Brewing beer is more fun and way harder than I imagined.
Some time ago, Amber bought me a kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop. The kit sat on the shelf for a long time. Brewing the beer was intimidating, and seemed impossible despite having all the materials sitting in front of me. One weekend, I told myself that I was going to brew that beer, and set aside an entire afternoon to get it done.
Boiling, measuring, pouring, taking temperatures and cleaning everything made me feel more like a scientist than anything else I’ve ever done. Keeping something at precisely 170 degrees is difficult when your stove is a the lowest possible quality stove someone can buy (thanks to my landlord for that one). Somewhere along the way, I messed up my boil, because when I eventually poured everything into the jug to let it bubble there was only half the expected volume of liquid. I also couldn’t find chestnuts that I could roast myself, so I had to settle for pre-roasted chestnuts.
I pushed forward despite these setbacks and everything else appeared to go according to plan. It bubbled for a day, I put it in a cool, dark place to sit for two-three weeks. After that it got hairy again. Creating a siphon between the jug and multiple pots proved to be too much for my abilities as a n00b brewer. I had to try multiple times and eventually I got it all together. It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.
The silver lining of my accidental over-boil was that the entire batch fit into a growler from Bierkraft instead of going into each bottle. I’d love to watch someone else siphon their batches of beer before I attempt to do that again. It sat in the fridge until last weekend.
There were a few downsides, but one of them was not taste. I purchased a different nut brown ale to test my batch against. Turns out, I got the recipe right. Where did I go wrong? A nut brown ale should be somewhat transparent, and this was not remotely transparent. It had the visual and taste consistency of a stout, but with the taste of a nut brown ale. The other negative: No carbonation. Somewhere along the line, I didn’t seal something right or I let it sit too long before bottling it. One way or the other, there were no bubbles.
I’ll be doing this again for sure, but with an easier beer. I don’t care if I start with the equivalent of a Pabst Blue Ribbon, provided I get it right. I’ve still got the growler, and I’m deciding if I want to drink it. I admit there’s a part of me that wants to get drunk on something that I created.