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Monday, June 27, 2011

Homemade Beer!

It was 4 or 5 years ago that my sister bought me a "Mr. Beer Home Brewery Kit". I was in college...and she understood that guys in college enjoy beer, so it was a good gift. The problem was that I was probably too busy drinking 'already made beer' to spend the time to make my own. I thought it would be a labor intensive process to get it going, and living in a dirty apartment with multiple guys, I figured I'd screw it up...so the Mr. Beer kit made it's way to my parents garage, where it sat for years.

When visiting my parents I saw it, and decided it would be entertaining and fun to actually try it out. The box was dirty and covered with cobwebs. I pulled out the contents inside. 4 or 5 years in a garage, exposed to the elements, as well as the expiration date of the beer materials of 2009...made me realize that I needed to get a new 'refill' to start fresh. I figured the beer would turn out pretty awful if I tried to brew it.

Since nobody around here sells the Mr. Beer refills I turned to amazon, and ordered the "Whispering Wheat Weizenbier" I love wheat beer, and have heard it's one of the easiest to make and have it turn out good. It showed up in a couple business days, and I got right to work.


Beer requires absolute sanitary conditions. Any rogue 'microbes/germs' or any off/foreign substances can ruin a batch of beer, making it taste awful. This must be what happens at the "Lacrosse Light" brewery every time.

Worst beer in existence



Since everything must be clean. You start the process by sanitizing the keg and all the utensils you'll be needing. The kit and refills come with a great cleanser that you slosh around inside the keg, let it sit for a few minutes, and then slosh again. It's important to run a little through the spigot to make sure that's clean too.


Once you have everything cleaned you're ready to start brewing. The first step is to have the keg ready, filled with cold water, because shortly you'll be pouring in near boiling water/mixture. Before you boil anything you start by mixing in the 'booster' to a pot of water. This will help boost the overall flavor and alcohol of the beer. Once it's all dissolved, the mixture is brought to a boil, and then removed from heat.


While the mix is still warm the can of beer flavoring is poured in and mixed. This is thoroughly mixed, and then poured into the keg.
 


Once it's in the keg, you fill it up to the line with cool water. Add the brewing yeast. Wait 5 minutes and stir aggressively...Then put that aggression away for 2 weeks along with the keg, let it do it's thing. I stored my keg on a rack in my closet. It's important that it's away from any direct sunlight, and at a fairly steady temperature. During the brewing/fermenting stage you can add things like orange for example to enhance the flavors. Since this is my first time, I didn't want to screw anything up. If this turns out alright, will have to try experimenting a little more.
Just have to wait...watching paint dry is fun!
The next step is bottling the beer, which will come once it's brewed for around 2 weeks. I've been saving brown bottles from beer, and am going to sanitize them all in boiling water to prepare for re-use. I'll be back to follow up with the next step of the process. If this is something that turns out good, and something I enjoy I hope to make up my own recipes and make some 'hand-crafted' brews of my own...Christy and I have already started making up beer names.


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