A Story of Home Brewing
Written by Bill VanEenenaam, Lead Brewer
Home brewing is something that got many of us at Perrin interested in becoming professional brewers. It typically starts with enjoying craft beer or your first IPA. The eyes light up wondering what this new flavor and aroma combination is that you are experiencing. Well home brewing is the answer to get to the bottom of it and find out.
You get online, do your research and you’re off to the local homebrew store for a starter and recipe kit. You borrow the biggest stock pot your great aunt Gertrude has. After a brief visit and a few hard candies you are off and running. Once arriving home, you open everything up like a kid on Christmas morning. Among all the research you’ve done there is a recurring requirement that they pound into your head “relax and have a beer” you can’t argue with the experts! You begin boiling the wort and start to add in the hops. This aroma begins to fill your kitchen, smelling so great. What could be better than taking part in something humans have done since the dawn of civilization? Upon finishing the brewing process, off to fermentation the wort goes. This is the toughest part; the wait. In this step, you are no longer in control and there is little you can do to speed this process. Your new creation has been left in the hands of single cell organisms, what have you done!
It has been a day and you start to worry. As the research stated, you should begin seeing some activity from your air-lock. Just relax and have a beer, you can’t argue with the experts. Finally, you here a “Click” from the air lock you run over to look “Click-Click” the air-lock bubbles. It’s working! This is wonderful, giddy as a school girl you grab your roommate, girlfriend, mom, dad, neighbor or whoever is near by. Drag them over to your closet where you stashed this magical creation. “Look-look do you see it bubbling!” They are not nearly as impressed as you are, they just don’t understand.
A few more days go by and the bubbling slows down until there is no activity. At this point its time to put the brew into another secondary container. You transfer it over and wait impatiently a week or so. It’s 5am on a Saturday morning, your eye shoot open for today is bottling day. The bottle collection has been going on for the past months; saving bottles, peeling labels and wiping the glue clean. As 5:10am approaches you crack your first beer of the day (can’t argue with the experts). Prep and sanitize the bottles, add priming sugar to the beer for carbonation, and start filling. After capping the last beer and cleaning the kitchen you now have to face more waiting. The experts recommend a minimum of two weeks for bottle conditioning but what do they know! You decide to try one just to make sure that the beer is processing along. You may admit I needs a bit more time for conditioning but it’s getting there! Another week goes by and it has to be ready now. Chill one down, crack it open, and pour it into a glass. You can admire the copper color and the frothy white foam on the top of the glass. This is the moment of truth your heart is racing with anticipation. It’s amazing you can taste the love that went into crafting this brew. It has a green apple flavor that is layered with a hint of buttery popcorn, cooked corn and cardboard. Okay, well maybe it isn’t perfect but you love it anyways. Another week goes by, there is only six bottles remaining. Curious to see how it ages, place the remaining bottles in the cellar.
Time to brew again! You’re a day away from bottling your second batch and you wake up in the middle of the night to something that sounds like a gunshot. Are you having flashbacks of the war, what’s going on!? As you gather your wits and investigate, the sounds came directly from your closet. Yup, sure enough your bottles are blowing up. You may have heard that this can be possible when you rush the process. In the end, while that first homebrew is the worst, it also can be the most memorable.