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Taking a Swing at Homebrewing (Part 2)

The time has finally come to sample our first batch of basement-brewed IPA from a kit. As I stated in Part 1, the actual work that we put into this batch was quite minimal; comparable to raising a tamagotchi. No mash, no boil, no sparging, yet for us, still a good amount of fun!

When I ended the last post our IPA was in the secondary fermenter with the stopper and airlock tightly in place. Now to be honest, we were somewhat disappointed with our lack of involvement in this brew. Our natural solution was to do something drastic(ish).

On our next trip to Defalco’s we purchased a package of Centennial hop pellets. I had read that sometimes people add hops during fermentation strictly for aroma purposes, so we decided to go for it. We poured all of the hop pellets into the secondary fermenter, and the next day we were greeted by a nasty looking layer of disbanded hop pellets floating on the top of our beer. It looked like algae in a murky pond. We were slightly concerned, but we went home for Thanksgiving weekend with our family’s and forgot about the situation for a few days.

When we returned, the hops that were sitting on the top had pretty much dispersed into the beer. Success! By this time we were ready to bottle. The Brewhouse Kit comes with a pack of Dextrose, which we are told to add to a few cups of boiled water and pour into our primary fermenting bucket (which we had washed and sanitized). This would act as priming sugar and help our beer carbonate while resting in the bottles.  We then racked our beer from the glass carboy into the primary fermenter so it could mix with the dextrose, making sure to leave behind any sediment that had accumulated while in secondary (there was quite a bit, but I assume this was due to our outlaw power-move of adding hop pellets to the carboy). We then began siphoning the beer from the pale into our bottles.

For bottles we opted to reuse the many we have purchased from the LCBO over the past few months, exceptions were given to the ones that were beginning to grow mould-gardens in the bottom… Gross. We washed them thoroughly inside and out, and used sanitizer to make sure we wouldn’t die from drinking our cheap as dirt homebrew.

Once a bottle was full (we tried to leave about an inch of space in the neck) we put a cap on using a capper which we also bought from Defalco’s. Overall the process took about an hour and a half, but could probably take less time once we’ve had a few runs at it.

Once in the bottles, it takes a minimum of 2 weeks for the beer to carbonate to a sufficient level. So today I cracked the first of this batch. Here’s a quick rundown of what I thought of the finished product.

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Tried my best to hide it, but there’s no removing the label from a Lake of Bays 10 Point IPA bottle.

Pours cloudy amber with a medium white head which dissipated after a couple minutes, but hey, at least the carbonation worked (Score!) Aroma’s of light citrus with sweet fruity tones. So far so good. Starts out earthy/grassy, moving to light citrus, and finishing bitter and tangy. Although it was a little lighter than we want, all the flavours we look for in an IPA were present. Also, at certain points I noticed a bit of a metallic taste, but it was never over powering and I still found myself enjoying the beer we made.

If you’re looking to get into brewing, this Brewhouse Kit is a solid place to start. I mean sure, you can do more of the work and have more fun on your first try, but if you aren’t familiar with the brewing process or how the equipment is meant to work, (it took us an embarrassingly long time to get a good siphon going…) why not smart small?

Happy Halloween folks, hope it’s a dandy. I’ll be watching Simpson’s Halloween episode’s with my roommates and getting drunk off my own beer, then eventually drag my ass to work for 8 am.

Cheers!

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About OttBeerGuy

Craft beer fan in Ottawa/Toronto. Twitter: @ottbeerguy

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