In this month’s edition of Beer Church, the bombers flowed smoothly as we started off with the beer tasting:
- Fnord – Illumination Brew Works
- Zeus’s Sexual Appetite – One Well Brewing
- Fresh IIPA V3 – Hubbard’s Cave
- Wreckagemaster – Solemn Oath Brewery
- Creme Brulee Stout – Southern Tier
- Neopolitan Stout Barrel Aged – Saugatuck
- Buffalo Sweat – Tall Grass Beer
After several rounds of tasting, we headed to Brew & Grow to start on our Brown Ale. If you’ve never gone to Brew & Grow, this brew shop will have everything you need to start your own batch of beer from start to finish.
Gathering our ingredients entailed grabbing a cart with a bucket and scale attached and digging through our recipe book to catch all of our various grains needed for the mash. We also grabbed some yeast and hops pellets to finish up our collecting. Of course when you go to Brew & Grow you can sample some of their brews while you shop.
While the wort was being prepared I then decided it was grilling time!
Using a 75% / 25% fat mix, the beef was rolled into giant meat balls for smashing.
Once the burgers are made into balls, it’s time to smash them down and evening out the edges to make solid patties that will not disintegrate or crumble on the flame. Salt, pepper, cajun seasoning were added on both sides of the burger.
Once the charcoal (which was started before the burgers were started) turns white, the lighter fluid should have burnt off and the grill is ready for use. Toss on the buns to toast them but pay attention or they can scorch to a crisp. Toss on the burgers with a spatula and note that the center is the hottest area so burgers are susceptible to scorching if you’re not careful.
Add condiments if necessary, and avoid shrinkage by removing the burgers before they are charred to a crisp. Grill flame can get up to 500 degrees, so watch out or you or your food may get burnt!
Back in brewing land, while the mash was settling, the kettle was loaded with water and lit to reach 190 degrees.
After letting the wort settle, it was time to separate the sugars from the grain.
In sparging we rinse the grain with hot water that is about 170 degrees, using the wrong temp can result in unwanted consequences!
After the wort is in the kettle we turn back on the turkey fryer in order to begin the sterilization process and killing off bacteria. As we mix the wort with a giant paddle, the heat coming from the turkey fryer singes everyone’s shins.
Once the wort is heated up, we then cool it down by pumping cold water through the copper coils to bring the temperature back down. Once the temperature drops, we then pump the remainder through a tube into the carboy.
Here our decision to use pellet hops cause a lot of blockages in the tubes. Using a mesh or filter bag on the pellet hops may have prevented some blockage but we were able to get most of the wort out into the carboy and did not smash it.
From last Beer Church we got to this final end stage and this handle failed causing the carboy to fall and smash all over the shop floor. We were not to be tricked again and employed a harness setup to prevent any dropping.
Overall another successful Beer Church, we now have beer in progress which will be ready to be tapped soon. Next iteration will use Creeping Charlie as the bittering agent in lieu of hops so it will be interesting to see how these two beers compare when it’s time.
If you are interested in beer or brewing, make sure to stop by next month’s edition of Beer Church!