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!
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!