Homebrewing With Friends

Posted on January 20, 2010 by

outdoor-brew-day-2Jay invited me out to his lake cabin this past Sunday to help me learn more about my new found hobby, brewing. He was going to show me his process and have a few beers while we listened to the Vikings game. I’m by no means a Vikings fan, but I do like football, and that is pretty much the team anyone follows around here. Anyway, I had no idea what to expect, see, I had just met Jay this past summer at my in-laws Fourth of July party. We started to talk about beer and a couple hours later…hmmm…I don’t think I remember. Must’ve been fun!

I just knew the day was going to be a good one. I mean, I was going to do some brewing, drink some beer, and listen to a game, and…and, it was unseasonably warm that day, which we LOVE in Fargo. So I got to Jay’s house which is seated on a beautiful lake about 40 minutes from my house. The brew kettle and kegs were already working when I got there. I was offered a Scottish Ale and an IPA, homebrewed right there. I have to say it was delicious. The Scottish Ale looked dirty and dark reddish brown. It was close to the end, but I’ll tell you it tasted pretty awesome. It was the perfect beer to start my day off.

jays-ipaThe pot was already boiling up with some deep dark colored grains, almost turning the water black. Jay told me that he dumped the rest of the pot of coffee he had in there as well. See, as a second time homebrewing this was very refreshing to me. The first time I brewed I was so nervous about getting everything right that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. I guess when Charlie Papazian writes in his “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing”, “Relax, have a homebrew,” he wasn’t kidding. I suppose that is just what happens when you start something new. I thought that comment really popped my proverbial cherry and I was ready to brew.

“Relax, have a homebrew.” -Charlie Papazian

During the course of the day another one of Jay’s friends showed up, whom I happen to know from my in-laws as well. We ended up brewing three batches of homebrew and one batch of ginger ale. We had a lot of fun shooting the shit, listening to the Vikes play, eating, brewing, and of course, drinking homebrew.

We made an Irish Stout, a “girl beer”, and a experimental Nut Brown Clone.

It was such an eye opening experience. Having the capabilities to smell and taste all of the ingredients was great for helping my smelling and tasting profile. I think next time I’ll bring jars with me and collect a few samples. I’m such a scientist…Jay is the true scientist though. He introduced me to a drink that I’ll always drink when I have the chance. He calls them “Hot Toddies”. When the wort gets transferred from the pot to the fermenter he pours a little extra out into a glass, mixes it with a little water, and a shot of Scotch. They are simply amazing.

When the wort gets transferred from the pot to the fermenter he pours a little extra out into a glass, mixes it with a little water, and a shot of Scotch

wort-chillerThe other thing that I thought was the coolest little homebrew “gadget” was the brand new wort chiller. Such a simple design and if you ever wanted to know how to make a wort chiller, I think it would be relatively inexpensive. Regardless, this thing cooled his 3 gallons of wort in less than 10 minutes. That has to save so much time it is ridiculous. I know I’ll be looking into making one.

So, all in all, it was a pretty awesome day. Food, drink, football, and good people. Really, what more could a guy ask for?

Remember, if your friends ever ask you to help them homebrew, do it, is a pretty damn fun time.

Thanks Jay!

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