We took full advantage of the break in rain to brew yesterday. They were still calling for a 60% chance of scattered thunderstorms, so we set up the tent that Justin got for Christmas, just in case. Of course, if you plan ahead and set up a tent, it won't rain - and it didn't. But it WAS nice to have a shady deck for once, as ours is always very sunny & in the summertime that means VERY hot!! In the photo you can see Justin taking a few minutes to check out his first issue of "Brew Your Own" (the how-to homebrew beer magazine) that we just got that day. So far, we must admit, this is looking to be one snazzy beer magazine.
We chose to try a Belgian Blonde Ale, our first non-kit Belgian, since 1)we really love a good Belgian Ale, 2)we've noticed that Belgians are pretty popular around here, 3)we've been really inspired by the complexity of Caracole's beers and just "HAD TO" try our own take, and finally 4)though the dark strong Belgian ales are more popular, we were more motivated to do a blonde. Sometimes the beer speaks to you .. or something like that. ha ha ha
We got off to a slightly later-than-usual start due to the rain and some other craziness here at the house, but were able to be mashing by about 10:30. Although we had planned on using Belgian Pilsner malt, but we had gotten some "bulk grain" (American 2 Row) from Awful Arthur's and their brewer had forgotten to not have ours crushed. Since it came crushed, we needed to use it up sooner rather than later, so this time we went with the American 2 row.
Brewing went well. Nothing terribly special or note-worthy, just one boil over when the first hop (Kent Goldings) was added. We finished up with ten gallons and a final gravity of 1.076. The carboys (well, one is a glass carboy, one is a bucket) are now in the dining room. We have been concerned that the dining room will be too warm for a good fermentation, so we'll have to see how that goes over the course of the summer. Old houses without A/C are proving to be tricky. We just checked on them though and they've really taken off. Overall we're thinking it should come out very nicely, on target with what we planned and wanted.
Our roots here feel deeper everyday, but our branches seem to stretch across the country and world to find like-minded folk.
Carrie is out-spoken and not one to ever hide who she is, Justin is the rock of reason that keeps her from flying off into her own world, but who also is always along for the ride!
We're dedicated to urban-homesteading and trying to live as eco-friendly and self-sustainable life as possible, without losing what made us who we are in the first place. The love of beer brought us together, and homebrewing holds a special place in our hearts.
Homesteading, homebrewing, homeschooling, and Hokies -- is there anything else left to say?