El Brew

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This past weekend I got my celebration on. First, I was in Astoria when Ecuador won their world cup game and you really couldn’t not celebrate because they were celebrating everywhere {seriously it was kind of ridic}. Second, was my adorable bunjer of a niece’s {we like to make up words in my family} first birthday party.  And third, we celebrated Father’s Day a week late. For Father’s Day this year, my Dad got a beer brewed {and labeled!} in his honor, which is a great way for me to show off my beer brewing skills on the blog.

Though you can’t really judge said skills till you’ve had a sip, but whatevvvss. Just go with it.

I won’t bore you with ALL the back story of how we started homebrewing – you’ll find out over time – but Evan and I started brewing in 2012 after brewing with some friends. We’ve got about 7 batches under our belt, and after a year and half off, we’re back at it again. The beer is awesome to have around the house {it impresses people}, and it also makes for an excellent gift to beer drinkers.

As a side note to any brewers reading this, we exclusively brew with extract. Not that I don’t want to, but I live in an urban apartment and don’t exactly have the space to set up and store an all grain system.

For those of you reading this being like “extract??? all grain??? There are different ways to brew beer?” you can read about it HERE. But essentially extract brewing is when you add a malt extract to your beer after steeping the grains. All Grain brewing is when you extract the malt or sugars from the grain and malted barley through a process called mashing. All Grain is how all major breweries brew their beer, and is obviously the more advanced and cooler way to homebrew.

Anywayyyyy, back to our beer. We have so aptly named ours EL Brew {E=Evan, L=Lisa}, and for Father’s Day 2014 we brewed and English Pale Ale from a Brewer’s Best Kit.

This batch I brewed all by myself. Evan’s not so into all the science of brewing, so it’s slowly become my hobby. Plus at one point I think we bottled like 3 batches in a row and it’s amazing we didn’t kill each other. Bottling has to be so very, very, VERY clean, but it’s such a messy process, and that makes us argue.

IMG_8620

English Pale Ale
Ingredients and Instructions

Brew Day was May 11.

I quickly read over the instructions, but having been a year and half since our last brew I was definitely rusty. I had 170F as the steeping temp, not the max temp. I realized my mistake quickly and brought the temp down to about 160F. Other than that the boil was on point in terms of not overboiling, not scorching the fermentables, and sticking to the timing of the hops. My Dad gave me a sweet digital thermometer that’s magnetized that I rigged up over the boil pot to keep a constant eye on the temperature.


{this picture is old, but ironically, it’s from the first time we brewed this exact same beer}

Original Gravity was 1.042 at 72 F.

Since we also live in apartment, we have a bit of an issue controlling the temperature at which our beer ferments. And yeast is a finicky little B when it comes to temperature. Fortunately, this strain of yeast is comfortable between 57F and 70F. Unfortunately, the first days of fermentation it was hot out and the beer reached almost 80F. This sped up the process, though we were able to get it back down to around 70F for the rest of fermentation. We did this by storing our beer in the bathroom – the most temperature stable room in the house.

Yes, THE BATHROOM.

Fermentation was pretty much complete in 7 days, but I let it rest for a few more for safety. We didn’t end up bottling till May 28th, which sucked because it was a Tuesday night, and I was leaving for vacation, and bottling is intense.

Final Gravity was 1.010 at 70F, which gave us an ABV of 4.5%


{this is also an old picture, but also ironically, we used the same caps this time around}

Anyway, the beer was ready for drinking on June 11th. Evan and I had our first tastes that weekend. It’s a great, light flavored pale ale, medium body, almost fruity in flavor with a nice caramel malty finish. It’s not subtly bitter in terms of beer flavor, and is quite excellent for summer drinking.

I named it our Flying Ace Pale Ale, this being the specialty Father’s Day 2014 edition, and for the first time in all our brewing actually made labels!

Flying Ace Pale Ale

My dad has always had an obsession affinity for World War I Airplanes and the Flying Aces, so the name choice was obvious. I photoshopped these labels and affixed them to bottles given out to several of the “Dads” in my life. The rest are sitting under our kitchen table. And yes, that’s my Dad’s face flying the triplane. Sorry, Dad. I know how you feel about the internet.

 

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One thought on “El Brew

  1. Pingback: From Rhubarb to Roasted Vegetables: The Story of my Failed Weekend | Lisa in Flux

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