An Educational Adventure Into Homebrewing: A Nathan Repp Anecdote

The return of Breaking Bad reminds me of my own personal hobbies involving chemistry. My pastime, however, is a far more innocuous practice: I am a homebrewer.

Chemistry outside of the classroom. (Photo Source: Adam Sharron http://www.flickr.com/photos/atom_ess/)

Chemistry outside of the classroom. (Photo Source: Adam Sharron http://www.flickr.com/photos/atom_ess/)

 The First Sip

We’re in the age of craft brewing and it was a certain Boston brewery that introduced me to my first craft beer. It was deep, complex and delicious. As I broadened my taste profile, I became fascinated by brewing’s intricacies. It all seemed so alchemical and I wanted to try my hand at it.

(Photo Source: Daniel Spiess http://www.flickr.com/photos/deegephotos/)

Differing yeast strains affect the taste and alcohol content of the beer. Most yeast dies at 14% alc/vol. (Photo Source: Daniel Spiess http://www.flickr.com/photos/deegephotos/)

A Brewing Quest

I started primitive: a store bought kit. My first beer tasted good enough but it wasn’t mine. I just poured things into a pail according to instructions.

For my next beer, I invested in a complete setup and the result was bland. I was still combining things without knowing the why and the what for.

So, I turned to books and experts and began to learn. It was frustrating but the acquisition of knowledge always has its rewards. I became a chemistry and biology student in my free time.

I became self-educated on the breakdown of starches in grain (for sweetness and yeast nutrient), the acidic content of hops (producing beer’s bitter or floral qualities), the conditioning of yeast

(Photo Source: zolakoma http://www.flickr.com/photos/zolakoma/)

A calculation of the beer’s gravity before and after fermentation will reveal the alcohol content. (Photo Source: zolakoma http://www.flickr.com/photos/zolakoma/)

Growing Something Great

This past winter, I set out to make a roasted hazelnut brown ale based on my own recipe.

For those interested: I used real hazelnuts, chocolate and crystal malts, and two doses of centennial hops.

When it was finished, it was exactly what I had set out to make because I had already produced it step-by-step in my mind. It tasted like an expression of myself and I could proudly explain the process that I used.

 Write in below and tell me about the educational hobbies that you are passionate about.

Cheers. (Photo Source: Daniel Lobo http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/)

Cheers. (Photo Source: Daniel Lobo http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/)

 Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero. The views and opinions expressed of this particular blog belong solely to those of the author and not of Scholar Hero, Inc.

 

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