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Tried 'em all and it might sound queer, but my favorite drug is an ice cold beer.
April 27, 2009 3:28 PM   Subscribe

How to brew beer in a coffee maker, using only materials commonly found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel. [Via.]
posted by mudpuppie (38 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
modestly sized oceanographic research vessel...

And also, MY KITCHEN!!!

posted by mudpuppie at 3:29 PM on April 27, 2009


I think the "malt" (assuming it has any enzyme activity in it) should be mixed with the steeping grains for a better extraction from the grains. The rest of it sounds reasonable, depending on how hot the coffee maker gets. Also, it's spelled "wort."

FWIW, I consider it a personal failure if I run out of homebrewed beer.
posted by exogenous at 3:38 PM on April 27, 2009


I've been wanting to make beer for a while, but haven't had the room (or the temperature control -- we only have window units in my apartment) nor have I really bothered to gather up the money for the start up supplies. Something like this, as foul as it probably is, I could handle.

You know, if I had a coffee maker.
posted by darksong at 3:39 PM on April 27, 2009


I wonder if they'd let me do this with the coffee maker in my office...
posted by Aversion Therapy at 3:45 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The hops are the hardest, and you may have to forgo their goodness.

Okay, vegemite malt is one thing, but beer without hops? Blasphemy.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:57 PM on April 27, 2009


How to brew beer in a coffee maker, using only materials commonly found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel.

Alistair Hennessey: Is this my espresso machine? Wh-what is-h-how did you get my espresso machine?

Bill Ubell: Well... uh... we fuckin' stole it, man.

posted by joe lisboa at 4:17 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


What? Too good for pruno?
posted by mhum at 4:18 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The coffee maker in the common area at my office vanished yesterday, and I see it's now in the back-room 'labratory' area where people build things. Hmmm.....
posted by rokusan at 4:26 PM on April 27, 2009


Great stuff. I'm a home brewer myself, and I always wanted to research how to make "beer" without actual beer ingredients. Glad someone else did this for me.

One thing ... he seems to freely interchange "malt" with "yeast" in the third paragraph of his recipe (they're not the same thing).
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:32 PM on April 27, 2009


One thing ... he seems to freely interchange "malt" with "yeast" in the third paragraph of his recipe (they're not the same thing).

That's what I've been trying to puzzle out. "8. Let the wert cool to between 60 and 70 F. Once it is cool enough to touch the outside of the jars without burning, pitched the Bakers’ Yeast into the mixture."

Yeast hadn't been mentioned up until then, and he doesn't say how much he pitched in. So that was the malt? Or does actual yeast go in?
posted by mudpuppie at 4:35 PM on April 27, 2009


... I wonder if my new department would notice if I did this with my coffee maker I will be bringing with me...

I don't think my current office mate would like it too much, but he IS out of state.
posted by strixus at 4:42 PM on April 27, 2009


This guy needs to spend less time at sea. I've tasted homebrew that was mistakenly made with bakers' yeast, and it was beer only by a technicality. Urgh.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 4:44 PM on April 27, 2009


I Am a Craft Brewer (warning: sappy)
posted by exogenous at 4:53 PM on April 27, 2009


Brazilian prisoners in Carandiru (huge prison, now shutdown) had a drink called "Maria Louca", which was basically rice, beans, and anything fermentable, thrown in some sort of vessel with some water and left to ferment (more accurately, rot).

If they are in a research ship, supposing they have enough lab equipment, they should rather distill that crap beer and make some moonshine.
posted by qvantamon at 5:02 PM on April 27, 2009


Yeast hadn't been mentioned up until then, and he doesn't say how much he pitched in. So that was the malt? Or does actual yeast go in?

