The deed is done.
I was nervous about starting the brewing process. It was new. Timing was important. The equipment is rather large. And heavy. And what if I screwed up five gallons of beer?? But each fear was dealt with, and now I'm done; weary, wiser, and content.
The first hurdle was hefting five gallons of liquid, which is about 40 pounds. No, I can't handle that, but reading closer, I saw the work was done on 2.5 gallons, with the other 2.5 gallons of water added at the end. So good. I tested my ability to lift 2.5 gallons, and yes, I could do that, with some grunting...
The boiling process was precise, and the instructions were quite clear, so we got that done, adding first one thing, then another, then another, all at specific times within the boiling process.
The cooling process was problematic. The suggestion was to cool as quickly as possible, so I followed the directions to put the brew kettle in the sink with ice water. I used up all the ice in the freezer, and it still wasn't down to desired temperature. What to do? Well, it was cool outdoors, so outdoors is where it finished cooling, with a lid on, of course, which slowed down the cooling, but who wants bird and bug poop in their beer!
Then the final steps, when the rest of the water is added. So I brought the brew downstairs, set everything up, and added the rest of the water a little bit at a time, testing the brew with the hydrometer each time until the reading was correct. Yep. Five gallons. That what they said, that's what I got. Now only one thing left to do...add the yeast. But where the flip is the yeast? Upstairs, downstairs, back upstairs, look in all the likely places, back downstairs to see if it got stuck in one of the buckets, back upstairs again, and now I'm thinking I'll have to make a quick run to the store to buy more yeast. Did I put it in early by mistake? I went through the trash, looking for a telltale yeast envelope. Nope. Good. And then I found it. So the yeast was put in and stirred, and all I had to do was put the lid on the brew bucket. But it was at shoulder level, and I didn't have the strength to pound it down. Stood on a chair, still couldn't. So ran over to a neighbor, borrowed their man muscles, and got the job done. Whew!
While I was at it, I racked the peach wine with my handy dandy siphon pump.
Clean up was a bear. Five and six gallon containers are not easy to deal with in the sink. But that, too, is done.
All this while George was in Cincinnati with his chorus for their regional competition. Turns out they placed third. As George said, they got their asses handed to them. I understand what he means, but for the life of me I don't understand the concept. I guess it's a guy thing.