Beer, From Scratch

Yes, that's right, it is the return of From Scratch Weekends, where Ryan and I make something entirely from scratch, or at least as much as possible.  Over the summer, I travelled, Ryan travelled, and we even got to travel together, so it was hard to be home at the same time, with nothing else going on, in order to invest a whole day into kicking some butt in the culinary arena.

We did however, have time for a very special, From Scratch month long adventure. 

Since we are so into this From Scratch idea, I bought Ryan a home brew system to make his own beer.  The most ridiculous part was that I felt so awesome and creative for ordering this, and then one day Ryan comes home and read in a magazine that the read at the barber about the best way to save money these days is to brew your own beer.  He was raving about this article, the kit he saw, and this twinkle in his eye led me to believe he was mere seconds away from hoping on the computer to order one.  I immediately jumped in, and said, "I wouldn't order that if I were you".  He seemed confused for a second and I just said it again.  Finally he got the hint (knowing his birthday was approaching), and apologized for making me have to let the cat out of the bag on that one.  hey, at least we are on the same wave length and I know my husband's likes very well.

Meet Mr. Beer.
I discovered this while playing around on Amazon, and I just knew this was perfect.  It comes with a cute little keg barrel for brewing, and all the little pieces are packed nicely inside.
We started with the Golden Lager.
The first step in the whole process is cleaning and sanitizing.  This is crucial for the beeer to do it's thing.  After this step, we created the wort, which used this booster.
We also would not consider making this beer with anything other than bottled water.  The water does make a difference in taste and quality.  Even though I would drink the water, it is good to use bottle for things like brewing beer, and even coffee can be effected by the water.

So this booster was boiled, and then removed from the heat.  At that time, the American Lager mix was added in.
After this, we transferred to the keg, and added the yeast.  This step is where fermentation occurs.  Here is where the waiting game started.  For at least 7 days, the beer has to stay out in a constant temperature that is not too hot and not too cold.  In our house without AC orHeat, we have no climate control, so this was the part that worried us most.  We selected our old food pantry that flooded in the winter time.  It was cool, but not too cool, and dark.  This is why I have no pictures of the beer at this point.  The 7 days was no problem, because Ryan was leaving for Germany for a week, and then we were off to Paris for another 6 days.  The directions say it is better to leave longer, so this was perfect timing for us.

When we came home from our vacation, it was time to bottle.
The kit comes with 8 bottles.  The first step again is cleaning and sanitizing.  This is probably the most time consuming step, other than actually waiting.
I know you can't really tell, but there is beer inside and it looked like the yeast did allow for fermentation.  This keg has a little tap on the end, but again, it is hard to see in this picture.
The bottling process allows for carbonation and secondary fermemntation.  This fermentation relies on added sugar that will feed the yeast.
My job was adding sugar and it took a few tries, including making a mess all over the counter and floor, but I finally mastered the technique.
Ryan filled each bottle (you can see my massive sugar mess...we just do not have enough counter space).
Then you give a little shake to dissolve the sugar, and the bottle are ready for the next 7 day wait.  We put the bottles back in the pantry.  Ryan was heading to the States for a week, and this is only a minimum of 7 days, so the timing was perfect again.
It was very awesome to see the bottling process complete.
Here is the leftover from the brewing that did not get added to the bottles. 
As you may have guessed, Ryan just came home, so it was time to give this beer a taste.  Originally, he wanted to use his stein from the Hofbrauhaus, which he picked up in Germany.  There are loactions in the US too, so you may have heard of it.  We used to go to the one in Vegas, so it was neat for Ryan to go to a "real" one.  Of course, after he saw my Stella glass, he changed his mind and got a Stella glass too.
At this time, we had moved some to the fridge.  If you leave the beer in the fridge for a bit, it can be conditioned, in the manner known as lagering.  Since this is a lage, not a bad idea, but some had to be tried right away.
Wow!  It looks like real beer.
I was so impressed that this looked and smelled like beer, but the real test comes from tasting.
This even tasted like real beer...probably because we had successfully made ourselves beer FROM SCRATCH!

I honestly have nothing but compliments for the Mr. Beer product.  This was indeed some darn fine beer.  You better believe we will be brewing again soon and often.

QUESTIONS:  Do you like beer?  What is your favorite kind of beer?  Have you ever brewed your own beer or drank someone elses home brew?

12 comments:

Gina; The Candid RD said...

This is AWESOME!!! I make my own ice cream already, and grow my own squash, why not start making my own beer?! Nick and I are HUGE FANS of beer! We love it all (except for Guiness, really). Thanks for the demo and tips, I may have to get one of these one day!!! SO COOL!

Simply Life said...

wow! what a fun process!

Lori said...

Huge beer fan, from the flavor to the history. We try to go to a brewery every time we travel. So far nothing can beat German beer straight from the source for me. My husband has wanted to try brewing his own for a while now, but hasn't yet. He is actually working on a 2nd masters in brewing and distilling because it is offered through his employer. Very interesting stuff.

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

Wow, I am impressed! I am glad to hear it turned out so well!
I love Blue Moon's! yum!
I have never been to the Hofbrahaus in Vegas. I really need to check it out!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

How cool!!! You have made some very impressive from scratch meals, but I think this is the most fun one yet! :) I've never made my own beer nor tasted anyone's homemade beer...

Sook said...

That is crazy!! :) Who would have ever thought to make beer at home. :)

Beth said...

We're dogfish head people. It's always in our fridge. But that could be because we just love DFH so much along with everything else in Delaware!

Noel and his brother used to homebrew (before my time).

Mer said...

I like some beers! I like Wheat/White beers. I think we once brewed our own, but I can't remember! We have had others...friends of matts parents bring their own brew to Christmas every year...and Liz and Eric used to always make their own...until Eric came down with a gluten allergy :(

sophia said...

Oh wow. Melinda. You are ALWAYS impressing me. You just never stop! My bro would love this. He's all into alcohol. I, unfortunately, am a wimp and can't drink beer.

Melissa said...

I'm so glad you posted this. My boyfriend is always talking about brewing our own beer but I always say no because I think it will smell and make a huge mess. But you proved me wrong. I have a feeling that we'll be brewing something later this fall!

Emily said...

So neat that you made your own beer. You're right, it would make a great gift.

I'm not a huge beer fan, but I like ciders a lot, especially during the fall. I also love pumpkin beer from this local brewery in St. Louis called Shlafly's.

MelissaNibbles said...

Wow, that's really cool. I have a few friends that brew beer. They take it SERIOUS. It looks tough!

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