Homebrewing With Sam (Working Title)

This project is focusing on the failures and successes of homebrewing from an amateur’s level. Sprinkled throughout the piece will be facts about the history of homebrewing and how it came to be legal (once again) in the United States. Sam will be telling the story through the brewing process and narrating certain events and scenes. Other parts of the story, such as the prologue will be told by interviewees and archival news footage.

This is a Hotbreak Productions Project.

New Book (Fun Fact)

New Book:

I was at The Oak Barrel the other day while buying supplies, and I walked over to the book shelf. After gazing at all the different “how-to-brew” books, one caught my eye. It was a book about making hot sauce, inventively named (you guessed it): Hot Sauce! I was amazed to realize that I could possibly use the same supplies I used here and make smaller (most likely 1 gallon or less) batches of hot sauce at home. I was thoroughly impressed as I read the preface in the store. I bought the book and I have started to read it.

Fun Fact:

Something I noticed as I read the first passage was a little fact:

Chiles are a good source of potassium, as well as being dense in vitamins A, B, C and E; flavonoids; and iron, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Green chiles have twice the vitamin C found in the equivalent weight of oranges, and red chiles are a better source than carrots of vitamin A, which is essential to protecting skin and strengthening eyesight. Indeed, Spanish sailors took chiles on voyages in the sixteenth century to ward off scurvy, and they ate two roasted peppers for dessert each day in the hope of improving their vision. (Thompson, 9)

Wow! That’s amazing. I never knew my lack of palate as a kid meant I had to eat more bites of veggies at dinner? Bummer… Hahaha. But still this book has a wealth of wisdom, I get the feeling I might have to start a mini-section for hot sauces on here. (Who knows)


Thanks for reading-


Homebrewing in the USA

“You can brew your own beer?” & “I thought that was illegal…” Are statements I seem to be running into a lot as I talk to my friends and family about my project. I wanted to address the history of homebrewing beer in the United States and as such address these questions. Charlie Papazian sums it up in his book: The Complete Joy of Homebrewing: Fully Revised and Updated 3rd Edition.

Homebrewing beer is not a criminal activity. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were all homebrewers. In November 1978, a bill passed by Congress repealed federal restrictions on the homebrewing of beer. In February 1979, President Carter signed the bill into law. What is the law, and why was it ever illegal in the first place? It all dates back to that “Noble Experiment”–Prohibition. …Now it is legal. By federal law, an adult twenty-one years or older is permitted to brew “not more than one hundred gallons of beer in a year.” (Papazian, 1-2)

I’ve been reading his book while working on this project and I was reminded of it when asked those questions. so there you have it, my (super short) spiel on Homebrew History for those of you reading this in America.


Two days ago I brewed a batch of Hefeweizen beer. This is a traditional beer from Belgian origins. It smelled great while on the stove top and this was actually the first brew that I attempted to record and talk about. I have the footage on my computer but I need to finish editing it together and complete the voice over.

Either way, the beer went well, its fermenting now. The kit had only dried malt extract (as opposed to liquid extract or a combination), but a LOT of it. The process was similar to the Nut Brown Ale, in that there were no special directions.

Once the grain was added to the water I brought it to 165F then removed the cloth bag. Then I added the dried extract and returned it to heat. Finally the boil lasted a total of one hour with the first batch of hop pellets going in at the start, the irish moss tablet in the final 15 minutes, and the aroma hops thrown in at the end as I removed it from heat. I cooled it in an ice bath and have it fermenting now.

Useful Links

Here are some links with descriptions about them and why there important. I may have sent you here from somewhere else in the site because I didn’t know the site yet or maybe I just thought the site was informative and haven’t found the post to mention it in yet. I will be adding to this post or post again in this category when I think of/find more resources.


Son of a Fermentation Chiller Plans: (I didn’t follow these EXACTLY, but they’re very precise and a great idea of what I am working with)

Homebrewers Association: (A great source of knowledge on Homebrewing)

Chop and Brew: (Another WordPress Powered Brewing Site that runs webisodes off of Youtube)

The Oak Barrel: (My local Brewstore, full of happy employees and great knowledge)

ASCII Beer Art

ASCII Beer Art

Here are two pictures we made from taking pictures and making them into ASCII using a generator.

Son of a Fermentation Chiller (Update)

So, as I mentioned in a previous post I found designs online and was about to collect the materials to build this contraption. I still completely intend to, but I hit a roadblock. I need some more supplies and can’t finish the box right now and the thermostat is being a little tricky (my first time stripping down complete machines to mod them). I got the fan running off of the 12V adapter but not in accordance with the thermostat.

As is, I am still very excited but I wanted to give you guys an update of my progress and let you know what I’m planning on doing in the interim. The plan right now is to use the ice bath method so that I can complete a batch tonight and continue to update the site. While this method doesn’t allow for close temperature monitoring like I wanted, it will allow me to continue working on the site (since I cannot devote entire days to problem-solving and trouble-shooting for just ONE class).


As Always Thank You-


Nut Brown Ale

For my first batch I decided to go with a beer kit from my local brew store, the Oak Barrel Brew Store in Berkeley. The staff was fantastic and super helpful. They helped me find all the supplies I didn’t have such as an additional carboy and air lock (for those of you that don’t know, a carboy is a fancy word for the glass container in which the fermentation takes place). It was a fun experience and they even let me grind my grains on site and I got to heat seal the bag again, a neat experience although basic. I got home and got started on the sanitization.

While boiling the smell was intensely sweet and smelled mildly bitter because of the hops. The malt smell was overwhelming as they gave me a liquid and dry extract in which to work with. I got done with the batch around 4:00am due to starting the actual boiling process late at night. I really enjoyed the brew and I saw activity from the yeast the following day from the airlock bubbles. I am worried however that the temperature fluctuations in my apartment could have killed my yeast or will result in the project being jeopardized.

Either way thanks for reading and for the support


Son of a Fermentation Chiller

I’ve looked far and wide on the internet and come to the conclusion that my batches may be in jeopardy due to the wide fluctuation in temperature my apartment (without AC) allows to take place. The Son of a Fermentation Chiller is a low cost way to keep up to two batches of brew at the desired temperature. The main mind behind this is Kevin Schwartz, but as his site is unresponsive as of late, I won’t be able to link it. I will try to find the next best site soon for the link of a how-to design. I also will be building this soon and will diligently be taking pictures of the efforts.

As always thanks for reading!