Brewing Central

Homebrewing is steadily becoming a bigger and bigger component of our home life. I’m not sure why I love brewing so much. I mean, I do love beer, but after two bottles I’m usually toast. So why on Earth would I want to brew it 50 bottles at a time?

As it happens, however, lots of people in the United States are interested in home brewed beer and craft beer – specialty beers unlike the overly-common American lager like Coors or Budweiser. Belgian beers with a spicy bite. A good stout that you can chew on as much as sip. IPAs with a strong bitterness that makes your nose ache a little. Beers with a punch. Lots of flavor and of course alcohol, but that’s not really what I drink it for.

I like these beers, but they can get expensive. Sometimes they’re hard to find. But, hey, for a relatively small up-front cost, I could make my own. And in the long run, home brewing is actually cheaper than buying craft beers. Plus, brewing your own is a lot more satisfying than buying someone else’s.

And you can share it. So far, I’ve gotten positive feedback on my brews. I’m moving toward developing my own recipes, getting away from kits. I’m also moving away from simple malt extracts to the more complicated process of extracting my own malt and developing truly unique brews.

But with added complexity comes the need for more equipment. Now space is becoming an issue. As my husband and I were developing the master task list for the home last night, we agreed that a dedicated brewing space needed to be an action item. I am now charged with the task of determining what a brewing space needs to be. What it needs to include and what the conditions of the space have to be.

We’re basically talking about a super-sanitized kitchen here, and there is no part of our current home that is adequate at the moment. It’s time to get creative.

For fun, let’s consider the workspaces I have right now.

Here’s where I do the boiling – on the screen porch.

My brewing room is really a boarded-up screened porch.
My brewing room is really a boarded-up screened porch.

Here’s how I cool the wort after boiling – in the upstairs bathroom.

Just chillin' in the tub.
Just chillin’ in the tub.

Here’s where fermentation happens – in the dining room.

Three different beers, fermenting simultaneously.
Three different beers, fermenting simultaneously.

Here’s where I rack and bottle all the beer – by the kitchen door.

Racking the beer with my world-famous chair set-up
Racking the beer with my world-famous chair set-up
Bottling takes place on the kitchen floor.
Bottling takes place on the kitchen floor.

Here’s the pile of bottled brews, conditioning away – in the guest bedroom.

There are a few bottles of beer, hard cider, and mead here to enjoy
There are a few bottles of beer, hard cider, and mead here to enjoy

Here’s where I store all my equipment – also in the guest bedroom.

It's a brewing shelf? No, it's a small greenhouse that's been re-purposed.
It’s a brewing shelf? No, it’s a small greenhouse that’s been re-purposed.

These conditions are working for the moment, but what you don’t see are the carboys and buckets sitting around on the floor, the two giant coolers for all-grain brewing, nor the new brewing equipment that’s on its way. We have a space problem. We’re working on it.

And the results are going to be tasty!

Published by paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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