Saturday, June 04, 2005

Brewing your own beer--not for the faint-hearted

I haven't had many exotic experiences in my life, but I did make beer. Here's what you need to get started, accoording to Physicsgeek.

1 3-5 gallon brewing kettle
1 5 or 6 gallon glass carboy
1 6.5 to 7.5 gallon "food grade" plastic fermenter with airtight locking lid
1 6 foot length of 3/8-inch inside diameter clear plastic tubing
1 racking cane
1 fermentation lock
1 rubber stopper to fit the fermentation lock(It's bad form to not notice until you're pitching the yeast that they don't fit. Not that I know from experience or anything. I'm just saying.)

1 2-3 foot length of 3/8-inch outside diameter tubing which should fit the next item
1 spring-loaded bottling wand
large plastic funnel
1 floating thermometer
1 hydrometer
1 bottle capper, for which you'll need lots of new bottle caps.
50-60 beer bottles, preferably the non-screwtop type. Brown glass is the best, but pretty much anything will work.

I forgot to mention how important proper sanitation is. Let's go the cheap route yet again and use unscented household bleach. You don't want your beer to taste lemony fresh. Ugh.

I don't remember all the ins and outs of it, but I do remember the five-gallon crock that sat in the corner of the kitchen, from which an occasional but somewhat sinister glug came once in a while, as thoough some monster was thinking of rising from the bottle and eating us..

I don't know the octane, but this stuff, while drinkable, had the kick of a mule. Two of these and you were out for the night. As he had classes to prepare for the next day, my husband couldn't drink the stuff. Since one regular beer makes me giddy, I couldn't either.

As it happened, we were living in an old mansion that was broken up into apartments. The other apartments housed old ladies with loud excitable dogs.

Anything that was being discarded had to be hauled up a steep driveway in the trunk of a car. Of course, the old ladies couldn't do it. So we did, not being old ladies.

But there wasa plenty of room in the attic. So we put the full bottles there. Every once in a while a loud pop would come from the attic, but we ignored it.

We left it there, and I like to think of the occasional loud pop spooking the old ladies and causing the excitable little dogs to bark wildly. It's a nice thought.

1 comment:

prairie biker said...

I started making some industrial grade alcohol to ostensibly 'supplement the lawnmower gas'. I quickly discovered that it is very uneconomical. It costs about $10 per gallon. So now I just drink it.