February 19, 2013

My First Brew- the Very Heffelberry!

For Christmas, my father (who has been brewing up a storm in the past year) gifted me a brewing kit to make my very own beer. We brewed it while I was home, and it was just finally finished. I shared it with several friends this weekend because it was ready for the big reveal.

The beer he bought was a Bavarian hefeweizen, because I really enjoy the wheat beers. But, we added a special ingredient and that's why it's such an especially dark wheat beer. We added Elderberries! (insert Monty Python joke of choice here).

The ingredients!
 We were lucky to find the elderberries at a local home brew supply shop, but everything else we needed came from the kit. Dad was cool enough to give me the kit a little early so we actually brewed the beer on Christmas Eve because I was already up visiting for the holiday.

Brewin' on up!

 It doesn't take too long to do the actual brewing, but the prep and cleanup time makes it an all-day affair. You have to pay special attention that you've sanitized all the equipment properly before you even get started.

The puppies, of course, wanted to help.
Dogs aren't necessary for brewing beer, but they are a helpful piece of equipment to have if you like tripping over things while you work.We only had to shoo them out of the kitchen about thirty times.

Moving it out of the fermentor for bottling.
 After sitting in the fermentor for two weeks, it was ready to be bottled. We were able to get 48 bottles out of the whole batch. I took half and Dad kept the other half. They needed to bottle condition for two weeks before they were ready, but mine had to sit a little longer. We didn't have a place quite warm enough to keep them for optimal conditioning, so I let them sit for about another two weeks.

We made some really fun labels to go along with them. I only labeled about half of them since it was a pain in the butt to do. I don't have too many of them left, though, since I'm really happy with how it turned out! Hefeweizens are summery beers, so it's not ideal for the winter but we're planning to make another batch in April to enjoy during the summer.

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