Brewfus Brews Brews.

Clever title? I'd say "say that 10 times fast," but I was totally able to. And I'm not even that smart.

So, back around Chrismahanukwanzakah, I received a gift certificate to the greatest place on earth. Amazon. Can I call it a "place" if I can only peruse the aisles in binary format? Bah, semantics. Around the time I got this gift certificate, I had also been shopping around and doing research on homebrewing. I came across a kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop one day while shopping in the hippest of hipster towns, and my new home town, Hampden, MD. Seriously, it was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the biggest "hipster towns in America." Is it a coincidence that I live there? Irony? I don't care.

Anyway, after doing a ton of research, I decided the Brooklyn Brew Kits would be perfect for me. With no all grain brewing experience under my belt, and only 6 batches of extract (read: Mr. Beer) I felt this would be the perfect set up for a complete n00b like me. So I took my gift certificate, placed my order and started doing my "now that you have your kit, how do you brew beer?" research. Luckily, the interwebs is a vast source of knowledge, outside of cats, porn, and free music and movies. So in the following days, I became a beer soaked sponge. And I'm happy to report, I'm still learning.

A lot of stuff in a little box. You got your grain, hops, yeast, fermenter, air lock, thermometer, siphon, hose, sanitizer, and happiness. This all came in one box, for $45. That, to me, is pretty awesome. One thing it didn't come with? Instructions. No big deal though, just hit up the Brooklyn Brew Shop website, and you can get whatever instructions for whatever brew you're making. Regardless, you can more or less start brewing right out of the box. But...I needed more stuffs.

Now, in my neurosis, I hit up Amazon and Maryland Home Brew for some items that I felt I needed (and for the most part, I did) to brew at a level of comfort that I desired. Things like stock pots, a hydrometer, a hydrometer tube, and a 10.5" strainer. All said and done, I dropped...maybe...$70 on the "extras." So, all said and done, a one time expense of $115 to get started, for me at least. You may already have a strainer, stock pots, and the like.

That doesn't include the cost of this book. This awesome, awesome book:

Seriously, if you want to brew, get his book.

So, lets get to the good shit! I'm not going to wax intellect through every step, explaining every detail to a grueling degree.

The Mash!

I had a bit of a difficult time staying within the temperature range, and I was so paranoid every time I surpassed it. I was as diligent as I possibly could be, but each time the temperature dropped and I turned the burner on, I definitely exceeded by about 10. And I completely forgot to mash out at 170.

After the mash, I set up for my "sparge" and got "lauter run" ready. I thought I made a  faux pas, and I squeezed the grain. I did some reading about squeezing and pressing. Some people said "blah blah tannins" and some people didn't  "Too late," I thought.

The Boil!

By far my favorite part of it all so far. Its easy, get it to a nice rolling boil, and add your hops at the specified intervals. I don't think there's any way you can really screw this up too bad.

Get That Shit Fermenting!

Another pretty easy task. Set up an ice bath, and get your pot in there after the boil. Cool it down to 70 and get it in the fermenter. Pitch your yeast, shake that sonofabitch, get your airlock on, and let science take over. Seriously, science. I took a couple of VERY brief videos from my second batch to give people an idea of whats happening:

Yeast is happily eating sugar...

...farting CO2...

...and peeing alcohol! Sorry-no videos of anything peeing.

After the initial CO2 discharge (about 48 hours), I went ahead and put it in my super dark closet, up on my third floor to finish sciencing.

Or two weeks. But it feels like forever. Seriously. Right, brewers?


I don't have any pictures of me bottling. Want to know why? Because fuck bottling, that's why. After mixing the honey for conditioning, it was time to get to it. Using gravity to siphon beer and the whole rigmarole of it all left me with a sour taste in my mouth. So I got an auto-siphon for my next batch (and it's amazing). In the end, I had about 9 bottles of beer, ready to condition. And in two weeks, they were ready for me to drink...

...To be continued, in my follow up review post of my first all grain homebrew.

Overall Reaction

Honestly, this wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Between the clear directions, Brooklyn Brew Shop's amazing customer interaction online,and my own hours of research, this process went relatively smooth, albeit time consuming. Brew day ate up a good 3 to 4 hours of my Saturday, after counting in cleaning and prep work. But between drinking beer WHILE brewing and dancing around the kitchen, It was actually a very fun day. And the house smelled awesome.

Brewing while drinking a beer from the brewery that inspires me. Poetic.

I can not recommend this kit enough. It was simple enough for a knuckle-dragger like me to comprehend, but still gives you the room to experiment. You can purchase the kits online at their website, and if you're lucky, there might be a retailer near you that carries them as well.

Brooklyn Brew Shop:


Brewing beer paired well with: Prodigy - Invaders Must Die

Seriously, I was dancing while brewing. A lot.


