Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Great Beer Brewing Experiment Results

Well, friends, my great beer-brewing experiment has come to a successful end…eventually.

About two days ago, I took out on of the bottles out of the cupboard I was storing them in and held it up to the light and saw nothing but crystal clear beery-goodness. Then I made the mistake of opening it.

You see, instead of a crisp, refreshing beer, instead I got a ‘beer volcano’ as the contents of the bottle exited its glassy prison at a considerable fraction of the speed of light. Out of a one liter bottle, I was left with maybe a quarter-pint of beer.

Of course, during the brewing process, the yeast settles at the base of the bottle. A raging torrent of carbon dioxide made sure that this was stirred up, leaving me with a quarter pint of beer that looked like dishwater.

On the upside, it tasted good.

So I went back to the destructi…I mean, instructions to see where I went wrong. Apparently I’m supposed to leave the beer in the fridge for at least two days before opening. I assumed this was to make sure the beer was cold. Apparently, it’s to make the yeast solidify on the bottom of the bottle, and the cold stops the carbon dioxide from expanding so quickly when the bottle was opened.

The other thing I realized is that I probably added too much sugar to the bottles. (You add sugar when bottling to give the left over yeast something to feed on, so they produce CO2 and make the beer fizzy).

I hadn’t taken into account how cold it was, meaning the fermentation process was slower than usual, meaning there was a large amount of sugar present during the bottling phase anyway. In the fermenter, the gas is allowed to escape, in the bottle, unfortunately, it has nowhere to go.

So I put a couple bottles in the fridge and left it for two days, which by a rather devious design on my part, meant they’d be ready for drinking today…my birthday!

So, with fingers crossed, I took out a bottle and opened it. It went ‘psssst’ and stopped. It did fizz over after a few minutes, but it was a gentle fizz, instead of the explosion I got last time.

The result was I got to keep the entire contents of the bottle, and only a small amount of the left over yeast got stirred up in it. It did throw the clarity and color off a little…but apparently, yeast is just loaded with Vitamin B, so it’s beneficial rather than harmful, and for a first try, my beer being a little cloudy is a small price to pay.

Well, I know you’re all wondering “How does it taste?”….well, I’ll tell you.

It tastes great, to tell you the truth. I’d actually rather drink my homebrew that Budweiser or a lot of the other beers I’ve tried over here (although that’s not saying much). If I had to compare it to something, it tastes a lot like Sam Adams Boston Lager.

The best way I can describe it is that I’ve tasted other homebrews, and I’ve tasted bad commercial beers. In a taste test, I doubt anyone would guess this is homebrew, and I like it a lot better than a lot of commercial beers I’ve tried.

Long story short, it tastes like beer…good beer. Plus, it's pretty strong. I was about a buzzed after drinking it as I was after three bottles of Sam Adam's best.

Long story short, if you happen to see a Mr. Beer brewing kit at the store, I’d recommend getting it. The actual process is so easy a monkey can do it, and once you’ve bought the kit, refills for a ton of other beers only cost about 15 bucks.

That’s 15 bucks for 8 liters (that’s 2.1 gallons) of good quality beer. Oh, and 15 bucks is probably the most expensive ingredients you can buy for this system. The ingredient pack I used for this batch was less than ten.

Yay…Go Beer!!!!

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