Snapshot of a Brewday

The day begins around 10 or 11 in the morning as the six of us gather, as we often do, bleary-eyed and ready to share tales of the previous nights events.  A big silver pot sits in the middle of the garage, atop a blazing flame, ready to heat gallons of water for the mash.  It’s the usual scenario, Oz busy checking temperatures and equipment with Eric close by, eager to learn as much as he can.  Meanwhile, JD and I joke and trade jabs with Ryan as we crack open the first beers of the day.  This week we’re joined by Trish, normally a light beer drinker; we’re determined to get her drinking craft beer (and liking it) before the day is done.  When the water is hot enough, it’s transferred to the mash tun, in our case a converted cooler whose insulated walls will help keep the proper temperature.  Grain is added, creating the mash that will produce our wort.  Steam rises from the mixture as the rich aroma, like warm oatmeal, fills the air.

Once the mash is complete, and the hot water has extracted the necessary sugars from the grain, we drain the wort into the big silver pot and prepare for the boil.  At this point, we focus our attention on grabbing some lunch.  We’re running low on beer.  Trish has shown a liking to the sweet stouts we brought along but we’ve finished them off.  A problem easily fixed as there’s a Sunoco just around the corner with Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald on tap.  When we return, lunch is ready.  Venison sausage and Zweigles hot dogs are on today’s menu, paired with your favorite craft beer of course.  The warm meal is welcomed, good for satisfying our hunger along with keeping us warm on this cold January afternoon.

As our focus returns to the task at hand, we begin to add hops to the wort.  The sweet smell of the sugary liquid begins to offer hints of bitterness as ounce after ounce of hop pellets join the boil.  As the wort continues to dance beneath a thick layer of foam, we stand close by in hopes of absorbing the heat emanating from the big silver pot.  Soon it’s time to cut the heat and begin cooling the wort.  A spiraling coil of copper piping joins the wort, a homemade heat exchanger, cold water flows through the metal tube, absorbing heat from the wort and cooling it quickly.  At long last, our toes numb from the damp garage floor, it’s time to transfer the wort into carboys and prepare for fermentation.  As the sun sets, we pitch the yeast and set the carboys aside to ferment.  Growing tired, we finish cleaning up and say our goodbyes after another successful day of homebrewing.  Until next time friends.

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Categories: Homebrewing

Author:Amy Ellsworth

Amy Ellsworth is The Craft Beer Girl. Follow her as she discovers the world of craft beer through brewery tours, beer festivals, reviews and homebrewing. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and .

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  1. Are You a Beer Snob? | the Craft Beer Girl - March 29, 2012

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