First time brewing beer!!!

Toby and I have be wanting to start brewing our own beer for quite a while now. Luckily for us Frisk got us a starter kit for Christmas so we could go ahead and get to it. That guy! So thoughtful!!

We have been broadening our beer horizons over the past few months. Buying anything new and tasty looking at the LCBO. We have even been keeping each new bottle or can! So now we have a whooooole bunch of bottles stocking our pantry! Anyone have any fun DIY ideas for a whooooole bunch of bottles? I was thinking maybe a wall of bottles behind our future bar? Who knows?

2015-01-04 (1)

I am finding that more and more I am really enjoying dark and flavorful beers.. things with a whole lot of character. I adore pretty much everything that comes out of Lake of Bays Brewery. Actually though.. such good beer.

I really don’t know much about beer and figured that brewing my own would be a great way to learn. I want to be a part of every step of the process. Explore what makes beer great and what makes beer just kind of OK.

The plan is to brew as much as we can testing all sorts of different conditions etc. We are both very interested in arduino based projects and I hope to incorporate some of our own devices into the brewing process.

IMG_20150102_184750

I picked us up a few books to explain the basics of brewing. I’ve looked them over and made notes but really I just wanted to jump in! I thought about starting with an all grain batch but was told maybe that might be a wee bit much for the first batch. So instead we went with an Oktoberfest kit from True Brew. The kit was a good choice. It is hard to screw up and gave us decent exposure to the process. I think we may end up doing a few more kits before jumping to anything more complicated.. or at least stick with extract brewing for a little while longer.

IMG_20150102_184806 IMG_20150102_184812

We opened the package up and jumped right in! The first step was to sanitize and sanitize some more!!! The kit came with a small tub of cleanser to be used on anything that comes in contact with the beer. It is really important to avoid any contamination during the brewing process. We washed everything, we sanitized everything and we rinsed everything before using. We re-sanitized after each use.

IMG_20150102_190010

The Cleanser

The Cleanser

The next step was to fill a large pot with 2.5 gallons of water, place the crushed grains in (in the steeping bag) and bring the mixture up to 155 degrees.

IMG_20150102_191449 IMG_20150102_191141 IMG_20150102_190955 IMG_20150102_190949

As the water heated up it began to darken and give off a delicious malty aroma! Nom!! We removed the lid and label from the malt extract and placed in a pot of warm water to loosen up.

IMG_20150102_185123 IMG_20150102_185652 IMG_20150102_185810

Once the water reached 155 we left it to boil for 15 minutes before removing the spent grains. We took the pot off the heat before adding the malt extract. As I poured in the malt extract Toby stirred the mixture constantly. We tried a taste of the liquid malt extract and it was not bad.. very similar to molasses.

IMG_20150102_194852 IMG_20150102_200553 IMG_20150102_202955 IMG_20150102_203738

We then added the bittering hops! I loooove hops!! They are my favorite. This recipe came with Liberty Hops, which smelled especially delicious.

IMG_20150102_204101 IMG_20150102_210228IMG_20150102_210515

We returned the pot to the heat and brought it to a boil for 45 minutes. Then came the waiting game.. we watched some netflicks, Toby did some MOOCing and I made some funny faces!

IMG_20150102_203616IMG_20150102_203627

After the wort had boiled for 45 minutes and we were finished with all the shenanigans we turned off the heat and used the wort chiller to bring the wort down to between 65 and 75.

IMG_20150102_215543

Once the wort had reached the appropriate temperature we transferred it into the carboy and topped it off with cool water. We did not have a siphon hose so we poured it into the carboy using a makeshift funnel (a rolled cutting board). It got pretty bubbly.. which I hope is OK. We didn’t really know how much to top it off.. so we kind of guessed. The carboy fits just over five gallons so we aimed for five. Next time we will mark the carboy so we know how much we have to add. Using a sanitized turkey baster we removed a small portion to measure the original gravity. The reading was quite a bit off which we have come to realize (thanks to reddit) is most likely because we ended up with more top off water than wort.

IMG_20150102_222107IMG_20150102_2221492015-01-03

Finally, we added the yeast, sealed it with the airlock and tucked it away to ferment!!

IMG_20150102_222333 IMG_20150102_222448 IMG_20150102_222452 (1)

2015-01-04

By this afternoon we saw some pretty consistent bubbling!! There is still a whole bunch of foamy gunk at the top but I’m not sure what to do about that.

OK! So there is the quick summary of what we did! It seemed to go pretty well for our first time but I guess we wont know until we have our first sip! I cant wait to start our next batch!

