Making your own beer for fun not profit

One of Papazian's homebrewing books

One of Papazian’s homebrewing books (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I sent this to the Lake County Record-Bee in hopes of it becoming a regular feature called The Brew Note.

Making Your Own Beer for Fun not Profit

Hello ladies, how are you? Fantastic. Does your man look like me? No. Can he make beer like me? Yes. If your guy can make instant oatmeal, he can make you a beer with more flavor than chocolate. In fact, he can make you a beer with chocolate in it. Or, if you like, you can do it yourself and not break the bank.

If you are tired of the same-old same-old beer, you know what I mean: beer whose only taste is “fizzy.” Then you are ready for craft beer. And, one of the best things about craft beer is you can make great tasting handcrafted beer yourself. And you will gather friends to help you drink your beer.

Here are some reasons to brew your own beer:

  1. You can be creative. If you want chocolate and habañero chiles in your beer, you can make your beer with chocolate and habañero chiles. You can make light or dark…or pink beer, if that lights your candle.
  2. You will know exactly what is in your beer because you made it. Nothing you want left out is in and nothing you want in is left out.
  3. It is simple to do. We humans have been making beer for as long as we have been growing grains. When you brew, you connect with a tradition that is thousands of years old. That’s downright ennobling, ain’t it?
  4. It’s pretty cheap to make. No expensive high-tech equipment is needed. You need a pot to boil in and a container (such as a food-grade bucket with airtight lid and airlock) to ferment in.
  5. Beer is honest. Beer doesn’t lie to you (unless you drink too many—then it lies like a cheap rug). If your beer has a problem, it tells you (it never says, “If you don’t know what the problem is then I’m not going to tell you either!”). Homebrewed beer gives you honest feedback as to whether you did it correctly.
  6. When you homebrew, you will learn the secret handshake that all homebrewers around the world know that gets them free beer at all places that serve good beer. [Okay, I made that one up. But, I have told a brewpub’s waitstaff that I’m a homebrewer and have been invited back to see the brewing equipment and have been given samples to try.]
  7. Good people drink good beer. If you are interested in trying, there is help available for brewing. There is a club dedicated to brewing good beer here in Lake County that meets at 6pm on the third Monday of each month at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville. They love talking about beer and how to make it and how to make it better. They don’t talk politics, religion, gossip, or current events; it is all about the beer.

What does it take to get started brewing beer? That’s for next time. For now, “Relax,” as the Godfather of homebrewing, Charlie Papazian advises, “don’t worry, have a homebrew” (or a store-bought craft beer if there’s no homebrew around).

Kelsey Creek Brewing opens its doors

Kelsey Creek Brewing Company opened its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, July 14, 2012. Publican Ron Chips had a smile wider than Main Street in Kelseyville where Lake County’s newest public house is located. “It’s been a constant stream of folks since we opened the doors,” Chips said.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ron Chips started as a home brewer and quickly turned pro by attending brewing school and interning at Lagunitas in Petaluma. The brewing company has been in the works for almost a year.

On tap for the opening was Kelsey Creek pale ale an American Pale Ale that was brewed with Ivanhoe hops grown in Clearlake as well, and No’na’me Irish Red ale.

Chips showcased one of the centerpieces of the brewery: a Russian made dispenser for filling half-gallon to-go bottles known as growlers. “The growler filler first flushes the bottle with CO2 to remove all oxygen, which is the enemy of fresh beer,” Chips said. “Then it fills the growler slowly so it does not foam. Last, there is a layer of Co2 at the very top. Most growlers can last only a few days without being opened, but mine can last for a month, making the beer fresher for a much longer of time,” he said, “I knew Kelsey Creek Brewery had to have it as soon as I saw it at a trade show.”

The brewery has an outdoor seating area (a beer garden), a long copper bar, and even purse hooks beneath the bar for women to hang their purses while they perch.

Kelsey Creek Brewing’s address is 3945 Main St., Kelseyville, CA 95451, telephone number 707 245-8402, and is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 5 or 6:00 p.m.

Update (7/21/12): Kelsey Creek Brewing has had to open on Mondays and Tuesdays due to the pent up demand for good and fresh beer in South Lake County. And, Ron now has a third ale on tap: a Scotch ale.

Lake County Homebrew Club to Meet 6 PM July 16, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Are you in Lake County and want to learn how to make your own beer? We can help.

If you are interested in learning about brewing your own beer and want to meet like-minded people, the next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club meeting is set for Monday July 16th, 2012 at 6 PM at at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville. You can visit our Facebook page here.

We do not have an agenda, but we may be talking about the Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival, which will took place in Lakeport, CA on June 23rd from 1:00-5:00 pm.

In the past we have poured samples of our homebrew at this event. This year, sadly, we did not be pour samples.

Bring a glass (for tasting) and some homebrew to share if you have any ready.  Paul and I will have two versions of an India Pale Ale that was brewed at the Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival on June 23rd.

Lake County Homebrew Club to Meet 6 PM June 18, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Are you in Lake County and want to learn how to make your own beer? We can help.

Our next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club (visit our Facebook page here) meeting is set for Monday June 18th, 2012 at 6 PM at at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville.

We do not have an agenda, but I would bet we will be talking about the Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival, which will take place in Lakeport, CA on June 23rd from 1:00-5:00 pm.

