Monday, December 12, 2011


On Saturday, with permission from The Mrs., I headed 15 minutes south to Ozark, Missouri to pick up my Christmas present a little early. It's a basic brew kit from The Home Brewery , our local brewing and wine making equipment purveyor. As I understand it, we're quite lucky to have such a place nearby.

Everything I picked up on Saturday. I still need a cook pot and wort chiller, but I have most of the things I need to get started with beer.

I am making cider for my first brewing attempt. Most Americans would call it "hard cider", but I think it's just "cider" to everyone else. Maybe, Apfelwein, in German.

Touring Mother's Brewery a while back really sealed the deal for me on home brewing. But beer will have to wait, I don't have a cook pot yet, or a wort chiller. I'll be picking those up in the coming months. Likely after Christmas, when all of the more important purchases for the family are said and done. Cider can be made with just a small number of things, so that's to be my first attempt at a fermented beverage of awesomeness.

To make cider, all you need is...

I picked up a one gallon bottle of apple juice at MaMa Jean's Natural Market on Saturday. You can make cider from apples you juice yourself, juice you pick up from a local orchard and even from store bought stuff. The main thing to look for in store bought, is that it have no preservatives or additives. They retard the growth of good organisms, like your yeast, as well as the bad guys that could have you sharing an uncomfortable embrace with your toilet. I bought this pasteurized stuff for simplicity, I didn't have to wait 24 hours to kill off a possible bad culture with campden tablets before adding my yeast.

IMPORTANT: No additives or preservatives!

After sterilizing everything in a solution made with Easy Clean, I opened up my bottle, took a hydrometer reading, poured in 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme and a third of the SAF Ale S-04 Yeast 11.5g packet (just guessing here, some recipes called for a pack of yeast, I'm assuming they meant a 5g pack, so I tried to hit that by eye). I then put in the stopper and airlock, poured in a little vodka in the airlock and capped it. Then set it on the kitchen counter, in a corner that doesn't get direct sunlight. Cleaned up my mess and grinned to myself, having started a new adventure.

Bubbles! About one blurp every eight seconds, this morning. About 11-12 hours after getting it started.

I watched the first bubble bloop before heading to bed. By the time I got up the next morning, maybe 10 hours after I was finished with the procedure, it was blooping once every eight seconds and had a slight froth on the surface. Pretty cool! In 5-7 days, I will likely move it over to secondary fermentation, maybe add some cinnamon (not sure on this yet) and then bottle when all fermentation seems to have quit. Hopefully, I'll have made something decent and drinkable, with luck, maybe even something good!

UPDATE: By the time I had made it home from work, it was burping out a bubble a second and has been since.


Shawn said...

Inspiring! My wife is always asking me why I haven't started homebrewing yet. I have no sensible answer.

Trevor said...

I had a few friends asking me the same. I toured our local Mother's Brewing Company a while back and it was the kick in the pants that I needed to get me off the fence on the subject. It's fun and gives me something new to obsess over and read about.

I'll be able to take homebrew on sailing and kayaking excursions, come the warm weather. So looking forward to it.

Next on the brewing agenda, Grapefruit Wine! I'm doing what I can until I have a few more items to start making beer - wort chiller, cook pot and some other minor things that are required.