Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home Brewin' Papas

Last year for Father's Day, I wanted to get something that my husband and dad would both enjoy to do together. Hmmm.... They get along well...and both appreciate a good beer. So, I decided to get them a gift certificate to The Home Brew Outlet. Although brewing took a backseat to more important things last year, they ended up getting together a couple months ago to work on it.

My dad used to brew and enjoyed it. A little of this, a little of that-and voila! You know, the good stuff. What he didn't remember was how much time and tending it takes. And since he lives a ways away, doing it together just wasn't gonna work. While I was a little disappointed, my two awesome men seemed cool with it. Before my dad left that day, he helped get the supplies ready...

...and told a hilarious story about sampling the compressed hops.

The moral of the story is...don't do it! You'll never get the taste off your tongue!

My dad left, and my husband happily assumed the role of mad scientist! He sterilized the brew water and then began the wort. He added malted barley and let it cook. The house smelled sooo pungent and good!

Then he added the sugar and malt syrup and cooked it some more. All this sterilizing and cooking is what took the longest time that first day.

My hubby then cooled the wort quickly and siphoned it into the fermentor. He topped it off with sterilized water, added the yeast, and aerated. Now we were to wait for it to do its magic for a couple weeks.

So we waited. And watched. Later the next day the percolator announced that something was happening. (Sorry I couldn't rotate this video. You'll just have to imagine that you've had a few too many ales!)

And a couple days later we could see massive churning in the carboy.

We were making beer! This was very exciting (even though I prefer tequila)!

The tedious part now lay ahead of us: sanitizing everything.

My husband and I washed the bottles...

...then bleached them...

...then thoroughly rinsed them.

That's a lot of bottles! I'll refrain from singing that boisterous, back of the schoolbus song that you know you sang as a kid! Woa-ah-ah!

My little creamy shadow thought this was all very interesting, though!

After fermenting for two weeks, it was time to round 'er up! My husband transferred the beer to the bottling container and added the priming sugar. I gently stirred, as he bottled.

Then he capped them all and let them sit for two more weeks.

When they were done, we split the beer between us and my dad. And then, well, I'm sorry to report, the beer fairy must have come and drank it all, because I don't have any pictures of the finished product! (I wonder if that happened to my dad, too?)

Next Father's Day-a kegerator!


  1. Fun!
    I think this is something we'd like... :), but we have no more room for such projects!! We'd have to lose one or two!
    Happy Father's Day!

  2. Woohoo! This looks like so much fun! I've been fantasising about brewing up some mead at some point. It would be a very satisfying project. Great gift idea for a dad.

    Happy Father's Day over there!

  3. Stephanie and docwitch, I would highly recommend brewing...kombucha, beer, mead.... There is something so satisfying about it. Kinda like making bread. Making one thing, letting go, and letting it do its thing. A kind of alchemy.

    And you don't have to wonder about all the additives in commercial foods like sulfites and whatnot.

  4. How fun. My husband wants to make "real" root beer, not the caramel-color/corn syrup variety.

  5. anthromama, root beer would be fun, too. Or even ginger ale. So many possibilities, so little time....

  6. This looks like so much fun!! DH and I have been wanting to learn for quite some time now. It must of been a fun project for the two of you...especially for the beer fairies :D

  7. Mama Rose, it is fun. It takes some time to prepare the mixture (one day) and to sterilize and bottle (one day). The rest of the time is just letting it be.

    Oh, you gotta watch out for those beer fairies. You know they're here when you hear the clink-clink of the bottles.... ;)

  8. We brew and bottle our beer a little differently, but I'm sure it still tastes the same! Is your hubby obsessed with making beer labels like mine? My hubby puts a lot of effort into his labels and once he gets the theme going then we brew the beer. I should blog about our experience. I swear I always think our 3-year old will know more about brewing beer and going to breweries that when she does turn 21 it's not going to be a big deal. Well, except she'll be able to finally drink beer...legally, anyway...

  9. Do you have a special place from where you order your ingredients? We order from More Beer in Concord and there's a great little hole in the wall in Santa Cruz that's called Seven Bridges, I think...they have great organic ingredients there. We also get ingredients from Doc's Cellar in SLO.

  10. Scolari Mama, I would love to hear how you do it! This was our first we're still very green. My husband has not yet moved into label-making-mode. I don't think the beer lasted long enough to warrant them, anyway! hee-hee!

    We get our ingredients locally, but they're not organic. I'll have to check out your sources. I've got a beer gardening book and would love to grow our own supplies--some day. I tried hops last year, but I think the rhizomes I bought were old or maybe my soil was too sandy. Try, try again....