Monday, October 15, 2007

Beer fountains and smoked fish

smoked fish
Originally uploaded by robg2251
If I haven't announced it yet, I've jumped into the world of beer brewing. There's a definite step by step process you have to go through for beer brewing. I was so nervous about it, I thought about it and read books the entire summer. I went to a beer club meeting, and talked to several people about brewing. Finally, I made the plunge, and brewed a Porter from a Brewers Best kit that came with the equipment I purchased. I decided to dry hop the beer, which, in the end, didn't make too much of a difference - actually, it made kind of a bad difference.
The beer tasted good. Just like a porter. A chocolatey caramel taste. Depending on the temperature, the beer almost had a licorice taste to it. Definitely drinkable. Even my mom, who doesn't drink beer, said it was good! (maybe she was just being nice).. Anyhow, I drank my share of it, and shared some with others.
Last night I was pouring myself one, and the line trickled dry. I was amazed that I went through the beer that fast, but did a quick jiggle test of the keg, to find there was at least a gallon left. I checked the co2 - sure enough, it was out. UGH. I must have done something wrong for it to leak.. I ran to the hardware store today and exchanged the tank. I went home and hooked it back up. Pressure.. but no beer. Hmm. Cloggage maybe? That's what the beer advocate fella's said.
I managed to trace it down to hop clogging the out valve in the keg. I tried various things to unplug the hops. My last attempt was to try to blow the co2 into the in valve. I did, and nothing seemed to happen. I hooked the co2 back up to the correct side. Not thinking, I forgot to let the pressure out of the keg.... can you see where this is going?..

I popped the stem off of the out valve.. and could see hops slowly seeping out, and foam. Everything after this moment happened so fast, I was kind of in shock. I just remember feeling beer on my head, and looking up thinking - holy shit, how is the beer dripping from my ceiling?! I looked back down and there was this amazing porter fountain shooting to the ceiling and spraying all over my garage. I didn't know what else to do so I shoved my finger over the hole and released the pressure in the keg. The fountain subsided as I watched my garage drip with porter.. Good news is - the hops are no longer plugging the keg!!

I cleaned up, and remembered I was supposed to have a beer and eat dinner at my bar in the garage. A smoked whitefish that my friend Steve brought me back from Indian River Michigan (up near the bridge). I didn't want to mess with the keg again, so i shoved it into the fridge. I picked up some cheap beer, and am about to have a splendid smoked fish snack, complete with horse radish and tabasco sauce.

I still kind of smell porter... I imagine I will for a long time to come. Live and learn I told the dog and she pranced around in the puddles of porter in the garage.... live and learn. :)