Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Beer Machine: Technically Beer

Let us continue on the journey to beer independence. In my previous post, I had finally set up the fabled Beer Machine, cleaned it and added all the ingredients.

After 10 days, fermentation had ceased (as evident by the lack of bubbles appearing above the airlock.) At this point I decided to take a taste to see what we were working with - this is where the design of the BM with the spigot pays dividends. It's very easy to take samples of the brew to monitor its progress.

Beer Machine gets to hang out with the good stuff
Yup, it's beer. Not great beer by any means but it is indeed beer. Still, I wanted to leave it be for a while longer to ensure that fermentation was well and truly done. After battling to keep the temp under 75 degrees in the basement, it dawned on me to use the closet that contains our well water system. I didn't use it initially as my beer cellar is in there and I was concerned about the whole exploding thing.

Success! Temps in the closet maintaining at 73 degrees.

After a few more days, fermentation is now good and done. Ideally I would bottle at this point however I forgot to assemble the bottling component prior to starting and it cannot be attached once the Machine is full of beer. Sigh. The Beer Machine is actually designed to be stored in the fridge so that one can enjoy cold beer at their leisure directly from the tap. However it has been decreed that I cannot store this monstrosity in our fridge so I've placed it in a large cooler and have been using ice to keep it cool.

Since this is not a long term solution I was simply going to drink as much of the beer as fast as I could and then toss the rest.  After a couple sessions with the stuff I can honestly say - it's not that bad.  It is definitely beer.  Malty and not too much in the way of hops.  Not a lot of alcohol to it and easy to drink.  Overall I'm pretty impressed that I made it, even if I just dumped powder and water into a contraption.


I then realized that it would be silly to just dump perfectly serviceable beer so my buddy Jay lent me his bottling supplies and I went to work on Sunday to preserve the rest for later consumption.  Since I didn't have the bottling attachment I did a half-assed version of bottling from the spigot.  This adds more oxygen than is preferable but since I was going to dump this stuff anyway, I'm just going for it and treating this like an experiment.

Let's do this

I have been saving the 22oz bombers for years in the hope that I'd one day use them for brewing and now that day had arrived.  I mixed some priming sugar with water and added it to the Beer Machine prior to bottling (1oz of sugar since I estimated that about half of the half batch was already drunk.)  I gave it a mix with a sanitized spoon, being careful not to splash and expose the brew to oxygen.  Then I let it sit for 30 minutes to give the sediment time to settle at the bottom.  The C02 cartridges work well to help the beer flow from the spigot but they don't last long.  They give you three in the box and I finished the third during the 4th of 7 bottles.  The rest of the bottling process was time consuming as there was very little pressure.

There you go.  7 bombers of beer that'll go into the beer cellar to age for a couple weeks.  Hopefully they don't explode.   Afterwards I took the Beer Machine completely apart and rinsed it all out.

And now my thoughts turn to my next beer.  I've already brushed aside the idea of using another Beer Machine mixture - I want to try my hand at a real extract recipe.  Jay gave me some Chinook hops so I've already started looking for an easy IPA recipe.  Stay tuned!


  1. For some reason – I sense Muddy drooling when he reads this

  2. No, that was me...mmmmm, beer...I really need to get down to Craft Brew Supplies and get set up for this...