This morning I put together a table to make it a little smoother next time. Super fun, super simple and not super attractive!

IMG_20150104_134308 IMG_20150104_144638 IMG_20150104_160239

Advertisements

This is what is goating on at the farm!!!

2014-09-06

So goats are the best. They are adorable, affectionate, hilarious and intelligent animals. Toby and I love to have them around.

We had a big scare in October when one of our goats was attacked by a dog we were house sitting. The goats had managed to put the door of their house open and the dog just did what any animal with a prey drive would have done. Unfortunately I was away doing a Yoga Tune Up workshop but Toby did a wonderful job of managing the situation. When he arrived home to find the dog covered in blood and Montoya torn up in the backyard, he called the vet and rushed over.

download_20141028_113116 download_20141028_113131

They treated her wounds and gave Toby shots, cleaning solution and instructions on how to help her recover. The injuries included: a puncture wound through the base of one ear causing neural damage resulting in temporary loss of movement, puncture wounds through the bottom of her mouth, cuts at the base of her jaw and cuts across her face.

download_20141028_113118 download_20141028_114434 download_20141028_114456

The main concern was infection, her staying hydrated and well fed. I had a pretty solid cry when I first saw her and rushed her to the vet when I thought she might have developed an infection in her ear.

2014-10-27

But within a week she was making huge improvements, eating lots and even seeming cheery. When we put her back with the other lady goats they beat her up quite a bit. Eventually she was reaccepted into the herd and now she is good as new. Just a few scars, which let the other goats know she is a badass.

IMG_20140927_135145 IMG_20140927_135157 IMG_20141122_162559

Toby and I built a small winter house for the ladies. It has insulated aspenite walls and a tin roof. It is pretty darn cute! With their combined body heat they stay nice and cozy warm during the night. We have surrounded their house with a 6 foot high section of snow fence.

IMG_20141129_113711IMG_20141129_114534

The boys are still out in the old chicken coop and have a nice outside run attached to their house. The plan is to build a little cuddle cave in the corner out of straw bales with an insulated roof. This way they can keep cozy at night and have something to jump on in their house.

2014-09-03-EFFECTS

Within the next month we will be breeding Bella and Buttercup to Vizzini in hopes of kids in June. That will give us time to get setup for kidding and milking. I cannot wait to have our first kids! They are going to be super cute! All the milk and cheese to come!!!

Update on the Farm: Building the Goat House!

We are just finishing our fourth month in the house and still as busy as ever!! Our to do list only gets longer and our weekends are getting more and more booked up as the summer comes to an end.

This Friday/Saturday we will be visiting some family and picking up some wood. We are intending to heat with wood this winter but are quite a few cords short. Hopefully we will be able to cut enough for the winter, it would not be awesome to have to buy it when we have it available to us through family.

We should have Sunday free for work around the house. We will most likely get started building our wood shed. It will be a simple post and beam structure with recycled barn boards on two walls. We will also spend a few hours on sketch up working on the building plans for the barn! We are running out of time and need to get started on a winterized building for all our critters. So far the plan is post and beam framing on a concrete foundation with radiant heating and straw bale insulation. It will be a very useful space containing stalls for the bucks, stalls for the does, kidding pens, a milking room, a feed and tack room and a chicken coop. There will be separate fenced in runs for the animals out back. Keep your calendars open for a barn raising party in the fall.

A few weeks ago we built a small structure for the goats to sleep in until the barn is built. It was a relatively quick project and looks quite nice.

DSC_0015 DSC_0005 DSC_0008

We grabbed cedar posts and old barn boards from Toby’s dad’s house and used some of the 2 by 4’s we had laying around at the house. Toby built  the walls on the ground, dug some small holes for the posts and propped them up so we could attach the walls. There was a pretty immediate need for the shelter so we designed as we went. Toby made sure it was as level and square as we could manage without a foundation.

DSC_0024 DSC_0022 DSC_0039 DSC_0057

We attached the barn boards to the sides trimming and adjusting where necessary.

Toby put together two big barn doors in no time and voila we have shelter!! Unfortunately after only one night of sleeping in the shelter the males began trying to mount the females so we had to move them into the old chicken coop on the property.

DSC_0006DSC_0001 DSC_0005

For a week or two we just had sheets of aspenite on the roof. Last weekend we used some tin from Toby’s dads barn and finally put a real roof on it. We still need to tar the roof so it is sealed but it is pretty much finished. The goats love it!