Sunday, November 21, 2010

It all begins here

So I was having a discussion with my girlfriend a few months ago about jobs and finding one that you like or love, I had been discontent with my work for some time and it was beginning to show on me and my personality. In the middle of having Chinese food with my girl a few weeks ago it hit me like a ton of bricks........ why not make beer. Why not is right. Who doesn't like beer? Who wouldn't want to be responsible for bringing joy and fun to people (in moderation of course).

I looked into it and that weekend went out and picked up 5 books on the subject of homebrewing, making beer and even one on beer itself. A week later I trotted out to my local homebrew supply store in Freehold and was like a kid in a candy store gawking at products that ran the gambit from strange to outright weird. Not much time later I left the store with my beginner brew kit in tow along with a recipe and ingredients for my first brew. A strong Belgian ale with cherries was to be my test.

That weekend I waited until I had an empty house so that in case I failed miserably, only I would be witnessed to it. I had my ingredients, I had my recipe and I had the beginner brew advice from the store and from the books that I managed to read. It was time. I put my kettle on the stove and got to work soon noticing that it takes quite a bit of heat to warm 20qt of water. This was going to take awhile, lol.

Some four and a half stressful hours later I finished my cleanup and assessed the damage. Nothing broken, bent, scorched, melted or crying on the floor. Not bad. I was somehow expecting gremlins to get into my kitchen and run amok with my brewplan but I guess they were kept at bay, at least for the day. Now came the truly hard part: the waiting.

After 24 hours and without any signs of fermenting I started to get nervous, ok, really nervous. I went to work on Sunday afternoon hoping and praying for the beer gods to shine down on my maiden attempt on making happiness and joy in-a-bottle. Some 10 hours or so later I walked back into my home and was greeted with a happy three piece airlock on top of my fermenting bucket. Oh the relief. Oh the piece of mind. So much so that I got absolutely no sleep that night as I thought and worried about my fledgling batch of wort. That's non-fermented beer for the uninitiated.

Less than a week later I was back in the brew store getting more supplies, equipment and ingredients for batch number two. This one was going to be a Trappist ale with raisins ala Dogfishhead's Raisin d Etre, or so it said on the recipe sheet. Big, bold, and plenty of flavors is what I was aiming for. Hopefully I get at least one of the three. Worst comes to worst I get a great smelling house out of the effort.

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