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Adventures in homebrewing

Here’s the somewhat ironic truth: I don’t brew beer anymore.

I can count the number of beers I’ve brewed myself since we opened on one hand:

  • A hefeweizen extract kit, which I bought two of and tossed fresh cherries into half of, for my mom’s partner’s birthday
  • A belgian dubbel that is literally still in primary in my basement four years later. I am scared to look.
  • (apparently I made a few other beers, as referenced in the above post? no memory of them.)
  • A Christmas beer extract kit with three of my four brothers-in-law, BILchrist, which we made in October

We had wanted to do another entry in the BIL series (brother in law, get it? get it?) but thus far had been unable to schedule a time, what with Michael living in Maryland now. But it was my sister in law’s birthday, so he was in town, and so we decided to brew anon. I thought it would be fun to do a beer from Microbrewed Adventures, and so we chose the 1447 Belgium Zwarte Rose Ale.

A brewpot and its smoker

A brewpot and its smoker

The planning

I decided to do the extract version of the recipe, due partly to it taking significantly less time and mostly to my hot liquor tank having been repurposed to hold rinse water at Bidwell for four years. I joked about it with Burt at Niagara Tradition, who said that he doesn’t consider a homebrewer to have come full circle until they start brewing extract again because they no longer have any damn time.

This seemed poetic and deep.

We decided to name the beer OctoBILfest, even though it is not an Oktoberfest beer, because it will be ready in October. You cannot tell us what to do, as you are not our real dad anyway.

We got a later start than I used to, mostly because the previous day had been my aforementioned sister in law’s birthday celebration and the previous night my friend’s bachelor party. I had gotten three hours of sleep.

Tequila courage

When we brewed BILchrist my host brother in law’s neighbor invited us over, and came over as we brewed, and offered us good tequila. I’m not one to say no to good tequila, having developed a taste for agave thanks to a mead shared at a homebrew club meeting long ago, and so the night had, ahem… devolved.

This time, however, there was no tequila. This was for the best.

We had plenty of beer, though, including La Fin Du Monde and a bottle of KBS that was from, I believe, 2014. Both were amazing.

The brewing

Our brewday was, for the most part, uneventful: I had left the heat down a little too low so I don’t think we boiled off as much as I had planned, meaning it had a lower original gravity than the recipe assumed. I think it was between 11.2-11.5 brix? You can see why I keep myself far away from the brewing of CBW’s beer, right?

We heard thunder off in the distance, which thankfully never materialized. Once a beer has begun boiling it’s a little harder for rain to stop it, though the rain and wind can be annoying little brats. Ask me about that ESB I made sometime.

The final product

Well, I mean, it’s beer. I don’t know what the final product will be yet. We haven’t even added the rose yet! But it was a fun evening, and then we ate various meats that had been smoking and played some Codenames, and then finally got some blessed sleep.

More as it develops. Er, ferment.