Monday, August 23, 2010

Beer. Because God wanted us to be happy

The next time you see a yuppie trying to impress his date with an elaborate system of sniffing, shaking and delicately tasting a glass of wine, remind him that it is simply fermented grape juice.  That is all.  Sugar already exists in grapes, and the making of wine is therefore a less complex process than the one that creates God's one and true gift to man (and woman) kind; beer.

There is reference to a beer-like substance in Ancient China as far back as 5,000 years ago.  Brewing was considered a highly respected occupation as far back as during the Mesopotamia civilization, and beer was part of the daily diet of the Egyptian Pharaohs, used in religious practices.  Possibly the coolest factoid I could find is that the Finnish epic poem, "Kalevala," finally recorded in written form during the 19th Century, but based on oral traditions that spanned many generations, actually has more references to beer and beer-making than the origins of mankind.  Awesome. (1)

In a small effort to keep this rich and ancient tradition thriving, I just finished up a batch of a red ale, which should be ready for drinking when my parents get back into town in early September.

A quick primer on beer-brewing:

Create the "wort," which consists of grains and a malt extract, eventually combined after separate boiling processes.  This is eventually brought to a full and roiling boil, with various types of hops added at planned intervals.  This finished wort will be added to a primary fermenter, or plastic container, before adding a large quantity of cold, clean water.  Specialty yeast is added as a final step before closing up the container.  The beer-to-be will be transferred to a glass carboy, or secondary fermenter within 1-2 weeks via a siphon, and it will then continue to ferment for a somewhat subjective length of time that is partially based on the type of beer.  The bottling process uses the siphon as well, and the liquid is combined with priming sugar in the bottles.  This is the final step, and the bottled beer will carbonate and continue to ferment until ready to drink.  The last and most important step is, obviously, to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

* I am leaving out a lot of the details, but this gives you a quick breakdown.

Racking beer to prepare for bottling:

Capping my bottled beer:

44 beers, just waiting for a dance partner:

Happiness, I has it:

(1) -


Sioux said...

Wow, that's some carbonated homebrew! Is this your first batch?

(I came from 20SB)

Trouble.Thinks said...

Mmmm... Beeeeeeer...Impressive!! Now all you need is a commercial with some hotties in bikinis surrounding you as you sip your ice cold beer. Hey, I'm sure I could round up some Canadian babes, and obviously I would volunteer myself for such an event in exchange for a bottle haaaa.

jen said...

Hmm, I dance well with beer...could I have an application form? hehe

Bryan Schatz said...

Awesome. Maybe next time I'm down there you could show me the ropes? I could finally brew my long-desired "Marmot Piss Ale!"

Martin said...

Sioux - This write-up was not my first batch, but that picture with the finished beer WAS from the first one.

TT - You might be onto something here. You round up the bikini girls and Ill bring the camera and beers.

Jen - Absolutely

Bryan - Let me know when you can be here, and i will schedule a batch.

Venom said...

I somewhat hestitate to bring up the subject of the calorie-laden bread again, but what the hell...

At least this topic is more manly-man than the Barbie post that advocated wrapping a buffalo burger in a leaf of lettuce.

Beer = sweet memories. Ahhhh.

linda said...

cool! my friend deesh made his own beer for a while.

okay, i failed today in not reading.

Anonymous said...

Brewing and bottling your own ale is so satisfying. Except when you have 40 pints of the stuff sitting in your porch and you feel the need to consume it ALL within a few weeks. Ahem. I also tried Elderflower Champagne, but too much yeast and the bottles tended to spontaneously explode. Good party trick though.

Anonymous said...

bottled happiness. mmm. you've got 44 reasons to party.

Martin said...

Venom - I hope you get out of the wheelchair soon. Your feisty with all of this pent-up energy.

Linda - Hi Linda :)

LOTM - The exploding bottle thing is a concern with beer as well. I am a bit paranoid about it, and I always just barely crack the closet door to look in on them first, make sure they arent going to go all suicide bomber on me.

Big Show - Unfortunately, supply rarely keeps up with demand.

Casey said...

This post rocks!

Riley Carson said...

... if I still drank beer, I'd applaud this, but since I no longer eat grains, I'll just salivate at the thought and curse you for tempting me so...