Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bottling Stout and Cider Update

About a week ago, after racking my cider into another carboy for secondary fermentation, I decided to take the first real step in home brewing - actually BREWING beer. This is something that I have been trying to educate myself on for some time now, as I have been a beer fan since long before the law said I was allowed. My love of beer can even be attributed for where I am living now today in Missoula. I remember visiting here with my mother before I decided to make the move, and us sharing local craft brew at the Kettlehouse tap room over on Myrtle Street. With the music blaring, the grey early spring Missoula sky out the window, and a cold brew in hand she looked at me and said "You're going to live here". She was right.

For my first ever home-brewed beer I decided to go with a classic, the Irish Stout. I started again at my favorite local brew-shop, Summer Sun Garden & Brew. I used a British Dry Ale yeast, Munton's Hopped Malt (3 lbs), Munton's Amber Malt Extract (1 Can), and 1 lb of crushed roasted barley for steeping.

Fermentation was vigorous for the first few days, but quickly subsided. After a sample last night, I decided to move to bottling today. As the brew had not been carbonated yet, the sample was flat - but unmistakably a stout. Surprisingly, it lacked the bitterness that often drives people away from classic commercial stouts such as Guinness.

After bottling today, about 3.5 gallons, I will wait 2-3 weeks and crack one bottle to check the level of carbonation. Wish me luck!

-Cider Update-

After racking cider into secondary fermentation I decided to add more sugar (3 cups) and after two days of little activity I pitched a champagne yeast to increase alcohol content. After a tasting last night (about 1.5 weeks in secondary) I was pleasantly surprised. The cider has considerable alcohol content, seemingly comparable to that of wine, but still with the mouth-feel of apple cider. I am now trying to decide if I want to carbonate the cider or leave it flat like an apple wine. I may do some of each. I will move to bottling shortly after thanksgiving. Updates to come!


  1. WOW, sounds like you're really getting into the process! Guess you're not making any Miller Lite?

  2. Yeah I am really trying to get into this, it's a very interesting process and quite a lot of fun. I could possibly try and make a light lager someday, the issue with lager beers is that they require cold storage/aging for several months to complete their fermentation and resting period. I believe that is one of the reasons that lagers took over the American beer market as "the king of beers" and "the champaign of beers" - they're much more difficult to brew than a simple ale that one could easily make at home. Perhaps someday, although I probably would choose not to make a "light" lager, which is to basically take a lager and water it down. One of the best aspects of home brewing/craft brewing is your ability to impart flavors within the beer that you personally enjoy. I am thinking my next project (probably after Christmas) will be a Vanilla Porter, a smooth dark beer with a creamy head.