Posts Tagged ‘Athens Do It Yourself Shop’

Cutting corners: it’s the American way, n’est-ce pas? Well, I visited the Athens Do It Yourself shop again last week to return the machine I used to cap my bottled beer, a ridiculous contraption that looked something like a microscopes retarded older brother, and is just about as functional. I asked the proprietor, Eric Hedin, when I should put the beer in the fridge, and he told me it should ferment in the bottles for 10 days at room temperature, then another 10 days in the coolest part of my apartment, or the fridge.


I can't think of anything clever to say about this.

OK, so this ran a little contrary to what he had said earlier about “21 days to good beer”; one day to brew, 10 days in the fermenter, then 10 days in the bottle. So I got impatient. I wanted to drink it NOW. So I did.

Now I’m not very good at critiquing myself. My mom once told me that nothing ever tastes as good when you cook it yourself, and I guess the same goes for beer. All in all, I thought it was a bit premature. I thought it was a bit sweet from the priming sugar that hadn’t yet finished fermenting all the way, and maybe a tiny bit flat (though it poured a good head). But, in striving for scientific rigor, I asked my room-mate Corey to step in and do a guest blog about what he thought of my beer. So without further ado, here is Corey’s take on my brew.

corey making a face

Corey, after having drunk my beer (well, a beer).

~Buy a man a beer and he wastes an hour. Teach a man to brew and he wastes a lifetime~
-Gordy form ABC Warehouse-

Fact. There is a reason for it too. It was my first time as the Assistant Roommate of a Brew Master (ARBM, official title) and the experience has opened a whole new book to my drinking solutions. Not problem. I’ve already solved it.

Watching someone brew beer filled my heart with such joy, more so than building houses for the poor. Once, the process was complete and I was able to taste the creation, I realized it is more rewarding too.

Andy is no longer a virgin in the brewing industry. Cherry popped right in our living room for all to witness. The result, of the first batch to be tested, was surprising. Life’s like a white bucket sitting in your living room fermenting: you never know what your ganna get.

As Brew Master, our leader informed us that he was creating an IPA. Yum, I thought. Bottle opener please. Yum, was the result. The beer had a nice tungsten-amber color and it was carbonated enough to form a nice head. The aroma had the familiar bitter-sweet smell that IPA’s usually have. But I did not want to look and smell my beer all day.

Almost had it. The beer was hoppy enough to achieve the bitter flavor of an IPA. The feel of the beer was great in my book. It did not tickle the tongue from carbonation, and did not sit flat either. The beer was just a little sweet with a slight after taste of a cider. There was an excess  of sugars sitting at the bottom of my glass, but I was drinking a preemie version of the beer. This also explains the sweet taste.

Overall, I enjoyed the brew. Even bought one for a friend to try. The beer accomplished what its original intentions were, to taste like an IPA. The only problem I had with it was its sweet side. Would I buy this beer if it were shelved? Yes, in fact I would buy it even if we already had the bottle sitting in our collection. This only excites me more knowing that when the rest of the beer is actually ready, I will get to enjoy the matured version of this already delicious beer.

~MMMM, beer~
Homer Simpson

Keep your glasses empty,

This is the last chance to submit a name for my beer. The poll begins this weekend, and the winning suggestion gets a free six pack of the beer you named.


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We at DML! love beer. And what’s the only thing that’s better than beer? That’s right, 5 gallons of beer.

I visited the Athens Do It Yourself Shop run by Eric Hedin on Wednesday to set about on the odyssey that is homebrewing. Now when I think about DIY, I usually think of making wallets out of duct tape or freakishly tall bikes, but this dude, he thinks about taking every day household items and turning them into alcohol (if you just happen to have malt extract, hops, yeast, corn sugar and a 5 gallon ale pail lying around the house…).

I went in there intent on making some sort of stout or porter, but I realize that in terms of the general population, not everybody shares my love of dark, highly alcoholic beers. So I settled on an making an IPA. Now I could have paid $80 for a take home kit to truly Do It [Myself], but for $5 I took Hedin’s introductory class instead.

Our brewery

Our brewery.

To get this whole thing started we brought a gallon of water up to a boil. From there, we added delicious hops.

Delicious hops

Delicious hops.

Hops add that bitter, citrusy flavor to beer, as well as inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

Boiling hops

Boiling hops.

Hedin explained that boiling the hops for 15 minutes would add a hoppy aroma to the beer, boiling them for 30 minutes would give the beer a hoppy flavor and boiling them for an hour would give the beer a bitter flavor. We boiled the hops for somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes before adding the malt extract and corn sugar.

Water + hops + malt extract + corn sugar = well, nothing yet

Water + hops + malt extract + corn sugar = well, nothing yet.

Hedin explained that the malt extract added a sweet flavor to the beer and provided some sugar, which would be fermented into alcohol, and the corn sugar would up the alcohol in the finished product. From there we added a can-o-beer-essence.

Muntons malt extract in a can

Muntons malt extract in a can. Mm mmm good.

It is thick like molasses and already contains hops and sugar. The reason we added everything before this was to “kick it up a notch,” as Hedin put it. The can alone would give us 3 percent ABV beer, but with the other stuff we added, we’ll have a beer somewhere in the 5 percent range. Plus, the additional malt and hops will give it more flavor.

After boiling it all up, we poured it into a 5 gallon pail, added 4 gallons of purified water and sealed it. I took it home, and a few hours later, when it wasn’t warm anymore, I shook it up and added the yeast.

Me adding the yeast. See, that's my hand.

Me adding the yeast. See, that's my hand.

The yeast essentially eats the sugar and leaves alcohol, like a magic alcohol fairy. Hedin said the rule for good beer was 21 days: 1 to brew, 10 to ferment in the pail, and then 10 in bottles. So on Halloween I will siphon it into bottles (it makes 53 bottles) and again play the waiting game.

It sits there, fermenting, taunting me. Oh, I will win, Mr. Beer. One of these days, I will drink you.

It sits there, fermenting, taunting me. Oh, I will win, Mr. Beer. One of these days, I will drink you.

Help me name my beer: I’m not a creative type, but my beer needs a name. If you have any ideas, leave them in a comment. One week before the beer is ready to drink, I’ll put up a poll, and if your name wins, you win a free six pack of what will undoubtedly be one bitchin’ beer.

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