Notes from Windward: #68


First Time Brewer

Annie tries her hand at a key sustainability task

     Believe it or not, brewing beer is a part of sustainability here at Windward….who knew? After a chilly day up on Mt. Hood, Walt and I stopped at a brewer's shop at Hood River. We asked Ed, the guy at the counter, what we needed for a first time brewer, me, to brew a tasty Hefeweizen. In an instant the counter was full of what we needed.

Annie and Monica get started

     About a week later with a couple more interns thrown in the mix, Monica and Orly, it was brewing time. One of the keys to a yummy beer is cleanliness, so sanitizing was the first step in the brewing process. Every surface, every mixer, the carboy, the microscopic crevices in our hands, all sanitized…bye-bye brew avenging micro-bacteria! The next step was to add 2 Liters of water to a spotless stainless steel brewing pot. Then we brought the water just below 150 degrees and proceeded to add a pinch of Cascadian hops and the can of Thomas Cooper's hopped malt concentrate and stirred.

     Then came the interesting part of our brewing escapade, adding the bag of malt. It seemed like a simple step of the malt happily homogenizing with the wort we had going so far. Only it was not so simple, we seemed to have stubborn malt on our hands, which instantly congealed into an odd mass resembling a brain. We all crossed our fingers hoping the brain would dissolve. A half an hour of constant stirring seemed to do the trick, luckily for us. In the last 5 minutes of the brewing, we added another pinch of cascade hops for the aroma.

Annie, Monica and Orly stiring the wort

     Since it is spring, a time for new growth, and we are doing a lot of planting, we decide to cast a brewing spell on our beer. All three of us, Orly, Monica, and I held the mixing spoon and slowly stirred the potion in the cauldron as we recited our beer poem. After our beer poem, we added 2 gallons of cold water to the carboy, and then we strained the brew to remove the hops and added the wort to the carboy. We then pitched the yeast when the mixture was at 60-75 degrees. We also added some extra water to fill the carboy up to 5 gallons. The final step at this point of time was to stick the carboy in a dark place where it can sit and turn into beer! In five days, we are going to siphon the beer into another carboy for secondary fermentation. After another five days, it will be bottling time! Then of course, we will be enjoying some delicious homebrew!

As we stir the beer around
We hope that growth will abound
In our plants and in our hearts
Joy and balance and lot of smarts
Tasty Hefeweizen in a bottle
Soon baby chicks and ducks will come full throttle
All encompassing our sustainable model
So drink up and soak up, make this spell complete
And forever let us have food to eat!

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68