Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beauty Valley Blonde?

The thing about living in the country is this: you can buy a case of Bud Light or you can buy a case of Busch Light or you can spend $27.98 and buy a six-pack of a microbrew that really isn't a microbrew anymore because corporate greed took over. The beverage choices around these parts are less than glamorous. Now don't start thinking evil things about me: I'm not exactly prone to drinking on a daily basis. I just enjoy the unique flavors that only a specialty beverage can provide. So I decided, with some Danish Cowboy gift certificate assistance, to start brewing my own malt beverages.
There are entire stores devoted to the hobby. Under a law passed in the 1970s by President Jimmy Carter, home brewing of up to 100 gallons of wine or beer per year per adult was made legal. I tried the wine thing. Look up past posts for how that little ongoing debacle turned out. This time, I'm turning to home brewing with a beer kit formulated to create a blonde ale with perhaps a hint of peach flavoring. We're starting out light this time around: the face of Danish Cowboy when he sips a dark beer ("motor oil") is priceless and I want to introduce him to the delights of a quality beverage ever so slowly. The various proprietors of homebrewing equipment also offer oodles of different kits intended to make hundreds of different kinds of beer. You can make a generic version of a beer type or they even make "clone" kits which attempt to mimic the flavors of commercially produced brews (Hello Yuengling Porter!). For the more advanced, the possibilities are endless as you create your own recipes. In this case, I started off with steeping some crushed specialty grains in about 3 gallons of water.
As the water came to a boil on the stove, I remove the grains and added the hops and the liquid malt extract. A 60 minute boil was then required.
Since my kitchen is prone to boilovers and I am prone to whining when I have to clean up sticky messes, I had to stand by the stove for the entire hour. Thankfully I had purchased some interesting reading to get me started on this new little adventure that I am embarking on.
Post-boil, the "wort" (as the unfermented liquid is called) needed to be brought down to a temperature sufficiently low enough to allow for pitching my yeast without killing them. Note for the future: snow, no matter how cold it is, is an insulator. I would have been much better off just sitting the pot outside in negative 10 degree temperatures. Much. Better. Off. Also, much less sleepy the next morning.

I finally was able to add the last two gallons of water to it and bring it down to a reasonable yeastie temperature. The whole thing went into the fermenter, a lid with airlock was attached and I put it into my specially-equipped brewing room (i.e. basement) to ferment happily for three weeks. This all happened a week ago and I can bottle it in two more. Name suggestions for this blonde brew, please?

1 comment:

  1. Beauty Creek Blonde and I'll be arriving on the afternoon of May 28! Love you!