[Chemin-noir] Chemin Noir Brewing Class

Miles Grey Kahn at West-Point.org
Wed May 7 17:51:40 PDT 2008

Chemin Noir Brewing Class by Miles Grey

When:   Thursday, 15 May at 7:30 pm (1930 hrs to the military-minded)

Where:  Miles Grey's Apartment, Lexington Commons, 873 Revere Way West.
        IMPORTANT:  This is NOT the main entrance to Lexington Commons.
        It's the second entrance, further to the east.
        The two entrances do NOT connect.  Imagine that.  :-)
        (Map:  http://tinyurl.com/54d62z )

What:   Brewing mead and brewing beer from kits

Who:    Anyone who wants to see how easy it is to brew

What to bring:  Yourself.
                Something to scribble on and with if you'd like.
                Allergy medicine if you're allergic to cats.
                (Best take it before arriving.)

It's my goal to have the water hot for both the beer and mead before
anyone arrives.  After all, I have confidence that everyone can manage to
put a pot on a stove, pour water in it, turn on the stove, and make hot
water.  If not, reread the preceding sentence and you will have learned
something new (you might want to practice that skill a few times before
moving on to actual brewing - hot water is *very* important).

You will see the ease of kit beer brewing.  You'll also see how easy it is
to start a batch of mead.  I will have my racking wand and bottling
equipment on hand so you can pick them up and feel two different bottle
cappers, two different corkers, the racking wand used when you rack your
wort (siphon it off the dregs during fermentation or in preparation for
bottling/kegging), and the neat "bottling bucket" I use.

You won't see the process of bottling or kegging, because the beer won't
be ready for two weeks and the mead won't be ready for about a year.

You won't learn "all grain" brewing.  I don't own the equipment for that,
and I've never done it myself.  I help Matthias every now and again, but
that's about it.  In my opinion, beers made from kits or extracts do not
qualify for entry into any A&S or brewing competition.

You won't learn how to make Cyser, Pyment, or any of those other neato
mead variants.  You'll learn the *basic* mead-making process, which is
pretty much all I do.  That's because mead takes at least a year to be
ready to drink, so I brew what *I* like.  If you like the other neat
stuff, it's a very simple step to go from plain mead to any of the other
varieties, and I strongly encourage you to give it a go.  The more mead
makers there are and the more varieties we make, the more happy mead
drinkers there will be in the Kingdom!

You will get to watch (and help) me start one of the beers I hope to serve
at Eldern.  (The beers for Castellan have finished fermenting and await
kegging in my house in OKC.)

You will take part in an interesting mead-making experiment.  I've always
brewed mead by pasteurizing my wort rather than boiling it.  So a few days
before the class, I will start a batch of mead using the same honey and
boil the wort, skimming off the scum as it rises.  During the class, we
will use an identical recipe with the same honey, yeast, yeast nutrient,
and yeast energizer, only we will pasteurize the wort instead of boiling
it.  If I remember my hygrometer, we will actually take Specific Gravity
(SG) measurements.  I will observe the fermentation of both, note how long
each takes to clarify, and measure the SG of both at bottling.  With any
luck, both meads will be ready for sampling at Castellan next year.

You won't get to pitch the yeast for the mead - it will be too hot.  The
beer may cool down fast enough to pitch that yeast, but probably not.


So come on over and see how it's done.  See the equipment you'll need to
get brewing yourself.  Soon, you too can bring smiles to peoples faces by
uttering those beloved expressions: "I have this bottle of mead I made. 
Do you want some?" and "You look like you need a beer, and I just happen
to have some I brewed right here."  If you've never said these things
before, I can give you first-hand assurances that they definitely make
people smile.

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