You need real, live yeast to make beer, vegemite is basically dead yeast, so I assume he was talking about baker's yeast. That's not exactly something you would have lying around on a ship though.

they should rather distill that crap beer and make some moonshine

Considering he was talking about using pure ethanol to clean the equipment, they might as well have quit while they were ahead and just drank that.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:07 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've made full-grain beer in a coffee maker. It sucked ass. I mean really, really, undrinkable ass-sucking swill. I've made plenty of beer using conventional equipment and it doesn't suck.
posted by plinth at 5:07 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nice post title, mudpuppie
posted by gurple at 5:11 PM on April 27, 2009


I am confused. There doesn't seem to be much sugar in the mixture. What is he feeding the yeast?
posted by aspo at 5:15 PM on April 27, 2009


You don't need SUGAR sugar to feed to yeast. Any carb will do. That's how you make bread. In this case, grain and maybe a little fruit.
posted by DU at 5:28 PM on April 27, 2009


What is he feeding the yeast?

Despair.
posted by qvantamon at 5:29 PM on April 27, 2009 [10 favorites]


What is he feeding the yeast?

I'm guessing he's trying to use the "malt" (Vegemite or whatever) to convert the starches in the grain to sugar. But I think that, instead of acting like a chainsaw, hedge trimmer, or hand clippers on the long starch molecules, the "malt" is more like a dull butter knife. The brew would probably be better off chewing the grain and spitting it out.
posted by exogenous at 5:47 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this definitely seems more like a get-the-slaves-drunk-so-they-build-our-pyramid type of "beer" rather than Reinheitsgebot beer.

Except, instead of building pyramids, they're doing marine biology.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:54 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


ZenMasterThis: I always wanted to research how to make "beer" without actual beer ingredients.

Using items only found in your local grocery/produce store, attempt to craft as drinkable of a beer as possible. Ciders, wines and mead do not count.

The coffee pot method appears on page 22, but I also see a failed attempt to malt and mash birdseed.
posted by revgeorge at 5:56 PM on April 27, 2009


I think I would rather have pruno than coffee pot "beer." Somebody should tell him how easy it is to buy dry beer yeast. Or give him an apfelwein recipe.
posted by peeedro at 5:56 PM on April 27, 2009


I admire the dedication and ingenuity, but I don't see much point to making dubious maybe-beer with baker's yeast, Vegemite, and maybe-hops. If the stated goal is quaffable alcohol, why not just ferment some apple juice (which I imagine is readily available) and make cider? You don't even need a coffee maker for that.
posted by neckro23 at 6:37 PM on April 27, 2009


Waves + stills = Bad Things. And not-from-concentrate apple juice is not generally readily available on boats.

I've been on boats where people drank Nyquil for recreational purposes. You can only produce so many empty Nyquil bottles before someone gets suspicious so this seems like a reasonable next step.
posted by fshgrl at 6:47 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this one of those things you'd have to be 21 to appreciate?
posted by clearly at 7:22 PM on April 27, 2009


@clearly: Only if you really give a shit. Otherwise, this is exactly the information I wish I would have had at the age of 15. At that time, however, we paid the local drunk (just like the rest of you) and got our beer as it came.
posted by CountSpatula at 8:30 PM on April 27, 2009


It's funny that the kind of yeast is really important on how the final booze tastes. If I had a choice, I would avoid baker's yeast.

Cider (apple or whatever fruit juice available; for some reason I have the feeling that orange [and other citrus] doesn't work well - is it the ascorbic acid?) is easy easy EASY to make and have it taste good and get you well and right drunk.
posted by porpoise at 9:21 PM on April 27, 2009


Packing along enough malt extract, pelletized hops and proper brewing yeast on your boat trip to make several gallons of homebrew would take up about as much space as a coffee can. Of course the method described would not make carbonated beer as it is never under pressurized conditions, so the end result is more of a barley wine... or Raisin Bran wine as the case may be... Actually a bottle of Everclear might be a better investment for your long boat trip.

You don't need SUGAR sugar to feed to yeast.

