What I Did on Christmas Vacation

Remember when you were in school, and the first day back from Summer vacation you had to write an essay about what you did over the summer. I always hated doing that. So why am I doing it now for my Christmas Vacation when (1) I hated doing that and (2) I didn’t really have a vacation? Because I got to brew beer.

Or, at least, I got to start the process of brewing beer. So, yea, my amazing fiancée Julie gave me a home brewing kit for Christmas, which pretty much makes her amazing. (The fact that she also bought me two pairs of thick wool socks removes any remaining doubt.) So, I took the time last night to read through all of the instructions and get myself familiar with how this was all going to go, and then this evening set about working on the first batch, which would be a West Coast Pale Ale.

While I was preparing the wart, I was absolutely stunned by how awful it smelled. I don’t know if this is a smell you eventually get used to, or perhaps even grow to like, but to me it smelled really sickeningly sweet. Imagine you have a fresh cherry pie. Then imagine you put that cherry pie in the trunk of your car. You know, the car the windows don’t roll down in. And then you took the car, with pie still in the trunk, on vacation. To Florida. In August. For three months. That’s about what it smelled like.

But, all in all, I think it went pretty smooth. I learned a few things, like make sure you have a whisk sanitized, and that water is pretty heavy, but there were no major bumps.

The fermentation process is supposed to take 7 to 14 days, then an additional 7 to 14 days of carbonation, and then about 7 days for conditioning, but we’ll see how it goes. For those of you who are local and might be interested in trying some, the window for completion is between January 16th and 30th, so keep this in mind when filling in your social calendars. Also, I’m trying to decide what the next batch is going to be, so any of you that have home-brewed before have any suggestions, let me know.