On Monday, I met up with one of my awesome photographers, Jeremy Deal of LunahZon Photography, at Ass Clown Brewing Company to start another batch of our collaboration beer, and to check on the one I started last week. I also had to be a serious notetaker on this trip since CharlotteFive wanted a piece from me on how to make beer. Because distilling the entire brewing process into a short and concise Buzzfeed-like story is super easy. NBD.
Sparing all the intricate details of the process, the above four pictures just about sum up all you can do in a single day for a large batch of beer. And it isn’t even technically beer yet. It’s wort. Yummy.
Basically, you start with milling the grains into water at a specific temp (pic one). Then you let it steep, for lack of a better word, for quite a bit. After the enzymes in the mix have broken down the sugars in the grain, the water is pumped from the mash tun (vessel in pic one) to the kettle (vessel in pic two). What remains in the mash tun is cooked grains (pic three). This particular brewery gives it’s used grains (mash) to a local cattle farm. The majority of the day-one process is spent with the kettle. The grain-water cooks for a specific amount of time, then hops, and in our case, mint, is added in three batches. The first wort addition is just hops (we use jarrylo), the second is hops and mint, and the third is just hops (pic four). This takes a bit of time.
Once the wort is done cooking, it is whirlpooled in the kettle so that the sediment sinks, then cooled and transferred to a fermentation vessel. Once in the vessel, we wait until the temp of the wort is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and then pitch the yeast. That’s when it becomes beer. And that’s all I’ve been able to do so far. I’ll get to the second half of the making process probably next week.
The highlight of yesterday’s session was getting to try the beer that we had started the week before. This is nowhere near the finished product, but you could still get an idea of the general flavor profile. It was partially fermented, not filtered, and the raspberries weren’t added yet. Once my beer goes through a full fermentation cycle, we’ll add the raspberries and it will go through a second fermentation. Then we wait some more.
It seems like brewing is a lot of waiting. But the reward is totally worth it.