The Chronicles of the Angry Geologist

Drilling a hole- for science!

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Beer and Respect
Girl Genius Rings
During my long absence from LJ, I started a new, odd little obsession- homebrewing.

It started out, as so many things do, as just a neat little project with a friend of mine- we got a kettle, a bucket, and a kit, and drank two cases of good beer (not all in one sitting). We liked it, so he got a wort chiller, I got my own set, and we started brewing away. He and his wife moved to Boston a few months ago, but in their absence, I've kept it up. So has he- we exchanged beer for Christmas. I gave him a Pumpkin Porter from my own recipe, and he gave me an I Can Keep This Down holiday ale (in case you're wondering, it got the name from the time we invented a Top Gear drinking game using our previous batch of holiday ale. "That's not gone well" took on a whole new meaning the next day).

There's also a guy in my office that brews- pretty seriously, in fact. He's starting his own brewpub, and is now jumping through all the legal argy-bargy that goes with that. I've told him I brewed, and asked him for advice on a few things, but I really don't think he took me seriously until the end of the day today, when I brought in a bottle of the aforementioned Pumpkin Porter for an impromptu tasting.

To put it mildly, he liked it. He said it was one of the few spiced beers he'd drink, and asked me if I'd used a kit. Surprisingly, with that one, I didn't. It was the first recipe I'd made up, which is why I'd splurged and called in a favor one of my artist friends had owed me to design a logo for it. He seemed suitably impressed, and gave me some tips to avoid the uneven carbonation I had experienced with that batch.

Then he invited me to the local homebrew club with the unfortunate name of ReHaB (Regional Harrisburg Brewers), and said he'd shoot me an email next time he was ready to brew. I offered to send him the contact info for my artist friend and bring in a bottle of the IPA I currently have in the fermenter (I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it- racking it restarted the fermentation, and it's still going. This is going to knock people on their butts, if there was that much sugar for the yeast to convert to alcohol!).

I left the tasting session that day with a little bit of a beer buzz (I think I screwed up the ABV calculation again) and feeling like I had earned a bit more respect from someone who's hard to impress. Seriously- it took me forever to convince him that I could do GIS as well as he could if he'd just explain his file structure. I think he's just so used to people saying they were experts, but turn out to be talking out of their asses when you got down to it, or homebrewing using a Mr. Beer. But I think my hard work payed off a bit, and I'm not just some noob. I can brew some good beer!

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Wow, sounds like a serious hobby and a tasty one, I've never tried brewing beer, I've done wine and Peach Schapps from a kit. Good luck with it

That's a very intriguing activity. Have you thought of making mead?

I've considered it- it would be great for my gluten-allergic friends. I actually do have a honey supplier, and I might try it sometime this summer if his hives do OK.

That sounds awesome! Have you done any quirky flavors? How do you get the different types of beer--the pale ales, the porters, etc?

It really depends on what you're trying to brew- if you're brewing an ale, you use a top-fermenting yeast that ferments at around 65-70 F. If you're trying to brew a lager, that's a little more difficult as you have to use a bottom fermenting yeast that is active around 55 F (though steam beers use an odd little bottom-fermenting yeast that is active at warmer temperatures). Porters are aged dark beers, and stouts are the strongest porters. Basically, you find some recipes, and if you're feeling confident, you make up your own.

Awesome story! That seems like a neat hobby, and it's awesome that it's turning out braggingly drinkable. :)

I made beer once. I put it into quart size canning jars in the absence of other bottles, and one exploded after a day. We drank the rest, but it wasn't that great. Here, (Germany) beer by law is allowed to contain only 5 ingredients (sorry I don't know what they are other than water, yeast and hops), and they add flavors afterward. Banana beer is pils with banana flavored syrup added in the glass. *shudders* When we lived in the Pacific NW, we LOVED drinking the various beers from brew pubs. Here, we LOVE drinking various hefeweissens. I guess we're just beer people. Good luck with it!

home brewing is really popular at my office- at least 4 people do it, and 1 does it very regularly (bonus: serious dude is a friend, and I convinced him to make some cider for me soon- his first batch failed).

But yay, you're still alive!!

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