Beers of Days Gone Past IV

Yay, more beers I drank and didn't write about! I'm always tweaking these installments, so with this one, I'll be giving a bit more depth on each beer, including thoughts. It's like a 6 beer mini review, all in one convenient post!

Most...I think all of these were drank in the year 2012. But just goes to show how well I hang onto crappy pictures.

Monk's Cafe Sour Flemish Ale. Brewed for the location in Philadelphia of the same name. Some call it the Bud Light of sour, but I call those people not so nice words. I think this is a great beer. A great introduction to sours, with a lightly tart and juicy taste to it. Also, one of the only sours I know to come in a 4 pack in these areas. Or at least the only on I've seen.

Exclaim the name! Sweet Baby Jesus is a Peanut Butter Porter from hometown hero, DuClaw. I was lucky enough to get some of the first batch that came out around the end of 2012. As excited as I was to get it, I was even less so after my first taste. I thought it had all the flavor I wanted, but the feel was far too thin for a porter. After speaking about this with Brad, the sales guy for DuClaw and getting to try it locally at their Arundle Mills location (On nitro! It was nothing short of amazing.), I'm again excited about it. And it goes awesome with Pecan Pie.

One of the bottles I picked up from my order. Whiter & Nerdier from Justice brewing is a White IPA with enough "nerd" aspect to appease me. I definitely got way more Belgian than anything. That is not a complaint. While there was definitely a hop profile, the estery goodness really shined. It was a pretty decent beer. With that said...I probably wouldn't buy this again.

The Beer Fairy came to my desk a few days before my Christmas vacation. He greeted me with a 6 pack of this seasonal offering from Troegs. I was more excited than I could tell you. This beer redefined what winter seasonal beers could be. Not your plain and simple "winter warmer," Mad Elf is chock full of cherry and goodness. A sweet, malty, and spicy beer. I saw some not too long ago still sitting on a shelf. I should see if it's still there...

Another winter seasonal! Perhaps there's a reason why Sam Adams has little to no stouts in their arsenal. And with the addition of Merry Mischief to their lineup, I think they nailed the reason. This beer was just overwhelming and a chore. And it resulted in me doing something I try hard not to do...Drain pout. Womp womp.

What an AWFUL picture. The beer pictured is The Bruery Tart of Darkness. It was part of their Provisions Series. An oak aged sour stout. Sounds like a hell of a beer, right? It was. The beer bitch slapped me not only with a heavy tart, but also by being far more complicated than I ever would have guessed. A friend of mine I shared it with, she just could not get enough. It was a bit more on the expensive side, and I held onto it for many months hoping for just the right time to open it. But then I eventually said "fuck it" and shared it with my friends. I couldn't have been happier. If you see it, grab it. And when you grab it, drink it. Because it really is unlike any beer I've ever had.


#31 New Holland Pilgrim's Dole - iLike Beer Guest Post

Faithful readers, the following is a guest post from one of the preeminent blogs that urged me ever forward to becoming the Brewfus that you know today. This guest post comes from Tobias Mackenstein, the master of prose over at iLike Beer, the only blog I know with a theme song. I hope you enjoy as much as I do. You can find him over here:

-Hipster Brewfus

It comes with great pride that I extend my hand in friendship to Mr. Brewfus, a gentleman commonly known as Sir Jake Bagadonuts.  It comes with great regret that said hand is not extended contributing to the well-known sound of glasses contacting each other as this virtual ‘cheers’ is exactly that; virtual.  I believe the proper saying in this case would be ‘tis the thought which counts.

The highest form of flattery has been bestowed upon me; Sir Jake asked me to write a guest post for him.  A rational reason still escapes me as this author is certainly ill behooved to assert that it is I who is doing the favor.  With that said, I shall attempt not to linger upon formality. 

Background:  Whilst browsing the selection of special libations at the market I came upon this particular brew.  Admittedly, it was not this which I originally sought; I was searching for Goose Island’s Bourbon County as vehemently as an Antandroy does for lobster at low tide.  Historically the pilgrim’s [sic traitors] dole was just a needlessly fancy term for a ration.   It seems much as the name infers I walked away rationed with the only thing available (which was bourbon barrel aged); the Pilgrim’s Dole. 

Color:  An opulent yet slightly cloudy sinopia. 

Taste:  I was originally seeking a much different juice, a dark sweet nectar which flows through me much like blood.  I preface this as such because I walked away disappointed, as if I was given bland white bread when I was actually seeking sweet Portuguese rolls.  I must say that my underwhelment was subsided upon the first smell.  This is not Widmer Brothers with a shot of bourbon as I expected, but a delicious flavor library which was gifted to my mouth.  It is said that when one is starving, even rations are delicious.  I do not believe this was the case.