Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lucky Leap Year Beer (LLYB)

The approach of our annual St. Patrick's Day beer tasting with our friend and fellow brewer inspired us to dust off our brewing supplies and make a batch of home brewed beer.  We were aiming for a brew on Leap Day, but by the time Joe, Jamie, and I managed to gather ourselves, our scattered supplies, and come up with a plan, it was the second day of March.  No worries, we still brewed in the Leap Year, right?  

In the photo above you can see how the packet of yeast in warm water turned to yeasty froth within an hour, despite the packet being old and stored un-refrigerated.  The beer we brewed used two new cans of malt extract, but all the hops and flavoring malts came from our collection of left-over ingredients.  We roughly followed a recipe, but used what we had on hand.  Because we didn't have any powdered malt, we substituted about a half a bag of dark brown sugar.  We ended up with a full five gallons of beer with a gravity reading in the right range.  We hardly ever get a full five gallons, so I hope the brown sugar tastes good because it made a lot of beer!

The beer was ready to bottle by St. Patrick's Day - so we named it our Lucky Leap Year Beer.  We used the handy diary-house sink that Brandon and I bought from the farm auction to wash and sterilize fifty bottles.    

This sink is even big enough to soak five gallon buckets!  It was a little chilly outside to have our hands wet, but I was excited to find out that we can bottle beer without destroying the kitchen in the process.  

Not that we needed the kitchen for cooking, since Brandon was there to grill us up some dinner.  Welcome, grilling season! 

We siphoned the beer into a bucket with a spicket.  

The beer tasted flat, of course, but the color and flavor were pretty good, especially for a made up recipe using left over ingredients.  

We ended up with forty-seven bottles of beer.  Since we only spent thirty dollars on the malt extract, this means our beer only cost us sixty-eight cents per bottle.  Not bad!  I hope it tastes good.  We won't know for few weeks, since the beer needs to carbonate with the priming sugar we added before it was bottled.  

Each bottle cap was labeled with LLYB.  We recently did a taste test using the last bottle of each type of beer we've ever brewed.  We liked almost all of them, and had fun trying to remember what each beer was called based on the letters written on the cap.  SSW (sun shine wheat?) was good, as was BW (barely wine?) and several other types we never could figure out.  Maybe if I spell it out here on the blog, we can remember our beer titles.  Cheers!

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