Sunday, January 11, 2009

Korean brewfest 2008-2009

They say poverty is the mother of invention. I beggith to differ. Until you are looking straight down the barrel of an entire year without quality beer, you will never know what you are made of in the McGruber department. So what do you do when your beer choices consist of Hite (shite), Cass (ass), Budweiser? Though I've never been as desperate as to drink half drank beers at a bar or party, I've been here two months, and the thought has crossed my mind. With that said, I'm glad I haven't been confronted with a slobbered on half empty Sierra Nevada sitting in a Korean gutter.

Patrick and I swilling while we brew. Good beer CAN be found but with extremely limited variety. Pictured from left to right Garrett, Hoegaarden, Patrick, Heineken. Not pictured but also present: Guiness, Leffe Blonde and Leffe Brown.

It became clear that I had to employ some good old fashioned Montuckian engineering skill here in South Korea. Colette was kind enough to send me hops, yeast, and malt extract to get me started but the hardware end of things was brainstormed up by yours truly in the dazzling amount of free time one finds when they only actually "work" 16 hours a week. My primary fermentation vessel would be my Culligan water jug. Various plastics would round out the racking tube, funnel and cleaning receptacles. The bottles? That's easy. How about 500ml bottled water containers of course?

The Beer called my Culligan water jug home for a couple of weeks.

I planned a special gathering at the love nest for December 7th, 5.pm sharp. All the foreigners came wide-eyed and skeptical. Could beer really be brewed in Korea? Is this guy crazy? In an effort to to keep this project as low budget as possible, I asked all the foreigners attending if they had a large brew pot. Alla said she indeed had a "huge cooking pot" I could borrow for such occasion. I needed 4.5 gallon capacity for brew day. She showed up with a 1/3 gallon offering so that meant I had to walk down to Lotte Mart and pony down a cool W33,000. Good job Alla.

Patrick manned the the brew pot stirring occasionally with all the physical fervor of a "Jerry's Kid" on quaeludes. The other minions watched from the other 3 square feet of floor space my apartment contains occasionally spouting off an "oh" or "ah" and the very unappreciative "what's taking so fucking long?"

Boiling the wort was successful, and to boot, fermentation was extremely vigorous. So much so, the sound from the water lock kept me from sleeping that night! After ten days of fermentation, the beer was ready to be bottled. Having a tiled bathroom with a drain in the middle I very handy for bottling beer. It makes cleanup a snap!

And then I was forced to wait for the beer to condition in the bottles. About three days in, a beer exploded in my brew cellar (bottle shot off its plastic top), but other then that, the entire process went as planned. But what fun is drinking alone? Bobby and I were the first to crack one open. The beer was fantastic! Bobby actually offered to buy some off me he was so impressed with it. I told him I'd help him brew the next batch so he could have 5 gallons to himself.

Scott and Sung Jin enjoy some of my pale ale. Sung Jin says "This beer strong. It makes me drunken!"

Logan (South Carolina) and Daylynn (New York) enjoy some homebrew with delicious homeade chili.

6 comments:

Kirk said...

mmmmmm.... beer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elms8GN3aIQ

Colette Reid said...

Good call Kirk!

I still say that fermentation takes longer than 10 days but if it as delicious as you say it is, I must be mistaken! It is a damn shame we are unable to experience the glory of this wonderful beer. However, I am glad you decided to put efforts into drinking quality beer. Props!

Mary said...

Your sink looks a little rustic. This vindicates me on my refrigerator skills.
Looking forward to pictures of your vacation.

Garrett Hohn said...

I don't have a hydrometer. I had to shoot from the hip on this one. It's called instinct.

Pa! said...

Nice job "Merril"

Anonymous said...

GARRETT, I STILL HAVE THE 5 GAL TANKS HERE IN MICH, I WILL SHIP THEM TO YOU IF YOU WANT THEM. THERE ARE STAINLESS STEEL. YOU HAVE A FEW OF THEM I GIVE YOU IN MONT,