Malt, Water, Yeast
Back when I visited Colorado in August, I had mentioned to my parents my plan of homebrewing when I got back to Illinois. To my surprise, my dad said, "I have stuff to do that."
Apparently his father had bought him some brewing equipment once my dad got out of the army and moved to Colorado (sometime in the 80s). This figures, since Pappy had a peculiar personal mission to get members of my family to spend money on relative vices. My first year in college he sent me a check with a blue post-it note that said, "A, buy some beer and cigs. - Pappy." I still have that note.
The best I can tell is that Pappy picked up this quirk in order to annoy my father. I was surprised dad had kept this brewing present. (He had refused other gifts, Casino stocks, in the past.)
"Sure," said Dad, "I brewed a couple of times, but then I didn't have enough room to store it in the refrigerator." Which makes no sense from what I know of brewing.
Standard brewing equipment:
- one or two glass carboys (big glass jugs used to house chemicals... and beer)
- two thin plastic hoses, one long one short
- big pot
- some other stuff, none of which needs to be stored in the refrigerator
When we got home my dad ascended the pull-down ladder to the crawl space above the garage. He came back down with a plastic contraption shaped like a small barrel on its side with the bottom half sunk in a block of cement. The top half was a transparent piece held on to the bottom by plastic sliders. There was a spigot on one end and a hole in the top. On the side, it said, "Beer Maker."
I brought it back to Illinois with me, but I'm still unsure of what to do with it.
Mitch and I got brewing supplies from the local, Two Brothers, brewery (and filled up the growler while we were at it).
A bit over eight days ago -- yeeks, time for bottling soon -- we started our first batch of home brew. I intend this first batch to act like a control group for our further brewing endeavors. We used half dark and half amber malt, tap water, and dry package yeast. From there I'll change one variable, maybe use bottled water or better yeast, and then change that variable back in order to change another, type of malt, maybe mix in some corn sugar, etc. Hopefully it won't seem too long until we get to advance to the steps of adding in hops and other ingredients.
But I want to have patience, learn as much as I can, so that Mitch and I can make world-class beer someday. And ya'll can come drink it en masse when we get our plans for a yearly party / annual faux-wedding celebration / pig roast (or something) off the ground.
All in the works, folks.