Oh what a crazy couple weeks it’s been since we last hung out with Finn McSpool. First, he recently got a huge mention on his creator’s blog over at Crawcrafts Beasties which began a whole weekend of ego-mania.
Then, just as I had his ego tamed, the report that Finns were the happiest people sent him into another round of “I’m Number One! I’m Number One!” I still haven’t gotten through to him that “Finn” refers to people from Finland, but I’m also worried this revelation might make him think he has a whole country named after him.
But ego-taming is not what today’s post is about because today is St. Patrick’s Day and, being from Ireland himself, Finn is ready for a celebration. And his celebratory drink? A home brewed batch of pseudo-Guinness!
Beer as a Reward System
When I hit Save on my (almost) final draft of The Bonds of Osteria, I thought I deserved a little reward. After my wine-making experiments, I’d been contemplating trying to brew my own beer. I’ve tried home brewing once before many many many years ago with a Mr. Beer Kit only to end up with rather bland results.
This time around, I wanted to try my hand at the real thing: an all grain beer. As luck would have it, the site I was browsing for info had a kit with all the ingredients and tools. As luck (of the Irish?) would have it, the kit was heavily discounted. Talk about some hoppy fate!
And, since my first batch would be ready right around St. Patrick’s Day, and since I’d be celebrating the day with an Irish monster, I had to opt for the Pride of Dublin Stout (aka “pseudo-Guinness”). I think Finn approved of my choice.
Finn Puts on His Brewer’s Hat
Along with hops, yeast, a bottle capper, caps, and more, the kit included a big bag of grains and a mesh bag to put them while they boiled. Well, at least I thought a mesh bag was included. I thought it was just here. Where is it? Oh lord, Finn. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, not Halloween!!
Once I untangled Finn from the confines of the bag, I managed to pour the grains in without spilling them all over the kitchen (an amazing feat, if I do say so myself). Unfortunately, after waiting for me to read the instructions and get everything sanitized and organized, Finn was ready for a break and thought the grain bag made the perfect Beastie-sized bean bag chair.
Finally, I got the grains in the pot and heated the water to coax those lovely fermentable sugars out of the mix. As you might expect, Finn was a big help even if he was doubtful about the quality of a beer that started out looking like a pot of muddy laundry.
Still, as the tasty scent of the grains (and eventually hops) filled the kitchen, Finn was getting a little eager for some beer and brought over a bottle. Sorry, Finn, it’s going to be a few weeks.
Finn went off to sulk and I (while contemplating where he got that beer bottle and why he hadn’t shared its contents) cooled everything down before transferring the yummy brown concoction into a jug and adding some yeast. Then it was time to let the beer ferment. I told Finn we needed to keep an eye on everything to make sure it didn’t bubble over. He took this instruction literally.
The Results…Hey, Where’d They Go?
Bottling day went so fast that I forgot to take pictures (and let me say that capping beer bottles just doesn’t have the same frustration-relief as corking wine bottles). Finally, tasting day was upon us and although this picture doesn’t show off the magically creamy head the beer had, you’ll just have to take my and Finn’s word for it that our creation tasted remarkably like Guinness.
The only problem? Well, besides now wanting to brew more batches of all kinds of beer? We ended up drinking it all before St. Patrick’s Day. Oops.
Are you celebrating all things Irish today? Have you tried brewing your own beer? Have you had to tame any egos this week? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!!!