Ya, it’s been a while since my last beer blog post – and not because I haven’t been brewing beer.  See, there’s this pride thing that got in the way…  I sinned against the purist in me, and lowered myself to brewing a couple beer kits.  Whoa is me!

If you didn’t read my last blog entry, I went on about how easy it was to brew in winter.  Seems my camp stove had enough heat to get a good boil going – an essential part of the process.  That was when it was 5 below zero.  Then the next brew day was 20 below.  Different story!  I had to dress like an Eskimo, and wear gloves and mitts just to grind my grain it was so cold out,  Not surprizingly, the 7.5 gallons of wort  simply would not boil, so onto the indoor stove-top it went.  The pot is big enough to fit over 2 burners, so I figured I was off to the races.  My boil was finished, and lo and behold – the condensation throughout the house was incredible!  Ceilings, walls, windows… all happily gathering up 1.5 gallons of moisture.  Won’t be doing that again!  I got a finger-wag from the boss even.  What a mess…

Hence the devolution to beer kits. See, the next couple of brew days were quite cold, and I had run out of 2-row barley anyway, so I had no choice really.  I ordered another 55 lb. bag from Defalco’s, but that wasn’t coming in till mid January. So, off to the local brew supply store to pick up a red ale, and a pilsner.  I’ve since finished the red ale, and yuk – kits just don’t cut it when it comes to flavour.  I even dry-hopped it with Cascade, but the flavour and aroma dissipated quite quickly.  I have a pilsner that is now bottled; I’m hoping it will be a better experience.  Fingers crossed!

Yesterday (Saturday), I ran into Bells Corners to get my sac of barley, and it was a balmy zero degrees. Yay!!!  Oh how I miss the smell of boiling wort and fresh hops in the morning!  It’s a much longer day than making beer from a kit, but it’s far more rewarding and tastes so much better.  During the 90 minute mash, I was even able to bottle a batch… the pilsner I mentioned.

Later in the day, an email came to me from someone in the beer club I belong to announcing a competition in Calgary.  Turns out a former co-worker and friend from my days out west has become quite the home brewer, winning tons of medals, running a beer & wine supply shop full time, and teaching beer making at Big Rock Breweries.  He’s also the top organiser of the competition.  What a small world.  So, because the brew I started yesterday doesn’t fit a specific brew style, I decided to brew another one today that will suit the competition’s requirements. At minus five degrees, my wort will boil just fine.

So, cross your fingers – maybe I’ll get another medal!


Cheers for beers,