Sunday, February 22, 2009

Homebrew - Preparing for a Lifelong Hobby

I talk about beer a lot. But it’s all talk – with a bit of drinking thrown in for good measure.

At long last, it’s time to put my money where my mouth, throat, stomach, and bladder are. Money will be going where the beer normally goes, so to speak. Especially during these times of economic uncertainty - when one never knows what the value of a dollar will be tomorrow – we must find other sources of stability, and of comfort.

Buy gold. That’s my advice to you. And stock your pantry with Tamiflu, spare ammunition, and plenty of Chunky soup - to prepare for any sort of potential catastrophe, whether it be economic, biological, or otherworldly. Just make sure your ass is covered.

But if you fail to do any of the above, just please heed my final piece of advice. Learn to brew your own beer. In these tough times, it’s as good as liquid gold. And far more digestible. And much less hot. And less shiny. But beer conducts electricity okay. But the similarities really end there.

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’m going to brew my own beer. The beer-making kit will be a birthday present from Jaimi – and it’s one that she’ll very likely regret buying. It’s messy and smelly. The fermenting chambers, and bottles take up a lot of space. And the final product makes people drunk and stupid – when handled irresponsibly. Also, the bottles could explode, the fermenter could burst. The beer could turn out bad, which might cause me to cry.

I don’t think Jaimi would want to see me cry.

So there are a lot of potential dangers associated with beer-making. That’s why I need to prepare carefully, and read all the proper procedures and best practices. For example, you should not dunk your hand into the boiling wort Wait until it cools to room temperature, and at that point also do not dunk your hand into it.

A typical homebrew set-up, which Jaimi doesn't realize will soon be taking up half of our living room. It will also smell really bad, and be potentially explosive.

A typical batch makes about 5 gallons of beer, or around two cases of 12 ounce bottles. That’s 48 beers. Be careful not to drink them all at once. That could make you very drunk, and worse, you might be too drunk to remember to turn the lights off before going to sleep – which will waste energy and thus add to our global warming problem.

So yes, brewing your own beer could make sea levels rise, and kill the polar bears. Brew with extreme caution.

But seriously, I’m a little uncomfortable with the concept of brewing up a big mess of beer, only to discover several weeks later that it’s nearly undrinkable. I probably wouldn’t actually cry, but I’m afraid that I’d convince myself that the bad beer WAS actually drinkable, and end up making myself very, very sick after only a dozen or so bottles.

Of course, as I enter the wonderful world of home brewing, I’ll take you along for what promises to be a wild adventure. A smelly, yeasty, malty, hoppy, intoxicating ride. So grab your floating thermometers and hop into my 5 gallon stainless steel brew kettle for a trip to Beerland. When the temperature reaches 200 degrees, it’s time to add the hops – and to get the hell out of the kettle unless you want to be boiled alive.

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1 comment:

JG said...

inquiring minds would like to know if you can brew root beer with a beer kit. THEN i'll be excited about this endeavor.