I asked my husband a few weeks ago if he wouldn’t mind guest blogging about one of his new hobbies. He agree and so here is his entry on brewing (although it is written as if I wrote the entry I did not, as you can tell he had fun writing about his hobby from my perspective). Enjoy!
With the price of absolutely everything rising these days, I thought I’d share with you all one way to save a little money and pick up a wonderful new hobby all at the same time.
About a year ago, my darling, dashing, and devastatingly handsome husband (who may or may not be the author of this particular piece) began this new pastime by brewing a batch of autumn amber ale. Since then he has brewed a variety of different ales. With summer in Kentucky only a few short weeks away, he has an extra hoppy IPA sitting in the fermenter allowing the yeast to perform their magic. I knew he’d find a use for that chemistry minor!
The beer-making process takes at least four weeks, with brewing and bottling periods lasting a couple hours each. Brewing is actually quite simple. Crushed grains are steeped in 2 gallons of water (like a giant bag of tea); from there malt-extract is added, followed by hops. After boiling for an hour, it is quickly cooled, and added to a bucket of water. Now he adds the yeast, seals on the lid, and the five-gallon batch of young beer sits in a closet for a handful of weeks. On bottling day, sugar is added, the slightly more matured beer is bottled, and these filled and sealed bottles sit for at least another two weeks to finish fermenting and to carbonate (thanks to the sugar).
Daniel has found that there are three keys to this process. First, as every brewers guide says, is sanitation. If there are any bacterial contaminants in the beer, it goes skunky and is ruined. Thus anything that even goes near the beer must be cleaned and sanitized in a bleach bath. Second, follow directions. It is because of this that he has yet to make any rookie mistakes of brewing (*knocks on wood*). Finally, he also manages to avoid common mistakes because he is patient. The beer-making process takes time, but in the end, it is worth it.
The initial startup cost for equipment was about $150, with smaller purchases here and there; ingredient kits run close to $40. But, when one considers that each batch makes a whopping five gallons of tasty beer, it is worth it. (All of his materials and ingredients have come from Midwest Supplies out of Minnesota.) The rule of thumb is that homebrew costs about one-third of store bought (after a couple of batches have been made to offset the startup cost) and in our experience, it tastes better too!
So, when you come to see us in Kentucky, be sure stop by and sample the latest creation from the Murray brewery. Happy brewing!