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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!