It seems like forever ago that we started this process, but after just two weeks, it’s time to “rack” the beer – that is to say transferring the beer from the primary fermentation bucket to a glass carboy for secondary fermentation. It’s also time to (go crazy, folks) ADD THE CHOCOLATE!
I decided to use the spent grains from Tuesday’s brewing session for dog biscuits, especially since our two pooches really enjoyed sniffing the grains when they were in the pot. I followed directions from this recipe.
4 cups spent grain (NO HOPS)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup natural peanut butter
Mix all of the ingredients together into a large bowl. Since I had just worked out, my arms were a little unhappy about this process. It was hard work as it develops into a thick paste. It eventually looks like the picture in Stage 4 – at least for the grains I’m using.
Next, press the batter down onto a large, ungreased but rimmed baking sheet – sort of like making rice krispie treats. Take a knife and cut down the treats to size or else you will want to strangle someone trying to free the treats from the tray!
Then, bake at 350° F for about 30-45 minutes or until solid. Mine took 35 minutes.
Loosen the treats from the sheet and break them apart. Return the treats to the baking sheet, spreading them evenly. I couldn’t Tetris them back onto the sheet so I used two and stuck them back into the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 250° F and put them in for 1-2 hours or until they are completely dried out. Mine took an hour.
Remove from the oven and allow them to cool before storing in an airtight container.
And that’s it! My dogs are going INSANE for these treats. It’s basically like having a giant tub of bacon in my hand so I think these have passed their approval test. And just in case you’re wondering, despite looking like brownies, they do not actually taste that great.
Over the last year, I have watched from the sidelines as my husband slowly ventured into home brewing. He began like most people with a Mr. Beer kit. His first beer was a pretty decent stout for St. Patrick’s Day. I helped him with about 15% of the process but it was completely his thing in my mind.
You see, I have never been a beer person. I didn’t really start drinking alcohol until I turned 21 and at the time, it was mixed liquor concoctions with billions of calories and equal amounts of sugar. I loved wine and I’ve been bridging the gap through many different ciders. I didn’t really warm up to beer until four years ago. I remember having to force myself to enjoy it because A) it’s cheaper, and B) my boyfriend liked it so I wanted to give it a go. Since then, we have visited several breweries and I’ve witnessed the beautifully artistic process that goes into making this stuff. I relished smelling the grains and sampling the recipes – even learning to properly wiggle my fingers at Sam Adams. It grew on me really fast, despite a very finicky and particular hops allergy that I still can’t figure out. (Beer drinking is like Russian Roulette for me, which I guess makes it a bit more thrilling.)
So when Markus asked for a proper brew kettle and equipment, I was interested. Fortunately for me, he bought his own brew kettle and I was called in to assist on an Autumn Red ale kit from Midwest Brewing. I helped him steep, boil, agitate, bottle; I helped through the process and I loved every minute of it. So when he asked for even better equipment for Christmas, it was a no-brainer and I bought out the list – it was a mutually beneficial gift!