Homebrew Photo Essay

One of the Christmas gifts that we made this year was homebrew. It was fun to get brewing again after more than a year off! Also, Brattleboro now has its own brew supply store on High Street, Microbe Brewers' Supply. Very, very exciting (especially after my complaining that we needed such a store). Here is a photo essay from the brewing process. We did the steps over 3 different days--boiling, racking and bottling.

Day 1: Sterilized items laid out to dry

My favorite recipe is one I wrote myself and published in discontent #13.
Also one must have a beer while one is brewing.

We had so many grains we needed 2 grain bags.

Removing the spent grains--pressing to get all that good flavor and color out.

Adding light malt extract.

The boil.

Here are the hops we used, bitter Warrior on the left, milder Willamette on the right. Plus your basic brewing yeast, Munton's.

The wort is poured into the primary fermenter, with floating thermometer.

We tried something new this time because we were using tap water. We put 3 gallons of water into mason jars, then left them in the sun all day to burn off the chlorine. Then we refrigerated them--made the cooling period after the boil MUCH shorter.

Activating the yeast. I decided to do it in the warm wort. Not sure if that was wise or not.

Day 2 (about 4 days later): Take the lid off and here's what I see. Activity!

Here's my awesome auto-siphon doing its job--moving the beer into the secondary fermenter.

View from the top. The primary fermenter (bucket) is on the counter, and secondary fermenter (glass carboy) is on the floor.

Closeup! I'm really excited about this carboy I guess.

Airlock on. Ready for the closet.

The sludge at the bottom of the barrel.

Day 3 (about a week later): Sterilizing bottles in a B-brite (bleach) solution.

Corn sugar ready to mix with water and heat. For carbonation purposes.

Specific gravity check.

Lovely color! Racking back into the (clean) primary fermenter for bottling purposes.

Sterilizing bottle caps. Then we filled the bottles, capped them and put them away for another week.

Finished product: I pasted cut-outs from wrapping paper onto the bottles, to make a nice gift for Uncle M. (We also put wrapping paper on a 6-pack holder to make a festive little carry-all.)

The beer was delicious by the way. We used the bitter hops at the very end of the boil and it gave it a great hoppy character that is just what we like.


ValleyWriter said...

Ooh - I love the wrapping paper as labels idea! I'll have to tell Mr VW to check out your recipe the next time we brew, too. Might be nice to try something other than a preassembled kit!

Anonymous said...


I want beer. * )

--Troy McClure

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Thanks VW and Troy! Let me know if you ever want a copy of my recipe... I only found one typo in it so far. Gotta brew up another batch soon, someone keeps drinking all the ones we didn't give away! Raise a glass.