When the Cat’s Away…

…the mice will play. Or in this case, when Mrs. G is outta town, I often get bored and have to find ways to entertain myself. There’s only so many movies I can watch that she won’t watch (ie Sci-fi, comic book based movies like Wolverine or nerdy moveis). One way I’ve found to entertain myself is to brew beer. I’m no expert at this, it’s only my third batch, but it has been fun so far.

Boiling the wort.
Boiling the wort.

Being an amateur, I haven’t graduated up to brewing with malted grain or all-grain. Like I said, this is only my third batch, so I’m keeping it simple and using the canned hopped malt concentrate. You have to start somewhere, right?

This is the one I chose this time. Cooper's Dark Ale.
This is the one I chose for this batch. Cooper’s Dark Ale.

     It’s advertised as:

Rich mahogany colour and a creamy head. Roasted malt aromas with a hint of chocolate, generous mouthfeel dominated by roasted malt flavours, sufficient hop bitterness to give balance and a dry finish. A favourite amongst dark beer drinkers.

     We’ll see how it turns out in a month or so.

Chilling the wort.
Chilling the wort in a sink full of ice water.

     I didn’t get anymore pictures of the whole process as its kind of hands on and honestly I wasn’t thinking about it. I will report that I checked on it this morning and the yeasties are doing their job, eating the sugars and producing carbon dioxide, which you can tell by checking to see if your airlock is bubbling. I’ll keep you posted on some other steps down the road and how it ends up turning out.

     I will say that if you like to cook (especially if you like baking and using precise measurements, temperatures and yeast) and you like beer, than you will enjoy making your own beer. Yeah, it’s a labor of love and takes a lot of time and patience (mostly waiting for the next step which could be weeks down the road), but when you hand somebody a cold one, they take a sip and say “That’s really good. You made that?” it will bring a smile to you face and it makes it all worthwhile.


If you are a bit apprehensive about where to start, try looking up homebrew + your city and I can almost guarantee you will find a store that can walk you through what you need and how to do it. Most places will be more than happy to share their knowledge and get you started as they have a passion for beer and want to share it. If you find a place that isn’t friendly or not eager to help, go someplace else. In my experience, that is not a problem. The problem is more likely getting these people to stop talking about a subject they are so passionate about. If you are in the DFW metroplex, I can not recommend Homebrew Headquarters  in Richardson enough. These guys are super friendly and super knowledgeable. Heck, they even threw in a 12 pack of empty bottles the first time I went in and got started. I just had to wash them and get the labels off…

8 thoughts on “When the Cat’s Away…

  1. I love to cook, not so much bake, and I’m very fond of beer. But I think I’ll settle for showing up on your doorstep in a month or so to taste your latest batch. 🙂

  2. I had the opportunity to sit in with a friend while he was brewing a batch a few weeks back. Very interesting process and really didn’t seem all that difficult (like you, he used a concentrate). To make the process go a bit more smoothly we sampled some of his previous efforts which were quite tasty. Only problem…I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head…even anothr tasty hobby. 😉

    1. Lol. We all have to have our hobbies. This is one I’ve just started dipping my toes into. I think the hardest part is making sure everything is sanitized very well (try that with two dogs in house) and having the patience to wait. And wait. And wait until it is finally ready.

  3. Fun! I love beer but don’t brew it. I have several friends who craft their own beer and a couple are real beer meisters and do it professionally and commercially. One of the things I have picked up from them and their discussions with others is the yeast makes a HUGE difference in flavor. A major complaint from many home brewers is that the beer has a fruity taste. The fruitiness comes from the yeast, typically a bakers’ yeast as opposed to a real brewer’s yeast. One of my friends is so into brewing that he wrote to all the major beer brewers around the world requesting a slant (slanted test tube with a line of yeast) of the yeast they used in their brewing process. Surprisingly, most of them actually sent him slants. Because yeast is a fungus colony it can be replenished and kept alive indefinitely if cared for properly. He had over 100 slants at last count. Each yeast has its own distinctive flavor. If you use the slant from Heineken, for example, the beer you brew will have a Heineken flavor. Pretty fascinating stuff. If you really get into this, you may want to see if you can get your hands on some craft beer slants. Have fun. 🙂

    1. Wow! You learned me something new, Richard. We’ve recently had quite a few new breweries open up in Dallas. Been meaning to go tour some of them. Maybe they’ll let me have a slant. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. What is it about guys and cooking that tends to naturally lead to brewing? I’ve been fighting the urge to try brewing for about a year now, I find my fight growing weaker with each passing day.

    1. I have no idea, but it does seem to happen. Just brewed my fourth batch of beer on Friday. A bourbon barrel porter. Super excited to see how it turns out. Quit fighting the urge. 😉

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