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Brewing Beer
Tue, Feb 21 2006

So here's how I made the mash I intended to ferment to make the beer:

I boiled the 1200 millliliters of water with the 454 grams of malt extract, the contents of half a capsule of St. John's Wort, 4 Tablespoons of sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cocoa, then poured it into two 1-litre jars. When it had cooled down, I added some yeast to it. The instructions I had read said not to use bread yeast, but bread yeast was all I had so bread yeast was what I used.

After about 10 days, I stirred it thoroughly and then set it back to wait for it to settle. The plan is that it will "throw down a sediment", as wine does, and when it has done so, I will siphon or pour off the clear stuff on the top above the sediment, then pour it into wine bottles with some added sugar, and plug it securely with a plastic cork and wait for the residual yeast to eat the added sugar and excrete carbon dioxide to fizzy it up. That, at least, is the plan.

Posted Charlotte O'Neil at 8:04 AM GMT
Updated: Tue, Feb 21 2006 8:14 AM GMT
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Mon, Feb 20 2006

This is my beer blog. I have decided that, come hell or high water, I am going to make beer. I have been making wine for years and have wanted also to make beer, but everytime I looked for instructions or recipes on beer-making it always gave lots of technical stuff about specific gravity and measuring and math and a large garbage can to make it in and other fancy equipment and I had none of the equipment, didn't want to make it in a large amount and didn't understand the math so I would give up and not bother.

But, still, I wanted to make beer.

So, finally, one day I thought, the reason that there is so much math and mechanical gadgets in making beer is because it is made by MEN, but it used to be made by women. And, back in the days when women made beer, I was sure, they didn't make it with no sanitized carboy, specific gravity measure or fermentation locks, but they made it the way women always make stuff -- with whatever they had on hand. I decided I would make beer and would use what I had learned while researching how to make beer to actually make the beer, and not be deterred by anything I didn't have or couldn't do, and I would make it in a quantity that I had jars to put it in, rather than in a bathtub or garbage can/dustbin

I started off with a jar of Malt Extract, purchased at the health food store for #1.09, which is about $2.00 at today's exchange rate. It was labelled as 454 grams. It looked like it would be about 10 ounces if it were measured in liquid. I still have the jar and I mean to measure it in water amount as soon as I get a round tuit.

I don't even know that much about what hops are -- I assume it is some kind of plant -- but I certainly don't have any hops. Hops are used to add bitterness to the beer to cut the sweetness of the sugar in it.

However, I had read that before men made beer with hops, women used other plants and herbs to give it both the bitter flavor and aroma as well as medicinal properties, because when women made beer it had therapeutic value along with its other properties. And, of the three herbs mentioned that were used prior to the use of hops to add bitterness, one was wormwood. I don't have wormwood, but I happened to know that wormwood is very closely related to the herb that is used to make St. John's Wort, and, as I happened to have a bottle of St. John's Wort capsules on hand, I decided I would add the contents of half a capsule (not the gelatin capsule itself, but opened and poured out) for the bitter element.

Finally, as everything is better with chocolate added to it, I added a Tablespoon of cocoa and 4 tablespoons of sugar.

I had no idea how much water to add because all the recipes were for pounds of malted barley mash and gallons of water, so I picked 1200 millilitres for my first attempt. I could always add more later.

Posted Charlotte O'Neil at 3:50 PM GMT
Updated: Mon, Feb 20 2006 4:57 PM GMT
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