Indian Summer

Last Saturday in Pennsylvania was the textbook definition of Indian Summer in October.  Above is a pic from patio central with the brew equipment ready to roll.

Temps were in the 70’s, the sun was shining, and a soft breeze blew. The two previous Saturdays, the weather was rather cold and raw, like whaling off of Nova Scotia. Brewing my Indian Summer kit just didn’t make sense when the weather was not in sync. I know I wrote about why I am calling it Indian Summer before…but here is a recap: I am brewing a California Lager “Steam” beer, that is fermenting with lager yeast at an ale temperature. This beer originated in California. Due to the warmer temps in Cali, and the lack of lagering caves and before refrigeration,  pre-surfer dudes did what they could considering the geography.

So, it is brew that should have been fermented cold and it was instead done warm out of necessity. Hence, Indian Summer.  The kit was malt-wise half extract and half actual malted barley. This is the first time I have brewed with any grain and it certainly required more time, equipment (igloo cooler with a screen), and attention. The malt-extract kits are like Betty Crocker cake kits. Just add eggs and and the like, pop it in the oven, voila a cake. The grain kit is like a cake made from scratch. The big difference between the malt-extract and the malted barley comes down to time, measurement, and a need for precision. I hope the taste reflects the additional investment. Along with the brew being organic, I am hoping for Indian Summer in a bottle.

My ultimate goal is to homegrow all of my ingredients for beer on my own land. I want to take my brew-making off the grid. I might still be beholden to Big Utilities for my energy, but I want my beer to be free of outside domination. Call it a moral stance. Not exactly practical yet it does have philosophical integrity.  Thus, I am taking baby steps to Beer Independence.


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