D.I.Y. BrewHouse may just be the most important brick-and-mortar store for anyone who claims to love their beer, wine or spirits.
Propriestor JonPaul “JP” Tolan has been making beer for most of his life. Now, he has decided to share his knowledge and assist anyone looking to try their hand at brewing.
Tolan agreed to demonstrate how easy it is to create a “do-it-yourself brew” by showing us here at Go Columbia how to create a chocolate milk stout, affectionately dubbed “The State Stout.” Although Tolan has all the ingredients experienced brewers would need to craft a custom brew in the shop, we used an assembled kit made by the Brewer’s Best. JP considers this kit rather foolproof, remarking that if you follow the instructions, your end result should be roughly five gallons of pure premium beer.
Per the instructions, we marked the brew date and went right into what Tolan considers the most important step: cleaning and sanitizing any brewing equipment and utensils that will come into contact with the ingredients.
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Next, we steeped the grains – roasted barley – in our “brewing pot.”
“We’re going to do that at a temperature ranging between 150 degrees to 165 degrees (Fahrenheit), because that’s when the starches are going to start breaking down into sugars,” Tolan said. “We want sugars and flavors from these grains. And the one thing you never want to do is squeeze the bag. It’ll release bad flavors – bad tannins – and it’s going to ruin the flavor of your beer.”
After 20 minutes, what once was water is now called “wort.” Boiling the wort, you add in several extracts and hops and wait for it to boil everything in – roughly for an hour. The cooling-down process requires ice-cold water, as we siphoned the wort into a sanitized fermenter and added water to bring it up to 5 gallons. What we were now staring at would in the very near future become the beer.
But before securing a lid on it and letting it ferment for a week, there was one final step: sprinkling yeast over the surface of the wort. While fermenting in a dark, warm, temperature-stable area (approximately 64 degrees to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) for a week, the yeast helps the wort become beer.
Tolan has helped a number of local guys give brewing a shot.
“If you buy your ingredients from me and/or your equipment from me, I’ll let you brew in here as often as you want and let you store it here till I run out of room,” he said.
“We’re just now catching up with the craft idea here in South Carolina, but I think as we move forward, more and more people are going to get interested in trying this at their home,” he added.
This is the first in a series of making a D.I.Y. Brew.