When we're done with boiling the wort, it is important to chill it down before adding the yeast, since high temperatures will kill the yeast, and you can't make beer without it! Before the wort chiller, we did that by making ice baths in our sink. As you can see, the pot is almost as big as the sink, so we had to make multiple ice baths before the wort cooled down enough. This could take up to an hour, and made it hard to find the time to brew on a weeknight. The wort chiller runs cold water through copper pipes, which chills the wort in as little as 10 or 15 minutes. That is a huge improvement!
Another Christmas present was the book Clone Brews, which we've already used twice. It's full of recipes that attempt to replicate popular commercial brews. The choice of recipes is awesome, and we've already picked out a ton of recipes we'd like to try!
This is the ingredients for a clone of Anchor Steam beer, which we decided would be our first clone. I can't say how it is yet, since it's still sitting in bottles getting fully carbonated. It's been about a week since we bottled, so hopefully we'll get to test one in another week or two. We had to adjust a couple ingredients for this recipe based on what was available at our brew store, so I'm not sure how close this will actually be to Anchor Steam. Hopefully it'll be a good tasting beer either way! It's going to be fun to do some side by side testing once the beer is ready.
We also got a sample pack of Boulevard Beer from Joe's other brother, which always makes us nostalgic for Kansas City. It was a treat to enjoy some of it while crafting one of our own brews. House Rule: Always enjoy a beer while brewing.
This is the current state of affairs in our guest bedroom. With two batches in the works at one time, this room might need to officially be repurposed as the brewery room. The Anchor Steam clone is in the bottles, and the bucked is holding the beginnings of a Magic Hat #9 clone. I hope that one turns out well, because it's one of my favorites!
And of course, we're always collecting more bottles. There is a bit of a growler surplus at the moment, too, which two from Goose Island and two from Half Acre. Time to buy more beer to fill those growlers, don't you think?