Decemberfest with GeoBrau
We all knew it would happen. The year sneakily passes by, and before we know it–BOOM! The holiday season is upon us. We made our list and checked it twice, and decided that– naughty or nice–everyone can use a cold one, right?
Grandma always said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But we here at Geomedia interpreted that as something more along the lines of, “When life gives you lemons…or a need for holiday gift ideas….leave grandma with her lemonade and make beer, instead”.
With the help of our friends at Home Brew Party.com, we did just that. We ambitiously decided that one variety of home brew would surely never be enough. So we upped the ante and picked four; a porter (a custom recipe from the store’s owner, Bret), a brown ale, a red ale, and a witbier.
Not only are we brewing and bottling, but also labeling. Rudy Martinez, in collaboration with Martin Jaeger (our resident Beer Bottle Label Creators), came up with four distinct designs that reflect the characteristics of our four different brews. Here’s one of them:
Our homemade brews are currently fermenting away, but here is a step by step description of how the process works (using our porter as the example).
There’s a lot of info here, so try and keep up….
We started by filling a cheesecloth with the necessary grains, and brought approximately 2 gallons of water to a boil. We then removed it from the heat, and added our grains to steep for approximately 30 minutes. After our grains had steeped, we added our malt extract and brought the concoction to a boil once again. At this point in the process, our beer ‘base’ is called wört.
Once the wört began to boil, we added our bittering hops, followed by our flavoring hops at minute 45, followed by our aroma hops at minute 55. We also added a clarifying agent (in this case, Irish Moss). After 60 minutes of boiling, we removed our wört from the heat and cooled it to approximately 80 degrees. This was done by halfway submerging our brew pot in ice water until we reached room temperature. We then poured our wört over a filter bag into our freshly sanitized fermenting bucket with a small amount of water in it already, to help mix our wört more thoroughly.
We carefully (with sanitized hands…and a sanitized filter bag…and sanitized everything, really) rotated our filter bag back and forth to allow the wört to pass through, leaving our hops behind. We then added water up to the 5 gallon line on our fermenting bucket, and added the yeast. Or, as the pro’s call it, “pitched the yeast”. We then sealed our bucket with it’s sanitized lid and put our bubbling airlock in place; this device bubbles as the yeast eats away at the sugar in our wört and creates alcohol.
Now we play the waiting game for 7 or 8 days (9 or 10 for the porter, specifically…darker beers sometimes can use the extra time to ferment)–then ‘rack’ our beer, a.k.a. transfer from our fermenting bucket to a new bottling bucket using a very scientific-looking hose/ siphoning device. This process also decreases the amount of sediment in our beer. We’ll then add priming sugar and bottle our brew. About a week later we’ll have tasty, carbonated, homemade GeoBrau.
Updates to come!