Chapter 1

A Crash Course in Brewing

Serving Day


At last, you get to sample the fruit of your efforts. It's been about a month, and you are ready to open your first bottle and see what kind of wonderful beer you have created. During the past two weeks, the yeast still swimming around in the beer have consumed the priming sugar, creating just enough carbon dioxide to carbonate your beer perfectly.

OK, so maybe you couldn't wait this long and you already opened a bottle. You may have noticed the beer wasn't fully carbonated or that it seemed carbonated but the bubbles had no staying power. You may have also noticed a "green" flavor. That flavor is the sign of a young beer. The two-week "conditioning" period not only adds carbonation but also gives the beer flavors time to meld and balance out.

1. Chill your beer. The bottled beer does not need to be stored cold. It will keep for approximately six months, depending on how well you managed to avoid exposure to oxygen during the last stage of fermentation and the bottling process. You will probably want to chill it before serving, however. The optimal temperature for serving beer depends on the style, varying from 40-55°F (4-12°C). In general, the darker the beer, the warmer you serve it.

2. Pouring your beer. To pour the beer without getting yeast in your glass, tip the bottle slowly to avoid disturbing the yeast layer on the bottom of the bottle. With practice, you will be able to pour everything but the last quarter inch of beer without getting any yeast in your glass.

3. Savor the flavor. Finally, take a deep draught and savor the flavor of the beer you have created. Don't rush it - there's plenty more (47 bottles, in fact). Take time to evaluate the flavor, its bitterness qualities, its sweetness, the level of carbonation. These observations are your first steps to beer appreciation and designing your own recipes.