submitted by Tom Linehan

Intro_to_homebrew_005Cold and wet on a Saturday afternoon. Those are perfect conditions for homebrewing. Eight people attended Jeff Young’s very thorough Intro to Homebrewing session held at my house in Allandale. Three had never brewed before and the rest had varying degrees of brewing experience. All came away knowing a lot more about homebrewing. In another 2 weeks, we’ll have a keg of Irish Red ready for consumption. All indications are it will be good.

While the steps in the process are simple, understanding what’s behind them is more complex. And making it come out just right is the craft. Start with 4 basic ingredients: grain, hops, water, and yeast. Step one is making the wort, consisting of water, grain, and hops. Cook it, cool it down and transfer it to a 5 gallon plastic fermenter. Add the yeast and let it ferment for about a week. Transfer it to a secondary fermenter for another week and then keg or bottle it. Those are the steps.

And as Jeff took us through the process he talked about the necessary equipment and ingredients. Make sure you use water that has minerals in it. Distilled water does not. Austin tap water is fine. The bulk of your grain will consist of your base malt but it’s the specialty grain you top it off with that will more directly influence the character and flavor of the beer. We talked about flat pak yeast vs the yeast that comes in tubes. And hops, why use the hop pellets vs. the dried hop leaves? Jeff went over it all.

And while the wort was on the stove boiling we had a chance to taste/discuss some popular commercial beers. Which of the following beers has a hint of cream corn: Heineken, Red Hook ESB, Rolling Rock, or Anchor Steam? It was a great afternoon of learning an age-old craft.

If you have a craft class that you’d like covered by the Allandalereporter, email me [Email address: allandalereporter #AT# - replace #AT# with @ ].