Ok, here it is—the beer post!
You hopefully remember when I introduced you to Wort, whom Miss Chef had created and installed in this comfy, er, plastic bucket.
For those who are unfamiliar, wort is what you call the first step in brewing beer. It involves heating malt and hops, then adding yeast (and probably some other stuff) to start fermentation. Wort was scheduled to brew two weeks in here. Since Miss Chef is a fairly high-level procrastinator, he got an extra week. No biggie; Wort’s pretty easy-going at this stage.
The next step is to move Wort out from his low-rent plastic bucket into higher-class bottles. (Miss Chef has borrowed most of this equipment from a friend who’s brewed several of her own batches. That includes some of the bottles, as you’ll see. We also saved some from our grill-warming party, thus some unrelated labeling.)
The first, and probably most important step is sterilization. Everything that will touch the beer gets a two-minute soak in iodine water.
Next is the great unveiling…how does Wort look now?
Um, well…not too bad, actually. We were really impressed when we stuck our noses over the bucket and smelled beer! The scummy looking stuff is from the hops, which Miss Chef didn’t realize she should have strained out before fermentation. It probably won’t hurt it, other than maybe making it more “hoppy.” But it did add a step here of straining the hops out before bottling. The other step here is to add some sugar, for additional fermentation that will create that bubbly carbonation we expect in our beer.
The bottling itself is pretty straightforward: attach a tube to the bucket and flip the spigot.
What you can’t see in this picture is all the beer that overflowed and spattered on the floor. Miss Chef soon realized a second bucket below would make things a lot less messy, but not before Rosie got a sampling of Wort’s good character.
Speaking of characters, Miss Chef also borrowed this funky-looking guy to seal the caps on the bottles.
(Doesn’t it look like an “Oh no!” face??)
You place this straight on top of the capped bottle, then pull the two levers down. It takes a little elbow grease, but it’s not too hard.
And voilà! Miss Chef’s first case of beer!
Does it look yummy?
How about now?
What, you didn’t think we threw all the overflow in that bucket down the drain, did you? Ok, well it tastes really, really bitter right now. It needs at least two more weeks for the final fermentation, and the longer it ferments, the more those bitter hops will mellow. Already, behind that biting bitterness, there’s a lot of flavor. So it should be interesting to see how it tastes in a couple of weeks, and beyond.
On the other hand, Miss Chef has mentioned more than once that, if you really want to, you can try it after only one week. Heck, with over two cases of beer, we can try one every week from now ‘til the end of the year!
Unless you all show up on our doorstep, looking for a taste…then we might have to start another batch.