Yesterday, Matt and I spent the day with our very own beer Yoda, our friend Bill. Bill has been brewing beer for many years with varied levels of success. So we joined him and his wife Susan for a day of beer making.
We arrived at their house about 11am and then headed out right away to a beer store in Lilburn GA. I had intended to get some supplies myself but because of this past week's winter weather event, they hadn't had any recent deliveries. In fact, they didn't have the precise ingredients for the beer that Bill wanted to brew. So I learned my first lesson in beer brewing - be flexible. He wanted to do a wheat beer he had done before and really focus on that for the next several batches he would make to perfect it. They didn't have the exact wheat beer so he chose another type that seemed like it would be a good fit. It required additional malt which he purchased as well. However, one key ingredient to Bill's "Wheaton Wheat" was an apricot extract so we discussed with the owners (a husband and wife team) about what some alternatives would be and she suggested we go down to an international market just down the street and get some apricot nectar. We were super excited about these ingredients and believe they will make an excellent apricot wheat. We returned to their house and began the process.
The first step we learned was to make sure the work space was clean and sterile. Bill recommended a product called B Bright. We cleaned all the equipment and all the surfaces in the kitchen. He also showed us some additional equipment like the bottle washer attachment that seems invaluable.
Once the work surface was clean, we placed the can of malt syrup in hot water to make it easier to work with. We also filled the 16 quart stainless pot with about 8 quarts of filtered water and set it on the stove to boil.
Dogfish Head Brewery's series featuring 60, 90 and 120 minute IPAs.
We then added the additional malts and stirred the mixture until there were no clumps.
hydrometer to measure the specific gravity. Once we had those figured recorded in the trusty brewer's journal we added the yeast. Of course when brewing you need to use specific brewers yeast not bread or any other type of yeast because brewer's yeast can handle the alcohol. It does all the magic by eating the sugar and fermenting it.
After the beer brewing event, we went up to a local bar called the Brick Store. It is known for a great selection of Belgian Style and American Craft Brew Beers. Bill and Susan's nephew and niece-in-law joined us at the bar and we really enjoyed meeting them and had some great conversations.
Today, Matt and I are going to put together a list of things I need to start home brewing and then walk up to a local beer store to see what they have and buy what we can there and order the rest on line tonight.
Next week, we will be in Asheville for their Winter Warmer Beer Festival. I plan to write about our experience there as well. The weekend after that, though, I will start my first batch of home brewed beer. I can do this.