OK… Look. I’m trying to live a healthy lifestyle (nice swim workout this morning… btw). I work out six or seven days a week, sometimes twice a day. I pay attention to what I eat and don’t do anything stupid. But two of my greatest loves in life are cooking and (my only vice) beer. Yes, I drink occasionally, but “usually” (I’m looking at YOU Uwe…) just beer. I love beer, not as a habit, but as a great beverage like a fine wine or good single malt. I am VERY picky about my beer. To the point that I actually started brewing my own back in the day. It was awesome and I made MUCH better beer than I could ever buy, and WAY cheaper.
I gave up my recipes along the way and eventually just got out of it, but I was always sad about that. I had secretly hoped that someday I could start brewing again, along with doing more barbecue and smoked meats/veggies, etc. When we moved to Missouri I thought about it some but got caught up in re-establishing my life and it got lost along the way. But now, after nearly 4 years here, I began to think about it again. Unfortunately, the Smoker I want is a little pricey so that will have to wait, but I found a friend who had switched from brewing to making mead and was selling his stuff. I met him and bought just enough stuff to get back into single batch (5 gallons) brewing. Nothing fancy, but I really did love brewing and having a batch or two around to share or knock the edge off a particularly hard workout seems a small price to pay in calories for the joy it gives me.
So, all that being said, things fell into place last weekend for me to start back into the homebrewing hobby. A co-worker/friend had planted a kit he recieved but never brewed under my desk one day about a year ago. I didn’t even notice it for a month after he put it there, but I figured it would be a good, no cost, jump start back into brewing. My only concern was that the yeast might be old and wouldn’t be viable. But I decided to give it a shot anyway.
My lovely, darling, tolerant wife even indulged me with a Turkey Deep Fryer from Bass Pro. Not to deep fry turkeys, but it is actually the perfect setup for brewing. Since I am fermenting downstairs in my shop (good temperature control, like a cave) it didn’t make any sense to cook the beer in my kitchen for two reasons. First, carrying 5 gallons of pre beer in a glass bottle, down several dozen stairs is ludicrous, and second… beer stinks. Making the house smell like the Bud plant was a sure way to make my return to the hobby “short term”…
This cooker, by the way, is a really great set up. The cooker has a timer that can’t go more than 20 minutes so you can’t overcook the beer and it forces you to PAY ATTENTION and not wander off and ruin a batch. Second, the cook pot is plenty tall enough to brew a batch without fear of spilling and there are metal supports on either side of the burner that hold the brew pot firmly in place so you don’t need 3 hands while sturring or adding stuff. That and it lets me brew on my lower deck by my shop, which has one of the better views in Columbia!
So to make a short story long, there is now a carboy full of a simple wheat beer happily bubbling away in my shop. It should be ready just in time for Christmas!! I might even try to get another batch of yummy, sweet, dark, spicy, VERY alcoholic, Christmas Barleywine rockin’. I think if I get it going by Friday it will be ready by Christmas too!
No, I don’t plan on drinking a lot. One batch makes enough to fill a Cornelius keg (about 2 cases) and it usually lasts several months… Unles friends are involved, then we can usually float one in an afternoon… But just like making a good meal with fresh ingredients and good quality meats is a decadent pleasure, a GOOD brew now and then is an indulgence that I think I can afford. Anybody wanna help me “test” it?