Jamie and I bottled a batch of home brewed beer that we titled 13 Hop. Not because it has thirteen kinds of hops, but because we used all the hops that we harvested in 2013. All of it, which was two quart jars cram packed with dried hops! We also used left over bits of grains and malt, so this is a completely original beer. It can never be recreated, because we have no idea what we used since we didn't take any notes. I like the
lazy inventive nature of our recent home brews. Whenever we talk shop with our brewing buddy though, he always asks what kind of beer we are making and rolls his eyes when he finds out we didn't follow a recipe. Recipe shmeshcipe, I say.
The photo above is of the hydrometer that we use to check the sugar/alcohol content of the beer. Basically, when there is lots of sugar in the beer the hydrometer floats higher, and when the yeast have turned the sugar to alcohol is sinks further into the beer. If you notice it has some numbers and colors on it, and we try to start out with the surface of the beer hitting in the middle of the orange part, and end with the surface of the beer hitting in the upper green part. It's all very scientific.
It's sometimes hard to tell where the surface of the beer is as the hydrometer is floating in sudsy beer foam, but as you can see in the photo above, we started out right on target. Once the fermentation was complete, I should have been able to float the hydrometer in the beer and then do some fancy math that would tell me the alcohol content of the beer. Unfortunately, this system only works if I remember to actually use the hydrometer before we bottle, which I frequently forget to do, like this time. It's not a problem though, since I've found that my favorite test for alcohol content is to quickly drink a bottle on an empty stomach. Measuring the efficiency of the beer in this way is way more fun than math!
But, before we get to the fun part, there's the waiting part. The beer sits in a bucket with an airlock for a week or so. Or, as is the case with 13 Hop Beer, if we get too
lazy busy to rack and bottle the beer, it sits in the bucket for over a month and a half. Oops.
We have never left a bucket of beer to ferment for that long before, so we were very nervous about what we would find when we pulled the lid off. Isn't it weird looking?! I guess the yeast sort of bloomed on the top of the beer and made a semi dry crust. Is this bad? Who knows. I guess we'll find out when we drink it!
As you can see, the beer we siphoned from under the yeasty crust was a nice dark color, and the taste was actually very good. I let Jamie take the first drink and monitored his vitals (i.e. waited for him to die) before I tasted it myself though.
Why did we wait so long to bottle the beer? Not only have we been very busy, but Joe is on farmers hours these days and he has a new baby, so he's
worthless really busy, which means were are missing one third of our enthusiasm, which is significant when it comes to washing over forty bottles.
Look at it! Aren't they lovely. Cross your fingers that they carbonate. I hope we didn't starve our yeast to death by waiting so long to add some sugar and bottle the beer.