Looking Out To Sea

A new yeast project: brewing

Since moving to Glasgow we’ve been lumbered with a terrible oven which doesn’t get hot enough to really do justice to bread baking. Instead I decided to go different avenue and try some home brewing. It’s yeast Jim, but not as we know it.

I bought a fermenting bucket, a plastic tube, hydrometer, thermometer and airlock from the good people at Glasgow’s eminent homebrew shop. Alongside that I bought the ingredients for a Canadian lager. A friend at work donated some used beer bottles and the use of his crown capper.

My two obstacles were cleanliness and temperature. Getting and keeping everything sterilised is a hard task. You can never tell until the ferment has worked whether you succeeded in cleaning everything properly. I started the ferment right in the middle of an uncommonly hot few weeks, so finding a dark cool part of the house was a challenge.

The actual steps to take were very simple and there are a wide variety of videos online that you can watch to provide extra clues. When siphoning and bottling it would have been useful to have an extra pair of hands (or more sophisticated tools) but I muddled through.

At the stage of writing the beer has been bottled for five days. It will stay in the bottle for another two weeks to “condition”, which should add some carbonation and let the flavour mature and settle a bit. I am looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. Will it be drinkable?

It’s been conditioning in the bottle for two weeks now and I opened one this evening to see how it was progressing. The taste was mildly hoppy but slightly “thin” somehow. There wasn’t as much carbonation as I’d hoped. I think I may have put too little sugar in the bottles before capping them. But still pretty drinkable, and should be better again in a week’s time.

Taste number two, about five days later, and things seemed much better — either because I had lower expectations or because more time means better flavour. I’m happy to let others taste it now.