And I’m not talking about St. Patrick’s Day emerald-dyed beer. I’m talking about homebrew that’s ready for bottling.
Our first beer is a stout. There it is after its initial fermentation period, sitting in a carboy fitted with a fermentation lock. Its last phase, bottle conditioning, is happening as we speak. Read? Whatever, you know.
When we had our last batch of houseguests, one corner of the kitchen was full of these glass beer bottles. And bless them, instead of assuming we were party animals they asked if we were planning on brewing. They knew! This is how you know you’ve found kindred spirits.
(Although college house parties used to generate far more bottles and cans than this, and no one ever asked if we were brewing. To be fair, we weren’t. We were just party animals who recycled.)
First K siphoned the green beer into a fermenting bucket, where it could be primed with additional yeast and sugar for the bottle conditioning.
We’re working from a home brewing book from the early 1980s, and the author provides a mantra: “Relax. Have a homebrew.” We’ve been saying that, and thrill at the prospect of actually putting it into practice literally as well as figuratively.
Or why wait?
Green beer is flat and unfinished, but gives a decent idea of what the finished beer is going to be like. After filling all the bottles (K was siphoning, I was capping), there was a little bit left over so we filled a mason jar and passed it around.
N took a swig and his eyes lit up. Seriously, it was like a cartoon. “This is good!”
I had to agree.
In my experience, being served something in a mason jar is a good sign. I guess it’s trendy now, but think about it – moonshine, homebrew, pickles, leftovers, preserves, homemade yogurt. Am I forgetting anything? We used to drink keg beer out of mason jars in those storied college years, but let’s leave that out. Keg beer is keg beer, however crunchy your drinking vessel. And as Gwyneth Paltrow would say, I boringly digress.
Anyway, in eight days we get to pop the cap off our first bottle of home brewed stout. We’ll get into more complicated stuff like secondary fermentation in our next batch – this first time is all about proving that we (or K, at least) can actually make beer.