In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day I took a trip across the street to an apartment shared by an Irishman and a Scotsman, and brewed some beer.
–well, I took a lot of pictures and asked a million questions like, “So, what is it you are doing now?” while THEY were brewing some beer.
What started out as a large bag of grains (which looked like horse food), a smaller bag of hops (which looked rather like turtle food), some yeast (which didn’t look like food at all) and a lot of water, became, in a few short hours, the beginnings of beer.
First thing, they filled a giant pot with water and heated it to 160*F, which took quite a few minutes to heat considering the quantity of water. (While the pot was heating, we ordered some pizza and got some more purified water from the store down the road, sat and talked a bit, stared at the pot…
Then they added the bag of grain, mixing it with the hot water in a bright orange igloo container. They allowed the temperature to cool down to 152* and placed the lid onto the container for twenty minutes to maintain the temperature.
And yes, the giant spoon is a beer making essential!
The grainy water was then boiled, and 1oz of hops was added to the mixture.
They kept a detailed log of the process, noting the time of boil in a leather beer journal.
The water was boiled, more hops were added, boil, hops, boil, hops, boil…
and then some crazy things with a tube that are apparently essential to the beer making process….
Then the brew was cooled, water was added. The yeast packet, which was flat when we first started the beer making process, had expanded like a balloon. Apparently that means it was ready to be added to the beer.
The little yeasty boys went to work, consuming sugars and making beer. We, however, passed out. It was two in the morning by the time the brew was secure in the closet, where it would stay for two weeks before it could be bottled.
Two weeks later, the India Pale Ale emerged from the closet (well after St. Patrick’s Day) and due to its citrusy zing (which apparently surfaced images of nuclear bombs popping on the tongue) was named Oppenheimer Ale.
Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day.