Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Chronicles of Brewing, Part One

A few years ago my folks got me a homebrew kit for my birthday. The Beer Machine - AS SEEN ON TV! - is a nifty little gadget, but it hasn't done much brewing. OK, it hasn't done any brewing. Alas, the little keg that could has been relegated to sitting idly down in my beer room staring up at my fellow beer-patriots and I as we walked in and out, in and out, in and out... grabbing bottles of pre-made beer from the icy cold fridge. Instead Lil Keggy (so what if I've nicknamed my beer machine?!) has been collecting a form of yeast as yet to be useful in the actual brewing of beer.

Until now.

What follows will be a chronicle of my adventures in brewing my first batch of beer with The Beer Machine. This first endeavor will be called "Mad Man Golden Lager." I'm calling it this because it is a golden lager mix, I am "The Mad Man," and since this is my first attempt at brewing a beverage that I will actually ingest into my body - it might quite literally make me mad. If that should happen... send help. Please. So, without further ado... on with the show.

The Chronicles of Brewing, Part One

Entry #1: Sunday, July 8, 2007

I drink beer. That's what I do. Way back in my first semester of college (wow, was that really 22 years ago?) I dove in with the fervor - some would call it plain ole naivety - of an 18 year old ready to take on the world. Sadly, I choose to take on the world of science. By the time that first semester ended I knew that I never wanted to have anything to do with science ever again. Not ever.

Fast forward a few decades to my current state of beertopia. As I said - I drink beer. The actual brewing I left to better (and decidedly much more intelligent) men. Then I turned the Big Four Ooooh, and my quaint lil world changed. As Yoda once said (yes, my inner geek still lives even after 40 years), "Do or do not. There is no try." These days my ears are actually starting to resemble those of that little old geezer.

But I digress... as I'm wont to do now that I'm middle aged.

I've decided to throw my much maligned sense of science out with the mash tun water, and brew my own beer. I'm starting small. Small as in Yoda small. Small as in The Beer Machine small. If the whole process of allowing yeast to ferment under pressure happens to go completely sideways, it won't blow my house up. At most I'll lose a few breweriana items, maybe a wall.

I crack open the kit and read through the directions for once in my life. Men, as we all know, do not read directions. Why should we? Most of the words are either way over our heads or fail to correspond to any one of the 4,326 illustrations in said directions - which all look like they were crudely drawn by a 3rd grader using a charcoal briquette. Why waste time reading when we could be trying to put a square peg in a round hole?!

But read I do nonetheless. Saint Arnold must have been looking down on me because had I not read the directions I'm pretty sure I would have blown up a portion of my basement trying to incorrectly insert the CO2 cartridge into the thingeemajig atop The Beer Machine.

After a relatively brain pain free thirty minutes or so I had the contraption assembled and the essential ingredients (water, golden lager beer mix and brewer's yeast) mixed inside - fermenting away!

The next phase = the hardest part, which amounts to a lot of waiting. For the next five days The Beer Machine must remain undisturbed as it goes about the fermentation process. God may have rested on the seventh day, but The Mad Man gets to get his drink on two days sooner!

Entry #2: Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I have to do something to fill the time between Day 1 and Day 5, and what better thing to do then make my body - which as they say is my temple - fit for beer consumption! During my work out I take time out to investigate The Beer Machine and find that all the foaming bubbles have vanished. Science my friends... science!

I'll save you all the tedium I've been experiencing and won't post again until Day 5 (which will be Friday). Tune in next time when you'll (hopefully) hear me say "Damn howdy that's good beer!" and not the thud of a body hitting the cold vinyl floor.

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