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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

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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