Last night's meal was memorable.
Although a basic meal, due to its lack of diversity, it was a noteworthy one. The beverage of choice (by me alone
) was beer... but it was homemade beer that I had brewed myself. The main dish was Carol's made-from-scratch, butter-milk pancakes (home-made, goat milk butter-milk and our own farm-fresh eggs
) and the tasty treat that seemed to bring it all together was the meaty, cottage-style bacon, from our friends at Pastures A Plenty
, who raise pastured hogs.
The beer I made was started back in early December and only now was it achieving enough natural carbonation to make the "psssst" sound when the cap was popped. The beer doesn't taste like the commercial beer that I usually have had in the fridge. Personally, I like the light, crisp beers that are most popular. Many of my friends that like "real" don't like what I like...they describe it as tasteless. My homemade brew is a little more complex. It has 3 distinct tastes to it. It goes from sweet to mild, then finishes with bitter. I was told, after a "real" beer drinker tasted it, that what I made is the way beer is suppose to be - complex, not bland. Good beer is said to be like fine wine. Whatever the case, I like neither fine wine nor do I like "good" beer.
At first, I didn't like my home-brew, because of the up-front sweet taste. But now I kind of like it. The cost to make it is only $14 for 2½ cases, plus the added sugar. I simply use table sugar so the added coast is minimal. At such a low cost, I learn to like it... and knowing it doesn't have any artificial preservatives is a bonus.
In just the last week or so, I have declared that the beer is good enough to make again. And last night, I started another 6 gallon batch. The process is simple. Since I'm still very much a novice home-brewer, I make beer from an ingredients kit - simply boil some water, add the malt extract, put in some sugar, then pour that mixture into a fermenting bucket. Since I am a home wine-maker, I have a glass carboy that I use as a secondary fermenter, so the bucket (the primary
) I only use for the first week. I then finish the fermenting process in the secondary. By doing so, I reduce the chance of contaminants entering my beer wort (pronounced 'whert'
) and potentially giving the finished product an off-taste.
Typically, the beer-making process takes 5-6 weeks, from start to drinking. It ferments in the primary fermenter for about a week, then finishes in the secondary for another 2 weeks or so. Once the beer is primed and bottled, it is another 3 weeks for it to have good, natural carbonation. I think it would be 2 weeks in a warmer house, but we keep the thermostat quite low, causing the yeast to be less active.