Yeasts can't convert complex carbohydrates to alcohol, it's why you have to malt grain for conventional beer to work (in malting you sprout the grain, which activates enzymes in the grain seed that convert complex carbs to sugars - then you dry the grain and crack and steep it to extract the sugars. Maltose, specifically. Yeasts in breadmaking are not consuming complex carbohydrates. Most yeasts can only metabolize hexose sugars and disaccharides, not starch.
posted by nanojath at 9:53 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I've got a really bad habit of not closing my parentheses).
posted by nanojath at 9:54 PM on April 27, 2009


> And not-from-concentrate apple juice is not generally readily available on boats.

Who said anything about not-from-concentrate? Is this going to be boutique research-ship prison cider? It's pretty hard to fuck up. Steps for making cider:

1. Put some apple juice (any amount; you could probably even use that nasty stuff the gov't issues, in those 64-oz aluminum cans) in a sanitary container.
2. Add some sugar, a couple pounds per 5 gallons maybe (optional but recommended if you want it as boozy as possible).
3. Toss in some ale yeast. (You brought/smuggled some in, right?)
4. Seal the container in an ingenious manner such that contaminants (we're talking bacteria here) cannot enter but air is allowed to leave.
5. Wait a week or two (or until the cider stops giving off air, if you were clever enough to bring/improvise an airlock).
6. IT'S MOTHERFUCKING BOOZE TIME
posted by neckro23 at 10:50 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've tried this, but things always went wrong and I always blamed somehow not getting the jars properly sterilized (the same problem I had with growing mushrooms).
posted by klangklangston at 11:58 PM on April 27, 2009


baker's yeast ... not exactly something you would have lying around on a ship though.

Where do you think the bread comes from? But you're sort of right in that it wouldn't exactly be lying around, it would be in the galley and you'd need to get through the cook to acquire any. Be nice to the cook, and all will be well.
posted by Lebannen at 1:49 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


And here I am using 5 gallon buckets and a stove like an idiot?!?!? Next time I brew I'm using my mr coffee!
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:03 AM on April 28, 2009


I've read that cider can have preservatives that stop the yeast from getting busy. Frozen concentrate might not need preservatives though.

I tried fermenting some fresh preservative-free cider but it wound up tasting sort of murky, like the yeast never settled out. Should try it again some time.

I'm going to make my fourth batch of sake soon. The scary part about that is that the first step is making moldy rice.
posted by exogenous at 6:31 AM on April 28, 2009


A cheap diy airlock = plastic sandwich baggie with corner cut off. Insert short end of bendy straw. Tape shut. Stick another bendy straw in the first one, tape. Place baggy on top of container (2L pop bottle, glass gallon jug, whatever) with the straw in the neck. Loop a rubber band around itself over the baggied neck. Stick other end of straw in a glass/jar of whatever. Et viola.

I've been using apple juice from tetra packs (SunRipe, MinuteMaid - SR is a lot lighter coloured - on sale for $1CDN/L) and 2L pop bottles. 8L batches in 5 bottles. Just cleaned them with water, no fancy disinfectants. I suspect that adding too much sugar can inhibit the yeast (I've been using champagne yeast; I save the dredges in a jar in the fridge for re-use). It bubbles up a lot for the first couple of days, then settles down, so only fill the bottle ~80% full. After a week, rack (pour off to another 2L bottle, leaving as much of the yeast behind as possible; most will have settled but the juice will still be murky except for maybe a cm or two at the top), add another teaspoon of sugar, and cap. Leave in dark place. Yeast will start settled after 3-4 days, and after 7-8, 90% of the bottle will be clear. Rack again and you have bubbly, clear, alcoholic apple juice. In my hands, it comes out a little more alcoholic, by taste/feel, than those 2L plastic bottles of cider from liquor stores (Growers, Okanagan-something). The first batch tasted very very similar to Strongbow but was a little bit fizzier.

I drank about a litre of the first batch at 7 days (still murky) - ended up with a lot of gas. Like, epic dry farts the next day (sorry, tmi). I suspect the live yeast kept working while in my intestine.
posted by porpoise at 7:13 AM on April 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


It was a throwaway photo but Holy Eschering Crap, people.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:44 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


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