So last week I kicked off the Portola Planet’s first attempt at a brew from the new home brew store, Ferment, Drink, Repeat, on San Bruno Ave. After speaking with FDR’s owner, Kevin, we selected the Little Bitty Brown Ale as our first batch. We purchased all the gear and then on Wednesday evening, fired up the stove and cooked up 5 gallons.
The instructions from FDR were pretty easy to follow. We started by steeping the bag of grains in 2 gallons of just boiled water. This very quickly turned our, what was now wort, a nice dark brown. After 30 minutes, we increased the temperature and brought the pot to a vigorous boil and added the large can of malt extract and started the 60 minute timer. Adding the UK grown East Kent Goldings hops and keeping the boil moving, while around 45 minutes latter introducing more malt into the mix.
At this point we had a wonderful smell in the house and it was time to bring the whole hot mixture down so we could add the yeast. Kevin stressed how important it was to bring the temp below 80F to ensure the yeast wasn’t killed. This was quite a challenge and used up the entire ice reserves in our freezer and required a bath full of water. I think the next time around I will definitely spend the extra and use a copper immersion wort chiller.
After much agitation to get the temp down, it was finally time to add the yeast and then seal up the whole bucket of wort to start the fermenting process. The bucket, now with a total of 5 gallons of brewing beer, was moved downstairs into my office where it could sit at a constant 70F and bubble away for the week. The next step will be to move the beer from the bucket into a 5 gallon carboy after 10 days, wait 3 more days and then finally top up 48 bottles and get ever closer to drinking our first Portola brewed FDR beer…