This weekend Kimmy and I took the big first step into homebrewing ale. I never thought homebrewing ale could be so much fun. My one gallon test batch jug fermenters are happily bubbling away and in 3-4 weeks time we will bottle.
I mashed 157° F water and 4lbs of Belgian pale ale malt and 1lb of Belgian aromatic malt for about 2 hours. The Igloo cooler’s insulation worked out really well as our DIY mash tun. It held the temperature fairly consistent for the duration. If you’re not familiar with the process, you’re basically soaking all the malted grains in hot water to extract their sugars. The resulting sweet liquid, called wort, is the basis of our beer, or in this case ale, because I’m not using hops.
Homebrewing Ale, the Old Way
I’m using other herbs for adding aroma, bittering and antiseptic properties. I’m following ancient recipes and hopefully made some correct educated guesses on amounts according to “Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers” by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Our ales are also unfiltered and unpasteurized so the yeasts and proteins are kept alive. This also means that we’ll need to bottle condition the ales longer.
I’m not sure whether to call my finished ale “Farmer Dan’s Brew” or “Buddha Bear Herbal Ales.” We’ll see what friends and family think first before we get too ahead of ourselves. One thing’s for sure, with the passing of the Farm Brewery Act we’ll be seeing many more small, local ales and beers coming out of New York State. I hope to be one of them!
The Fermentation Continues
When I have something bottled and chilled in the fridge ready to taste – I will tell you all about it & make another post. But until then, much like my journey, the fermentation continues…
Check out some photos of our Maiden Voyage into Homebrewing Ale: