I like alcohol. A lot.
It's only natural that I get up to some mischief at home from time to time and I've managed to save a lot of money doing this. If anything, I try to live/embody the pragmatic sifr lifestyle as much as I can. I also happen to be a very curious person. I love researching things to the point of obsession. I'm passionate about Great White Sharks, Craft Beer, Football as much as I am about making garments. I'd like to know a little about a lot of things rather than a lot about a few. Bad? Good? You decide.
I'd like to share one of my latest obsessions. Studying in Boston, I started drinking a lot of beer. The days of picking up a case of Harpoon's Summer Ale, slicing a bunch of fresh oranges and watching the baseball on end are some of the best memories of my college days.
We're lucky to be in Singapore, where some of the best stuff in the world is readily available. In Indonesia, where I'm from, things are more controlled and some of our basic wants here are not available there. I chanced upon the Good Beer Company in Singapore. This place has to be one of the most interesting spots in Singapore. It is a Hawker stall dedicated to craft beer, and I mean dedicated.
Another one of the better craft beer spots in the city has to be Jungle Beer. They run a small brewery in Sembawang and they have a line up of about 7-8 beers. They also do some nice private label beers for other folks in the city.
A couple of months ago, I chanced upon the concept of home brewing. I spent some time online and discovered the guys from Ibrew Singapore retail a kit that that's pretty fuss-free for DIY beer. It was also my birthday in December last year so it was only logical that I asked for my new toy at that time. I had a few chats with Raymond from Ibrew and it was finally delivered in one piece ready to go. (Sorry for the Iphone photos, but I didn't plan on blogging this until I realized how awesome the whole process was).
A week before brewing, I cancelled all appointments on Friday night, made all necessary preps (remember to put your yeast and malt extract in the fridge, and sanitize thoroughly) and asked the wife for a few hours of peace and quiet (hoping she didn't read that).
I thought about the plan of action and I set the whole station up, computer and all. With the help of my trusted housekeeper, we were off and brewing in no time. Just make sure you follow the instructions with the help of the short DVD video.
I'd hate to ruin the process for some of you guys by going into a heap of detail but here's a couple of things you need to do so you don't make the same mistakes I did:
1) Sanitize everything
2) Keep your temperature low 18 - 25 Degrees Celsius during fermentation. Keep your temperatures consistent over the fermentation period.
3) Do not throw in the yeast until you test your Original Gravity.
4) And the most important thing; Be Patient!!
If you'd like to try some I would be more than happy to share in my hobby. I have recently started bottling after my 6 day fermentation period. We are planning a party to relaunch PACT (our retail space) with all the new tenants so I'll be sure to bring out a few bottles for a few taste testers. That is 3 weeks from today so the brew should be good to go by then.
Here is a progress report to make sure you are on the right track:
Same day - Yeast build up at top layer in small coin sized portions. Sparingly dispersed. I was worried I might've bombed this thing.
Day 1 - Woke up in morning to see a huge layer of foam and all yeast on top of foam. A lot of yeast buildup at bottom. This was beautiful.
Day 2 - A nice Cakey/Desert smell. Thick Foam started to reduce. Yeast has started to go over to the sides of the krausen collar and dry up.
Day 3 - Starting to smell like beer. Foam has dissipated except for a thin layer. Yeast has dried up and stuck on the sides of krausen collar.
Day 4 - Removed Krausen collar and taken a Gravity reading using the Hydrometer.
Day 5 - More gravity readings with the Hydrometer.
Day 6 - Bottling started after two consecutive same gravity readings.
My Observations and learnings:
The beauty about this thing is it's all in trial and error. There are a few things to follow but the rest of it is based on how deep you want to go. I don't like projects with too many rules, and the people in this community have the same mindset; follow simple instructions and just have fun with it. I recommend this kit for anyone looking to start doing projects at home. You won't believe how attached you'll be to this one. This thing will consume you.
The Taste Test - 3 weeks later - I have to admit, upon cracking open my first bottle, I was a little skeptical. I did the pour, waited for the beer to settle, had a look at the level of carbonation and then took a deep breath. I gave the beer a nice swirl, a good whiff and swilled it down.
Tasting Notes - A little sour to start with. Carbonation was good. Slightly heavy with a traditional Ale taste. Very drinkable still. ABV is between 4.5% - 4.8%. This would be ideal with a slice of orange as well. Over the course of keeping the bottle open, the beer became a little flat for my taste. It seemed like it was just missing something over the course of the 750 ML bottle. Not bad for a first effort!
Future Notes - I brought some of this beer to Ibrew and spoke with Raymond down there and he was very helpful. He mentioned that the sour notes were due to a lack of cleaning and proper sanitizing of the equipment. He mentioned that my pour should be more sensitive to keep all of the carbonation intact in the glass. Look to pour with minimal froth. Also, look to keep the Brew in your fridge for up to 45 days before you begin your first pour. He still graduated me to the next level anyway. I'm officially no longer a White Belt in the field of Home brewing.
Enjoy and let us know if you have any questions.
Our Pima Fabric is highly versatile. It only makes sense we apply it to other garments you may need. If you thought our T-shirts were the only soft garments, have a gander!
We're happy to announce some of our new developments. Everyone's been asking if we're working on collections but we thought it'd just be more sensible for us to keep working on your wardrobe favorites. We're big on avoiding any waste to keep our footprint as low as possible. Every time a brand redesigns, makes samples, tests garments, it racks up unnecessary waste and makes everyone's job in the supply chain a very difficult time. To this day, we've probably never wasted a yard of Pima and for good reason. Because the product is so limited, we try to savor every little bit of it.
After developing our T-shirt selection, our trusted fabric suppliers introduced us to a heavier weight Pima Cotton in 150 GSM. This fabric is just nice enough to stay sturdy without being heavy. Hard to resist, we thought about applying it to the same cardigan style you all purchased during our debut season (the one with the waist tie). After 6 years and several dozen refinements, we've remastered and reworked this beauty to create a real must-have. Something you're going to want to keep for a long while. This product is real limited so don't sleep on this. Roll these up and throw them in your satchel for a garment that's always on the go.
Another fun addition is the hyped Legging. We saw the fellas at Nike doing this and wondered what they'd be like in Cotton. If you love your Running on the daily, and don't like the feeling of Stretch PU on your skin, try opting for our Pima fabric for a more organic and luscious hand. They're also light enough to layer with a pair of shorts over. These have been reinforced at the knee-caps with a cover stitch panel for extra durability.
Lounge out or get active - These are garments to rely on
Everybody loves color - especially during the Lunar New Year.
You keep asking us for more color options in the sifr Essentials range. Now here they are:
This season we chose to drop some in Olive and Sage, while throwing in a few surprises in Carrot and Linen. We know the bright hue of Carrot is not for everyone, but they go especially well with a pair of worn-out Cotton Twill pants. Color up top can be diffused if you know what bottoms to work with. Or you can just reserve them for your holiday retreats.
Sage is sure to sell out pretty quickly. It is a dependable option and makes you feel a little safer with your choices. Easy to style with everything, this color is a little more washed out than the others. Olive on the other hand is a little more deep in color.
Linen and Seaport are great opposites. Seaport for casual evenings, while the Linen color would be perfect for lazy Sundays. Washed out in color without committing either in the direction of Pink or Creme, Linen is a lasting option in between.
These come in XS - XL for Men and in XS - L for the lovely Ladies! At PACT or via our Online Store.
We keep saying this but a Cotton Twill Slim Suit Pant is something every man should have. A Slim pant is a nice break away from heavy denim. A good T-shirt over this garment paired with some broken in loafers always does the trick. We chose very light Japanese Cotton Twill in darker shades for maximum comfort, even during more formal goings-on. Fabric again played a key role in how we see the garment experienced.