Stirring my brew

My kitchen is filled with steam.

My apron is tied double, sticky brown syrup trails down to my elbow, and heaven only knows how I’m going to get that 5-gallon carboy from the sink to the floor to the under-the-stairs cupboard.

I’m homebrewing, and this is the first documentation of this new venture. (Again, I wish I had my camera so I could give some step-by-step photos!)

Andrew gave me a complete homebrewing kit for my 21st birthday before he left for China, and I’ve been researching and dreaming for two weeks now. Tonight I decided that there’s no use waiting for the “perfect moment” because that time would never come, and thus I should make my own action — and isn’t that so true for life as well? We can’t always be waiting for the “perfect” environment, the “perfect” weather, the “perfect” body…life, and humans, is not and are not perfect. We’re made perfectly to be imperfect, and I suggest we all quit with the tiresome charade and accept this already.

Anyhoo….tonight is the night for homebrewing. I’m watching my wort simmer now: the wort is the boiled mixture of malted barley, malt extract, and hops, combined in certain ratios and at certain times in the boiling process to create an early beer “tea” of sorts. This wort, once properly cooked, will be added to a glass “carboy” (a big bottle that typically holds 5-6 gallons), along with more water and brewer’s yeast, to ferment in a calm, dark place for 2-3 weeks. Often, the beer will be syphoned into another container for a double-fermentation. The recipe I’m using tonight calls for such an operation to produce what I already believe is going to be a beautifully dark, rich porter, with all sorts of chocolate and coffee notes. Mmmm.

Not only am I excited about this hands-on, creative process – new recipes, this time for drink! And a DIY-er’s dream come true! – but I’m also thrilled to benefit nutritionally from my homebrew. Unlike beer made in the home, commercially produced beer is pasteurized to stop the fermentation process and essentially kill the live yeast cultures. This makes for a safe and yummy drink, yes, but we commercial beer-drinkers miss out on the vital B vitamin complex found in brewer’s yeast. My homebrew will not be pasteurized, and will therefore be chock full of B vitamins and healthy, fermented cultures. Yumm.

I’ll let you know how this all turns out. I was a bit nervous about this at first, but the process has been smooth and easy. I’m so excited to see the end product but, as always, the journey has been just as enjoyable.

Thanks again to my sweet Andrew for knowing me so well and for buying me a kit. I’ve always wanted to do this!

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