And then there was beer :). But before I get into all that, I just need to...talk...just for a second. Would that be alright? To say that the last few weeks have been trying would be putting it lightly. A bout with the flu (yes, this year's flu vaccine is a bust), a syncopal episode followed by seizure, and a trip to the ER to see my dad the day after New Year's...I really wouldn't mind a little boredom in my life.
It's almost been a year since my dad made the arduous journey from Indonesia to the U.S. to receive treatment for stage 4 metastatic renal cell carcinoma, and I still can't seem to wrap my brain around the situation. I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping my emotions in check, but seeing my dad in the ER last week struggling for air, completely incoherent...it broke me inside. Especially when in his confusion, he was able to identify me - "That's my son. Tim." He couldn't recall his own birthday or follow simple commands, but he knew who I was.
And as a new year begins, I can't help but be reassured by Psalm 65:11 - "You crown the year with Your goodness; Your ways overflow with plenty." I also hope that when things don't quite go my way, my response will be right - "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes."
So after a week in the primary fermenter, it was time to transfer the beer to a glass carboy, my secondary fermenter. Before making the move, though, I couldn't forget the single most important step - sanitize EVERYTHING. Thank goodness for no-rinse sanitizer. Now at the end of Part I, I was a little concerned due to the lack of activity in the airlock, but once I popped off the lid to the fermenter, I was pleased to find a nice krausen ring on the sides of the bucket. I was pretty clumsy with the siphon (still learning the ropes) and probably exposed the beer to too much oxygen, but eventually I got all the beer into the carboy.
The hardest part of home brewing for me so far is all the waiting. One week in the primary fermenter, one week in the secondary fermenter, three weeks in the bottles... I know, I know...patience is a virtue. Actually, work's been so busy lately that the week in the carboy went by pretty quick. After checking the specific gravity, I helped myself to a little taste :).
While waiting for all my bottling gear to dry off, I prepared the priming sugar. Once cooled, I poured the sugar water into the bucket and then transferred the beer to the bucket. I was a touch more proficient with the siphon this time around...not by much.
Using the siphon (hello, dear friend) and a bottle filler, I, with the crucial help of MJ, proceeded to fill 45 bottles of beer...45 bottles of beer, take one down, pass it around, 44...sorry, I couldn't resist. I should have ended up with 48 bottles, but due to loss during all the transfers and my oversized tasting glasses, I was left with a modest 45.
So as the yeast ferment the priming sugar and carbonate the beer, I wait. Just a little while longer, and I'll get to enjoy my very first batch of homebrew. I sincerely hope that my rookie mistakes haven't ruined the final product. Until next time, my friends...