There is almost nothing better than sipping a beer in the summer sunshine, especially when you have brewed that beer yourself!

Last year at the Grange we enjoyed some beer tasting which went down a treat.  We started to realise that there was more to beer than just Fosters and Carling and so came the decision to brew our own beer.

Our first brew was going to be a crisp, refreshing ale which would require specific ingredients, correct temperature (always tricky), bottling and tasting sessions (the best bit).

But first of all we had to clean……………..clean everything!  We cleaned the kitchen, our hands and arms and all the equipment very thoroughly whilst learning why we have to do this.  Bacteria can cause a beer to ‘go off’ or in fact just taste sour.  Some beer specifically allows bacteria in to create that sour taste, known as sours, but we were not looking for that…this time.

Smells like summer

Smells like a pub!

Next was the yeast which we watched with much interest slowly sinking into the beer.  The kitchen now smelled like a proper brewery with lots of people holding their noses when they came in!

It smells like a dirty pub in here!

Heaven!  We took an ABV (alcohol by volume) reading with our hydrometer and then placed the lid on.  We all gave a lucky tap on the lid and now came the waiting game.

We left the beer down in the cellar and kept a close eye on the temperature.  We waited and waited and waited. After one week we checked the ABV reading…things were looking good.  After two weeks we had a little tasting test, looking for problems in the beer, things we liked, didn’t like, smells and overall look of the beer.

I left it up to the head brewers to decide whether we should bottle. They agreed the time had come without a second thought!

We added priming sugar to the bottles and started the fun and slightly messy job of bottling. The brewers worked with precision and accuracy making sure every bottle had the same amount of liquid in.  Bottling can be the best part, its when the brew is starting to look like a proper beer.

We left the bottles and then had to be patient for another 3 weeks before the next tastings began.  We were lucky to be experiencing a heat wave but that’s not so good for the beer, the temperature was worrying us…we even thought we may have to plug a fan in to keep the temperature down but luckily it stayed just within the ok levels.

After three weeks, we tasted it…it was good!  We did another ABV reading which read nicely at 4.2% but I made the frustrating to decision to leave it a few more weeks.  With heavy sighs we left the brew for two more weeks.

On a hot September afternoon, we removed a few bottles from the fridge, poured our beer into the glass.

’The Bunker Buster’ by The Grange Brewery was a delight. A crisp, refreshing ale with slight malty tastes. Perfect for summer days!

Brewing this beer required a lot of patience, science, and attention to detail.  Not only did we learn a lot, but we saw something from beginning to end with some great outcomes.

Next…a lager.  One of the hardest beers to brew!  We will of course share our lager story with you too!