Long-time fans may already know that we here at I'll Eat You engage in the production of adult beverages from time to time. Lately, with the aid of a beermaking kit from our good friend J (who was behind Project Manhattan), I've been trying to make a habit of brewing my own beer.
For those who don't know much about the practice, making beer at home is really quite easy if you have good directions and access to good supplies. There are a ton of places online where you kind find recipes for homebrews of every variety under the sun, and in Philly, we're lucky enough to have a few spots to buy homebrew supplies. For the sakes of proximity and cost-effectiveness, I got my ingredients at Barry's Homebrew Outlet, home of the always knowledgeable and affable Barry.
Back in June I made a batch of Saison, which came out pretty well. The flavor wasn't terribly strong, but it did have some of the desirable "funky" characteristics of a Saison, owing partly to the unique strain of yeast used in its production. It took longer than expected to carbonate, but Barry advises me that this may have been because I left too much empty space in the bottles.
So I will know better this time, when I bottle my brown ale in a few weeks. My hope is to have it ready in time for Christmas so I can give some away as gifts. I started with this recipe I found on beertools.com.
The color and richness in this beer will (hopefully) come from the dark crystal and chocolate malts that were steeped in the water as it came to a boil. Six pounds of light powdered malt extract provide the rest of the beer's backbone and the delicious sugars that my battalions of yeast will feed upon, creating glorious alcohol in their wake. The hops are of the Styrian Goldings, Willamette and Tettnanger varieties. In a departure from the recipe and in an effort to make it a little more holiday-ish, I did add a small amount of spices at the end of the boil. (If the beer turns out well, I'll let you know what they were.)
So check back in a few weeks for an update ... in the meantime, I'll be on the lookout for bubbling and the mildly intoxicating aroma of yeast doing their thing!