hati-hati!

As my holidays are nearly over and I didn’t go for another long hike / journey there is only one thing that is worth posting. My brother and I started to brew our own beer. We thought about it for years already, had hops and stuff, but never found the time to actually brew a beer.

In my year in Sweden I figured that there is a much bigger variety of beers than in Germany. While you have 3-4 regular types of beers everywhere in Germany to a very reasonable price you find shitty cheap beer in Sweden – way to expensive – and good (craft) beer only a bit more expensive and actually cheaper than in Germany. This trend is swapping over to Germany and there are some special shops selling so called craft beer, but the prices are crazy compared to Systembolaget in Sweden.

Craft beer doesn’t mean that it’s not brewed in accordance to the German Reinheitsgebot! But you find lots of craft beers that don’t follow the Reinheitsgebot for a reason – because it doesn’t allow experiments with different flavours and after 500 years it’s simply outdated. Our first beer is brewed with the Reinheitsgebot in mind and still provides an uncommon taste as we used aroma hops compared to most of the big breweries that often only use extracts and bitter hops to create something like a flat Pilsener beer.

By the way, our beer is called “hati – hati” as I use to say to anybody as often as possible and means more or less “take care” in bahasa indonesia.

The second brewing session – that you see in the pictures below – is not 100% in line with the Reinheitsgebot because I added lemon peel to see if it changes the taste and maybe adds a freshness… We’ll see, it’s still fermenting. The first brew was a SNPA (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) and because of our lack of experience we bought a complete package with all ingredients online. Sometimes they call it Sierra Nada, sometimes Sierra Nevada, very confusing and I thought there’s maybe a trademark name behind it. Whatever, it’s a kind of Pale Ale and the response by our friends and family was quite good. We had different results from bottle to bottle, but that was maybe due to the fact that the bottle where lying in the fridge instead of standing and some got more carbonized, some less.

So finally coming to the second brewing session I wrote a local organic brewery and asked if they would sell me a very small amount of their stock of hops and even if it was a one time thing I’m glad that I could get these organic hops there! Apparently it’s not that easy at the moment to get organic hops. I brought a bottle for yeast as well and while we had no luck with the first brewing, where the yeast simply died before we added it to the wort canister, the yeast (US-05) stayed alive! The only thing that was missing now was malt and there are plenty of smaller and bigger malt plants in the area where I just cycled by on my way back from the brewery. Now we have our own stock for a couple of brewing sessions.

The following pictures show you our latest brewing session. The result is hopefully well balanced and considering the lower amount of hops it’s less hoppy then the previous beer. We can follow & control the fermentation process only since I soldered a little controller and connected it to my Rasperry Pi. The project is open source and developed by BrewPi. I’m using an Arduino as controller and it works quite well. Enjoy the pictures of our brewing (which is not that spectacular in pictures, but it takes a full day until you can put the canister/bucket/whatever in the fridge/basement and go to bed.

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