Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dark Cherry Stout

Time to make more beer.  Last weekend I had a family party and was in a homebrew competition in Waterloo, IA at Beers to You.  I went through 8 gallons of homebrew, and I'm running low.  Today I'm brewing an extract kit put together by Jerry in Dubuque.  He owns Bluff St. Brew Haus, a homebrew supply shop, and make his own kits. His kits are great.  Now, I usually don't make kits, as I like to brew my own recipes, but my fantastic wife got me this kit for Christmas.  Also, for the last year I've been brewing all grain, instead of extract.

All grain takes twice the time as extract, but you control every once of ingredient and temperature during the process.  Most homebrewers start off with extract, move to partial mash, than go all grain.  Many who go all grain never look back, and just keep making larger and more expensive system.  That's great, if you have a ton of time, and lots of extra money lying around.  I know I don't.  When I brew all grain I use a 5 gallon cooler as a mash tun, and have 2 -5 gallon pots that I split the boil on my stove.  This system works great for me, not so much for others.  That's one of the great thing about homebrewing, there is no one way to do things, there are lots of ways.  Just figure what works best for you, your space, time, and money, and you can make great beer at home with or without all he fancy, shiny equipment.
Above is the heart of my all grain set up.

Below is my stout starting to boil, and me adding the first hops at the beginning of the boil.

Below is my immersion chiller.  At the end of the boil, it's important to cool down the wort (unfermented beer) as quick as possible.  This decreases the chances of an infection in the beer.  Next we add the yeast, and let it sit for a couple of weeks before transferring to the keg.

Of course there's always the clean up afterwards.  This is an important step, both in the beer making process, and keeping a happy wife!

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