Last week our friends Nicole and Matt invited us over to brew beer. Matt has been brewing his own beer for a while now and has all the necessary equipment and knowledge to do it, so I jumped at the opportunity for a free crash course. I’ve always been curious of the process, and it sounded like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I was mostly observing at this point, and occasionally jumping in to assist (like “smacking” the yeast and things of that sort), but for the most part we let Matt take the lead, lest we screw up and ruin the entire batch. Beer making takes almost an entire day (and that’s just the brewing part, after that it stays in a fermentation chamber for about 2 months), and involves precise temperatures, timing, and the exact amount of ingredients. And much like canning, every piece of equipment has to be sterilized thoroughly to prevent any unwanted bacteria growth. On the menu for brew day was the Dusseldorf Altbier. It is a bronze-to-copper colored German ale with a rich malt character, substantial hop bitterness and a notable noble hop aroma. Mmm! Sounds delicious, no?
We made a trip to Bob’s Homebrew Supply to get the necessary ingredients: Malt extracts, three types of grains, hops and yeasts. There was a whole lot of brewer lingo going on between the store owners and the customers, and even if I had no idea what they were talking about it was fun just checking things out. And the place smelled good!
The brewing process took place out on the deck on a nice clear (albeit cold) day. I tried my best to document the process with my phone camera, but I don’t think I can even begin to explain it in detail. Not that I don’t want to but because I can’t remember precisely the steps! Beer making is a craft on its own, something that takes time to master. I am in anticipation of the finished product but I won’t know until the fermentation process is completed around mid-March.
The unveiling of this beer will be at our upcoming engagement party. I’ll report back on how it turns out.
BEER UPDATE! April 19, 2013
I realized I haven’t reported back on this yet, but we had our engagement party on March 23rd and the Dusseldorf Altbier turned out very well! My feedback: Well-balanced with a smooth finish, malty, slightly hoppy and highly drinkable. Trinksprüche!