the thick stuff off the sides of the container but after two shakes, it exploded and those with exposed skin were scalded. It made us laugh but two people actually got a little burned. No bueno. #liveandlearn

We mixed in the malt and then added our little bag of hops. It looked like a little bag of rabbit food.

This had to boil for another hour. So it was around now, that I should have realized that even though it was not hot out, I was not immune to the sun. But I didn’t and as I write this, I feel my sun burn. I only bring this up because the brewing was a long process that kept us outside but it wasn’t want I was expecting and therefore didn’t think about my skin. We did some hanging out, some eating, and some laughing. Good times were had.

After the hour passed, it started to bubble over, it looked a little disgusting but smelled great!

So this is where the hops ended up…atop the pot.

So this is the critical time, we get the hot liquid cooled down, then we can add the yeast and seal it up and let it wait for a few weeks. What the liquid i pouring down into is the carboy. I don’t know why it’s called a carboy (shrug).

Well, this is where things went south. We loaded the heavy and hot carboy onto a hand truck and wheeled it carefully down to the bathtub in the house. Upon putting it into the cold water of the bathtub, the glass shattered! There went our beer.

By this point in the day and several beers in, none of us really got mad or frustrated, we just sort of went with it. I liked that about this group of people. I think Mitch felt really bad, but we certainly didn’t care, I mean, it was a bummer, but we had had an awesome day leading up to this point and figured the next time, we wouldn’t let this happen again. That was our lesson of the day. The hot water and the cold water got in a fight, and the poor carboy didn’t stand a chance. At least now, we have a much better idea of what is involved with home brewing. It definitely isn’t a job for your kitchen. It is much better taken care of in a garage or back yard. We look forward to round two of Palamino Brew.


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