I discovered beer brewing through Mr. Beer, a company that produces and supplies all that is needed for beginner and easy home brewing. I found that brewing beer is a great hobby and a stress reliever for me. Using Mr. Beer, keeps it simple, but gives me enough freedom to develop my own recipes. I just bottled 2 different batches that are my first attempts at my own recipes.
I will share more about Mr. Beer and my recipes, but the reason I am writing this blog is to share one aspect of relieving stress. Stress is a killer in my life. I let it build until I am not able to think straight or I have an outburst of anger (really frustration). There are a few activities that help me, stop my routine, give my mind a rest, and have some enjoyment that also provides some sense of accomplishment (can’t get too serious or it’s no longer a stress reliever). Brewing beer, riding my rode bicycle, running, backpacking, and believe it or not, playing Halo on my xBox are some activities that help relieve stress. These either give me time to exert energy, to “not think”, to loosen stress-tight muscles, zone out, or time alone to think. It just depends on what I need to get rid of the stress. This doesn’t include the spiritual aspect. I will deal with that at another time.
So back to my brewing…
Mr. Beer offers kits to get a quick start, or you are able to purchase each item separately customizing your brewing operation. I chose to purchase my items separately, because I wanted glass bottles with swing tops, so I will be able to use them over and over. I ordered the plastic brewing keg and a few other accessories.
I also chose to order the items separately so I was able to order the type of beer I wanted to drink, not the type that came with a kit. I started by brewing the Bewitched Amber Ale first. I tried a few other kinds, before I put together my own recipe–I started with Bewitched Amber Ale Extract, added Brewmax DME smooth, Cascade hops and I used Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast. The other recipe I developed started with American Classic Ale Extract, Brewmax DME pale, Cascade hops and Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast. I follow Mr. Beer directions with some modifications: I add the DME while boiling for 5 minute cook with hops. I remove from heat and add the Ale Extract. I remove the hops before I pour the mixture into the brewing keg. I follow the brewing, bottling, and conditioning instructions Mr. Beer provides.
Part of the process for me, also includes inviting a friend over to have a beer or two, while we bottle the batch that is ready. We grill a steak, catch up on what’s knew in each other’s life, drink a store-bought beer or two, and laugh about the last time we bottled beer together.
My Classic Ale is in the refrigerator conditioning. My Amber Ale is bottled in a dark cool place carbonating. I hope it taste good, but it really doesn’t matter to me, it was the process. Stress relief. Enjoyment in life. And maybe, just maybe, some good beer to drink.