Tonight I’m not doing a review; I’m sitting here sipping on a homebrew, a Belgian Dubbel I brewed for the Maine homebrewer’s competition. My entry wasn’t a winner but it’s still an excellent beer and most importantly, I made it. It seemed like an appropriate way to end my evening, having spent some time down at the Central Street Farmhouse attending their brewing 101 class.
Zeth and Asa were brewing one of their house kits, Mothers Milk Stout, an extract kit with specialty grains. With the water heated to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the grains in a mesh bag were placed into the kettle to steep for 15 minutes, this allowed Zeth some time to explain the difference between extract brewing and all grain brewing. After the grains had steeped, the bag was removed from the kettle and the propane burner re-ignited. As the water reached the boiling point, Asa began adding the two cans of malt extract, the base of the beer; these ingredients contribute to the flavor, color and body of the beer, as well as provide the fermentable sugars that the yeast will consume to create alcohol. When a full rolling boil was achieved the first hops addition was tossed into the kettle. Zeth then explained hops and the wide variety that are available to homebrewers. He explained how hops are a natural preservative and how the addition of hops at different times during the boil will change the bitterness, flavor and aroma of the beer. A couple of bags of hop pellets were passed around the group to be seen and smelled. As we approached the end of the boil the final hops addition went in the kettle as well as a pound of lactose, an unfermentable sugar that will add to the body and sweetness of the finished product. Before transferring to the fermentation bucket we watched Asa clean and sanitize any and everything that would come into contact with the brew. Zeth took a hydrometer reading to determine the gravity of the unfermented beer. The class ended after everyone had an opportunity to ask some questions.
Overall I found this to be an excellent class, as an established homebrewer I wasn’t learning anything I didn’t already know, but it gave me the opportunity to see another brewer’s process. I found the information presented to be very straight forward and easy to understand, this is perfect for anyone new to homebrewing. Zeth and Asa make homebrewing feel very approachable. This class also gives people the opportunity to see what is involved without making an investment in ingredients and equipment. The class is completely free and everyone is welcome to attend. Check out the Farmhouse website and follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates on upcoming brewing classes.
Mother’s Milk Stout Recipe
One (1) can or bag Briess Dark malt extract
One (1) can or bag Briess Golden light malt extract
One (1) pound Lactose (add for the last 10 minutes of the boil)
1/2lb Roasted Barley
1/2lb Chocolate Malt
1/2 lb Flaked Oats
1/2lb Crystal 60
1oz Challenger hops (entire 60min boil)
1oz Kent Golding hops (last 10 min of boil)
Safale US-05 (dry) or BRY-97 West Coast ale yeast (dry)
Wyeast American Ale (WY1056)
Central Street Farmhouse