Today was a special day. It was the day to start brewing homebrew batch #2, the second in a hopefully unending session of brewing beer at home. Over and over. Lots of times. All we need are the ingredients.
On Friday, my trip to the homebrew store in Aurora yielded the following ingredients based on a recipe I chose from The Complete Joy of Homebrewing book. I have decided on brewing an English brown ale, but with a twist. I was going to add an extra special ingredient of my own choosing at some time during the brewing process.
During my vistit to the homebrew store I had a tinge of a feeling of what my wife must go through when she shops for groceries. I had, after all, a plastic basket with handles an I perused the aisle of brewing grains much like she would at Jewel or any other grocery chain.
Crystal malt, chocolate malt, dark malt and some amber malt extracts in cans would be brewed in a careful choreographed recipe of my of design based upon what I’ve learned from reading a lot of parts of the above mentioned book. It set me back a bit financially, but I figured we must continue based on what we’ve learned from the last brewing session.
I’ve chosen to brew an English brown ale with a twist. At the end of the hour-long boiling period, we’d add a bit of honey to sweeten it up. Why? I don’t know. I just want it to be different. Kinda like a signature.
My son, Jim, helped out. The grains we used had to be crushed or cracked to open up their shells. A rooling pin and a plastic baggie did the job. The brewing went without a hitch. The smells permeated the kitchen. Malty flavors went everywhere. The other son came into the house and remarked, “Hey! Smells like yer makin’ beer in here.”
It was more than just making beer. It was a time for bonding. Two manly men, a father and son making manly drink. Talk would encompass all the what-if-we-dids, had the recipe been different. We both took pride in the fact that this beer we were brewing didn’t come in a premade kit.
After we took the initial gravity reading (1.048), we passed the test tube around. It was sweet. It was malty. I just wonder if the honey didn’t turn the brew into a “girly beer.” I’m hoping that the hops help out in the end.
Right now, the brew has been pitched with liquid yeast and is sitting in a dark hallway, covered in with a towel. We now begin the wait and the watching of the bubbles in the airlock. We will hopefully be able to bottle this beer in about 2 weeks, but we’ll sit back and see how the fermentation goes. When it’s done, it’s done.
Then we drink. As men do.