In the past we have poured samples of our homebrew at this event. This year, sadly, we will not be pouring samples. While the California Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) may issue a special daily license to a group conducting a picnic, social, or similar gathering, the local ABC officials interpret this as applying only to commercially made beer and wine.

According to the American Homebrewers Association page on statutes:

California represents one of the most comprehensive state statutes. §23356.2 also provides for the removal of beer manufactured in the home for use in competitions, tastings, or judgings.

It seems ABC interprets these tastings to be between others who are also homebrewers. And, they can, without a warrant, confiscate brewing equipment.

Related articles

Upcoming Lake County Homebrew Club Meeting May 21, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Live in Lake County, Calif and make or want to learn how to make your own beer? Join us.

Our next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club (visit our Facebook page here) meeting is set for Monday May 21, 2012 at 6 PM at at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville.

Among other things, we will talk about the Big Brew we had on May 5, the upcoming Lake County Winemakers Fest, taste and evaluate each others beers, and we will be tasting spices, fruits, and whatever we might want to try to steep in beers using French presses.

Bring a glass (wineglasses work well) for tasting, and (if you are a homebrewer) bring some of your homebrew to share.

For more information, contact Paul at coachpaul707@gmail.com

Cheers!

Lake County Homebrewers to do a Big Brew for National Homebrew Day – May 5


Are you interested in learning about brewing using malted barley grain? The Lake County Homebrewers will have at least 3 brewing systems set up and will be brewing from 11 AM until 5PM on May 5, 2012 at Mt. Konocti Winery (I know brewing beer at a winery, can you believe that?). Come over and watch us brew beer! Mount Konocti Winery is located at 2550 Big Valley Road, Kelseyville, CA 95451.

We are eager to answer any questions about the brewing process; a process that goes back 10,000 years.

Grain going into the Two Dude Brew mill

The Lake County Homebrewers will be doing this demonstration as part of the nationwide American Homebrewers Association‘s Big Brew on their National Homebrew Day.

This just in (4/24/12 @ 3pm): The American Homebrewers Association says:

Get your request in before midnight on Thursday (4.26) to receive copies of “Zymurgy: An Introduction to Homebrewing” for your AHA Big Brew event! http://bit.ly/ZymurgyIntro

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

We will be brewing a big (high gravity) beer. Last year we brewed a stout that was then aged in a bourbon barrel. This year we are considering :

  • Barley Wine/Imperial Stout – 9.7% aged in Bourbon Barrel Similar to Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing Company.

    Boiling the 'wort' (the liquid runoff after steeping--mashing--the grains)

    Using White Labs WLP001 or Fermentis Safale 05 yeast.

  • Strong Belgian Blonde Ale aged in Chardonnay Barrel 10% ABV using WLP500
  • Blonde Wheat aged in Chardonnay 8.5% similar to Blue Moon Chardonnay Blonde could possibly add orange peel and coriander using either a Wit, Hefe, or Belgian Yeast Strain
  • Saison aged in Chardonnay Barrel – 8.5% using WLP566 Saison Yeast or Wyeast 3711
  • India Pale Ale (English style) Using White Labs WLP002 or Fermentis Safale 04 yeast.

Whatever we end up brewing, we would love to see you there.

Related articles

Lake County Homebrew Club Meeting April 23, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Live in Lake County and want to learn how to make your own beer? We can help.

Our next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club (visit our Facebook page here) meeting is set for Monday April 23rd, 2012 at 6 PM at at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville. For the Big Brew on National Homebrew Day (Saturday, May 5, 2012) the tentative plan is to brew a New Holland Dragon’s Milk clone and hopefully procure a 55-60 gallon bourbon barrel to age it in although this is not set in stone.  Leave a comment if you have other ideas.

And, leave a comment if you are  interested in brewing at Big Brew Day, and whether you want to brew 5 or 10 gallons.  We may have extra equipment for mashing.

Anyone out there with a 55-60 gallon bourbon barrel that will loan it (for 6 months) or sell it for a song? Let me know in the comments.
Cheers!

Lake County Homebrew Club Meeting March 26, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Want to make your own? We can help.

The next meeting of the Lake County Homebrew Club is scheduled for Monday March 26, 2012 at 6 PM at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville.  Don’t forget to bring ideas for a club project, a glass and, if possible, some homebrew to share.

Cheers!

AHA Big Brew Day 2012 in Lake County

According to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) site the AHA Big Brew – A Celebration of National Homebrew Day will be on May 5, 2012. And, the two recipes of the day will be 1) an American Brown Ale or a or 2) Northern English Brown Ale. The link to these recipes are at http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/BigBrew2012.

The setup on patio of Guido's Pizza in Kelseyville

The Lake County Homebrewers as a group have not yet decided where (although the Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast has offered to host the club) and what to brew on the AHA Big Brew Day 2012. Last year we brewed a stout that was then aged in a bourbon barrel.

We’d like to try another barrel, so if anyone knows of a barrel–cheap–we’d love to hear about it.

Lake County Homebrew Club Meeting Tonight at Guido’s Pizza

The next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club meeting is scheduled for Monday November 21st at 6 PM at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville.  Don’t forget to bring ideas for a club project, a glass and, if possible, some homebrew to share.

Cheers!