Dominic acquired several new additions for our household this Christmas. If you weren't familiar with his hobby you might wonder where these items belong. Sometimes they're in the bathroom:
Other times I've found them soaking in a warm bath in the kitchen sink:
Most likely though, you'll find them actively fermenting in the bedroom. We'll call these accessories 'hops', 'malts' and 'bottles'. That's right, Dom's turned into a homebrewer. In my opinion, brewing beer at home is more than a hobby. In hobbies there's a lot of room for mistakes. I don't know many people, however, willing to give two month's worth of patience, money and energy towards 5 gallons of bad-tasting beer. I knew I had to call in the experts in order to make this investment - and my new home decor - worthwhile.
Enter Black Dragon Brewery & Homebrew Supply and brother Josh. Dominic definitely would have struggled to succeed without them. First, I needed to purchase the right starter materials. That's where Heather helped the most. She organized my materials, packed my kit and made sure everything arrived from it's cross country journey in one piece. Josh was a lifesaver too. He added the 'flava' to a basic starter kit. He put the boogie in Dom's Boogie Down Brown Ale. I think the brothers spent three hours walking through the entire brew process one night on Skype. It was pretty endearing. Anything for family time I always say.
Dominic took notes from Josh on his computer. He spent the entire brewing process checking his actions step-by-step. Good thing we have a small kitchen:
I donated my kitchen utensils and pot to Dominic for this brew. I didn't know he would need my pantyhose too.
After a warm bath the malt was ready to join the grain-steeped, disinfected water for a swim. Let the stirring begin:
I'm not sure what he's looking for, but every week Dominic would check to make sure gravity was working:
Beer gets messy, but homebrewers have a cute name for gross leftovers at the bottom of the barrel: chub. Dominic had to make a transfer or two through a syphoning process where he created a suction to eliminate as much chub as possible. Gravity seems to help out a lot in the brewing process:
While Dominic got the kit for Christmas, he actually got a Brooklyn homebrew tour for his birthday. Mid-brew, he and a friend took a day to try out the work of some local homebrewers:
In a matter of weeks it was time for the batch to get a little sweeter (i.e. carbonated) and move into individual bottles. Good thing we had been collecting everyone's bottles at IPED parties all semester:
I don't drink beer, but I can say that when taken to parties that Boogie Down Brown gets consumed. We've even had requests for more. As of today Dominic has started his second batch - an amber ale. Look for future posts on this topic from the brewster himself. I haven't the slightest idea what I'm talking about here.