never fear, there’s beer…

The game’s on, the party’s started, the next phase of operation beer brewing masters is complete. Our Handsome works long hours. He leaves the house at 6 and gets home around 6.30 (poor fella only lives 5 mins from work…) The only thing that distracts him from this schedule is talking to his kids, picking up his kids or some other kid emergency. And now apparently beer brewing! Last night, Handsome was so excited at the prospect of bottling his hard brewed beer, that he left work at 5.30!

This told me the man is serious, and that I should take his beer brewing VERY seriously. So I cleared the decks and everything that had been on the kitchen counters in the teeny tiny kitchen got relegated to the sitting room. Beer brewing is a sterile business and that calls for space we simply don’t have. Sterility also required you to clean and inspect your surfaces and I’m not even going to tell you what I found on my supposedly clean surfaces, but I will say I’m glad I cleaned them and that dark granite countertops are a mistake…

As all this went on, Handsome read and reread the instructions. He confessed that he was very nervous, and I saw a glimmer of panic in his eye that when he opened the carboy the beer had been fermenting in for the last few weeks, some disaster would have occurred in the bucket and it would all be for naught. The professional process photographer arrived and began taking out her photography equipment (fine, I went and got my iPhone) and we were ready to commence. Let the bottling begin!

we're ready to go...
we’re ready to go…

Handsome commenced the sterilization of all the equipment, starting with boiling the beer caps and dispenser tap. He soaked and rinsed all the beer bottles (count ‘em – 48!) in sterilizing solution. He did the same with the dispensing bucket, tube and some other gizmo I didn’t recognize. I snapped this photo and that photo. I captured his cheesy chuckles and gleeful grins. I even got photos of him in rubber gloves and promised not to publish them (see below, hehe).

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Then the moment of truth. Handsome opened the fermenting bucket and we inspected it for mold, doom and gloom. We saw nothing, it smelt good, it was perfect, and we poured that sucker straight into the dispensing bucket so’s we could get bottling. We both tried a bit and frankly it tasted like weak flat lager. Which apparently is what it should taste like. Whoop whoop! We added the carbonating sugars and mixed those suckers in. Gotta get the fizz in our beer kids! By this point we were fizzing over with excitement ourselves. The moment of truth had really arrived.

could he get any happier...?
could he get any happier…?

Handsome poked the dispensing hose into one of the bottles and opened the tap. With a thrill, we watched the amber liquid flow down the tube and start to rise in the bottle. It got a couple of centimeters from the top and Handsome professionally flicked it from one bottle to the next and our first bottle of beer was born. With a tear in our eye, we looked at each other over the brown bottle necks and knew we were both feeling the awe of creating new life (or beer, no need to get carried away…)

dispensing beers in the teeny tiny kitchen...
dispensing beers in the teeny tiny kitchen…

Once we had our six rows of eight all lined up, we started putting the caps on those suckers… that was an amazing feeling too! The next time we opened those caps, the beer, that we made with our virgin beer brewing hands, would be when we opened them to drink! We’ve already invited the brother and sister-in-law over for the final unveiling…

It was a bit of an anticlimax when it was all over. We worked on it for a couple of hours, then put the box in the basement, but Handsome already has his eye on the next prize. He is creating a mental list of gizmos he wants for the next fifty birthdays and Christmases, to make his beer brewing exploits go even better… and the last thing out of his mouth on beer brewing? He wants to start a new batch tomorrow…

when can we start the next batch?
when can we start the next batch?

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