Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

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.


Views: 39

Comment by tifanie chaney on January 13, 2011 at 1:53am
wow.  this is so exciting.  i really want to try this.  last year i made plum wine and it's "okay" so far.  very sweet... and i'm not sure it's worth doing anything with other than cooking, but i'm letting it "age" a bit and we'll see.  still, i enjoyed the process so much that i'm willing to try beer next!  soon soon.  for the moment, i'm working on a batch of ginger beer (non-alcoholic) and have just ordered a kombucha kit.  but i will definitely attempt R E A L  beer this spring!  thanks for the inspiration + info!  :)
Comment by Coyote Ridge Farms on January 13, 2011 at 9:17am

Thanks for commenting.  I'll start off by saying this was my first attempt at beer and I was satisfied with the results.  The kit was a simple one, consisting of a can of liquid extract, a packet of yeast and directions.  Experienced home-brewers call this type of kit a "kool-aid kit" - just add water and sugar.  At this time, that is what I wanted.


Plum wine, huh?  Sounds good.  If your wine is sweet, time/age will not help that.  I would guess you chose a yeast that could not consume the all of the sugar.  Some yeasts will die-off if/when it can no longer tolerate the alcohol levels it produced.  My advice is to simply call your wine a dessert wine or a cordial.


If I may comment on Kombucha, I will.  I love the stuff.  It sure is nasty looking stuff when it's brewing though.  I drink it unflavored.  When it turns out perfectly, it tastes like a combo of Apple Cider & Champagne.  Some folks mix Kombucha with fruit juice, I do not... I like it as is.


Stay in touch



Comment by michael on January 13, 2011 at 3:44pm
awesome!  what type of beer did you make?
Comment by Coyote Ridge Farms on January 13, 2011 at 7:11pm

The beer was a Muntons brand 'American Style Light Beer Kit'. I bought it from MidwestSupplies.com.  They have a store-front in Minneapolis, MN, which is not far from the clinic/hospital where we bring our handicapped daughter.  It works well for us.

Michael, I noticed you are a prolific beer maker.  I am Grasshopper - You are Master.  lol.   I'd like to learn more from an actual home-brewer.  Currently, I know nobody.

Thanks for chiming in




Comment by michael on January 14, 2011 at 12:26am

Ha!  Not a master yet, but I have been brewing now for about a year and love it.  I've gone months drinking only my beer and I have serious issues with drinking the last beer from a batch, knowing I'll never exactly replicate it.  (I quickly get over it.)


Best way to find others to brew with is to invite your friends over.  It's amazing how many come over when beer is involved.


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