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Handmade: Brewlab 

San Francisco hosts a lot of startups with some more hidden jewels than others. Enter Brewlab, started by Sam Gilbert and Emily Ford, two beer enthusiasts that wanted to share the passion for home brewing. The club is mostly word of mouth to help cultivate community members' craft and making access to beer fans to taste the local goods. Batches are created roughly every five weeks, with members receiving a six pack every completion cycle. The organization doesn't sell the beer but relies on member donations to keep the process going. Brewers have access to equipment, bottles, and other members to help and inspire each other to create new brews. From names like The Shadow of Mordor, a Russian Imperial stout to Chile Pepper Thunder Fuck, a flavored Belgian pale ale, this club has a lot of character. For more information check out In this slide show we follow Sam Gilbert, Emily Ford, Matt Smith, and Tollef Biggs showing the process of creating their "Rare Bird" ESB (Extra Special Bitter). By Iann Ivy
The main ingredients of beer consist of grains, hops, yeast and water. Simple deliciousness.
Hops contribute to the bitter taste of beer.
Grains are steeped in water in what the group lovingly calls "beer tea". The mixture is then moved to the brew kettle (made from an old keg) to be brought to the boil.
After the beer tea steeps, the now malty, sugary liquid is filtered to ensure that no grains remain.
The spent grains are left behind, their malty goodness already extracted into the wort (unfermented beer).
Brewlab isnt just about brewing, its about the shared project of creating something awesome with friends.
Once the wort has been extracted from the grain, it must be boiled for an hour before yeast is added.
Matt stirs the wort.
Throughout the process it's essential to taste the brew to know it's headed in the right direction of the style one is creating.
An immersion chiller, like this copper coil one, cools the wort to the perfect temperature for yeast. Cold water runs through the coils to chill the wort.
Once the wort is at the right temperature, its time to add the yeast. There are hundreds of yeast types, each of which can create a very different beer.
The beer is left for several weeks to ferment.
Sam and Emily clean a keg for a second beer, which has been fermenting for a few weeks and is ready to carbonate.
This PBW ( powdered brewery wash ) is used to clean the brewing equipment. Keeping everything clean and sanitized is an essential part of creating a perfect brew.
Sometimes you need more than two hands.
Brewlab provides bottles to all of its brewers.
Here the beer is being transferred into a keg to be carbonated.
While the beer is being transferred, Emily takes a small sample.
Emily floats a hydrometer in the sample of the beer. The hydrometer measures the gravity of the beer, or how much sugar is in the brew. Higher gravity beers tend to be heavier and more alcoholic.
Tollef makes sure every last drop is transferred.
Compressed CO2 is added into the keg to carbonate the beer.
Sam shakes the keg to help dissolve the CO2 into the brew.
After shaking the keg for a few minutes, a sample of the beer is poured to try.
Emily shows approval.
Tollef tests it out.
Matt shows serene approval.
The main ingredients of beer consist of grains, hops, yeast and water. Simple deliciousness.
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