Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A brew that is true...

It's always difficult to start a post with 'now for something completely different'. For that reason I'll avoid this phrase although I'm about to tackle a topic that is not stricly wargaming related. Whereas... Who would argue that beer is something wargaming related? Isn't it all about a great time with friends, beer and brezels? Maybe not all but at least a major part of it so let me share how Monty's Manour turned into a brewery a couple of weeks ago...

Well... It was during those days after Pentecost when precious Mrs Monty took our girl to a North Sea trip and left yours truly behind. The three girls were about to spend a couple of days with my parents in law and I found it unnecessary to spoil their and my holidays likewise. Anyway that left poor old Monty behind and loneliness planted the idea into my mind to invite one of my oldest friends to try some do-it-yourself brewing.

A word, a blow. On Pentecost sunday Auld Nick joined me and first we inspected the ingredients for our brewing day. We decided to make an India Pale Ale (IPA). A kind of beer we both appreciate and which is available in prepared packages with weighted out ingredients:
The ingredients weighted out for about 4 litres of beer.

For our first try I bought the stuff as a presorted set of ingredients:
  • A manual - priceless for the first attempt
  • Malt
  • Hop pellets
  • Yeast
  • Disinfectant
In addition we needed some things from our household:
  • A pot for around 10 litres
  • A kitchen scale
  • A thermometer
  • A beaker
  • A fine scale
  • A sieve
Armed with these we started... Firstly we had to heat the malt in water to solve malt sugar and starch. This took about an hour and we had to keep an eye on the thermometer during the whole time since the stuff may neither turn too hot nor too cold.
Our malty spoup.
Don't forget to steer it well during the whole time to prevent the malt from scorching on the bottom of the pot:
Niclas stirring the soup.
After that we put the cooked out draff into a sieve and sluiced out the last bits of sugar and starch with two castings:
Yours truly skimming off the draff.
Now we had completed the first important part of creating a beer. We had our wort. Now we let boil the wort and added the hop in five batches. That was pretty challenging since it was only 14g of hop pellets. Anyway the earlier batches are needed to give bitter compounds and durability into the beer while the later additions add flavour. Especially important for Indian Pale Ale which is characterised by a nice citrous scent.
Hop pellets on the fine scale.
By the way from now on all equipment used with the wort should be disinfected.
Disinfection with fire.
Boiling the wort took another hour. So meanwhile we used the draff to prepare a nice, whole grain bread for dinner.
Draff bred in our oven.
 It's more or less a simple dough of wheat flour, baking yeast, beer and salt which rose wonderfully:
The finished loaf.
Anyway finally we had our wort finished and after it cooled down to more or less room temperature we added some Belgian dry ale yeast. Now all the stuff went into a fermenting vessel and was to be store away for a week of fermenting.
Our young beer prepared for the first week of fermentation.
Proud we were after this day of work. Our first homemade batch of beer was prepared and Nick and I were really keen on seeing how our IPA would turn out.
Nick and yours truly.
Anyway we had to wait a week until we could transfer the young beer into bottles and rather hungry we were after a busy afternoon. Thus we finished the day with a slice of draff bred, a traditional dish from Westfalia and a sip of my favourite beer Füchschen Alt from my beloved hometown Düsseldorf:
Draff bred, Töttchen and Füchschen Alt.
The dish is called Töttchen and consists mainly of lamb meat and tongue. In case that your interested in the recipe I'd gladly share it here.

However I hope that you enjoyed this short trip into brewery. A week later we transfered the beer into bottles and now it has to rest for another three weeks. Nothing too interesting so...


  1. It sounds like a fun afternoon! I hope the home brew turns out tasty!

    1. So do I... ;-)

      We'll try it at our daughter's birthday in late June...

  2. Stefan, my friend this is genius! I must try this myself, perhaps in the summer holiday. Good luck with your first batch!

    1. Many thanks, Michael. If I can be of any help please let me know.

  3. As Michael said, this is genius. Bring on the summer holidays!

  4. Educational and a wonderful apron!

    1. A gift of my sister aged ago. But still useful... ;-)

  5. It all sounds very tasty! Now it's time for a good Belgian beer! :-D
    Great post Stefan!


    1. Thanks, Peter. Good Belgian beer is never inappropriate, is it?

  6. I never thought I would be reading about homebrew on a wargaming blog but I guess they both have a connection in that they are the sort of things we blokes get up to in our sheds/garages/hobby rooms or kitchens when the wife is away.
    An enjoyable diversion and thanks for sharing Stefan.
    Cheers, Bottoms Up, Salute, Skoll,

    1. Many thanks for your extensive feedback, Pat.

  7. I've been brewing my own beer for over a decade now, as "Man Cave Brewery"
    LOTS of fun to be had experimenting with all the different types of recipes etc

    Save me a glass - hopefully we can share it in August :-)

    1. I'm not sure whether it'd be drinkable until August but be sure that I'll have a good pint for you then, mate.

  8. I love a good brew but I'm too lazy to make my own. Nicely done, it will be a treat I'm sure.

    1. It's a great experience and a bunch of fun, that's sure. I'll definitely try some other recipes...