Sunday, January 13, 2008

First brew!

My homie Dave continues to inspire (and harass) me to record my thoughts and life's events, no matter how trivial, in a blog. My girlfriend Kat and I have recently been interested in homebrewing and I thought that this project would be ideal to write about. Since whitewater rafting is also our passion, I figured the combination of rapids and suds would provide enough interesting material to write about on a weekly basis. Now if only I can stay motivated to post regularly, this blog could go places.

Leading up to the first batch, Kat and I had read a couple of books prior to the event: Nachel's "Homebrewing for Dummies" and Calagione's "Extreme Brewing". The "Dummies" book turned out to be more well-rounded and explained the process in greater detail. We had actually picked this up earlier last summer, and I started reading it in November. The more I read, the more fascinating the science was and less intimidating the process became. My family heard about this new interest and showed encouragement at Christmas: the Calagione book and a gift certificate to Bob's Homebrew in Seattle.

Today marked our initiation into the world of homebrewing. We visited Bob the Friday before and picked up a starter kit and a few various items recommended in our books. While we had picked out a recipe to start with, Bob included his own recipe and all ingredients in the starter kit. Since he had included quality ingredients, we didn't have a problem making the change and he had a recipe that fit our first choice - a brown ale.

Brew day was a blast. We felt very prepared since we had read the previous two books, and also the book that Bob included in the start-up kit, "How to Brew" by John Palmer. Brewing was not difficult, and leaves lots of time in between steps to sip your own cold beverage. In fact, the most difficult part of the process was keeping things clean and sanitized. Our only noticeable mistake was forgetting to take a hydrometer reading before pitching the yeast. This won't make a difference with the taste of the beer, but would have helped us understand the process, and be able to measure the actual change of the beer over the next few weeks. I can already tell that the wait until we crack open the first bottle will be painful. But this certainly seems like a hobby Kat and I will really enjoy.

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