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WoW Brewmaster: Brewing our Ziebart Stout


Work warning: We're talking about beer and the making of it herein. That's innately an adult theme. No cursing or such; just good old fashioned beer brewing.

We've been fermenting this feature for a while. (Get it? Fermenting?) The debut brew was intended to be a fall-themed Panda Pumpkin Porter, since pumpkin spice everything is awesome. That's the pictured beer above. Using an extract kit, your loyal WoW Brewmaster (that's me) put together a pumpkin-spiced porter.

Sadly, it didn't turn out after being racked. The carbonation didn't finish super well, so I didn't want to use that as our debut brew. One generally doesn't share epic failures as a debut beer so I waited for the next round, which I'll call the Ziebart Stout.

So what is WoW Brewmaster? Inspired by the Brewmasters of Pandaria, we're branching out into a bit of hobbyist extract brewing and sharing our adventures with you, our beloved readers. I've been brewing for a few years now. I got into it because it's much less expensive than buying retail beer. I mostly do extract kits in the interest of time and ease, though I've done raw materials a few times as well.

In general, we'll talk about extract kits in this column. While hardcore brewers prefer raw materials, perhaps even going so far as to grow grains... I think that level of involvement is beyond what we can do in an occasional 1,000 word column. So we'll buy kits and go from there.

As a disclosure note, I'm not a professional brewer; we're calling it Brewmaster because that's what it's called in game. The stuff I'm talking about is just an introduction and a bit of fun.

In general, I'll list a base kit and what you can do to modify it to your taste. You can brew along with me, or come back later. Some recipes want shorter or longer fermentation or racking times. As a rule, I tend to brew on Friday, let it ferment for about a week, then bottle on the following Saturday. I let it ferment as long as I can wait, but generally try for at least two weeks.

I'm going to start from the beginning with a relatively simple recipe. I'll take the extract kit from a readily available online supplier and modify it very slightly at the bottling stage. I'll list the supplies I use for the brewing, but my choice is just because that's what I use. This isn't a how-to brew as much as a journal for our shared adventure.

Essentially, Ziebart Stout is a basic brewing recipe with an additional flavoring at the end. In terms of naming conventions, I name every batch something different, even if it's using the same recipe from a company. Timing, water, and other factors can vastly affect the taste, and I like naming things.

Basic supplies for brewing:

  • Basic brewing kit with two buckets, a siphon, an airlock, and capper. This will get it done.
  • 5-gallon (or bigger!) boil pot to cook in. This is a good one.
  • A stove or heat source capable. I use a propane burner and a propane tank and brew outside because beer can boil over and make a big mess.
Supplies for brewing Ziebart Stout:
Make sure you read the instructions that come with the kit carefully. I'll talk about what I did in more detail in later columns, but for this brew I... followed the directions. It's amazing how effective that can be when you're extract brewing. The trick to Ziebart Stout is the Scotch at the bottling step. When I siphon the beer from the fermentation barrel into individual bottles, I'll add a finger's depth of scotch to the bottom of each bottle first.

Weekly tip
We'll get the most prevalent, boring tip out of the way first. It's important that you sanitize everything in your brewing process. A little extra bacteria can radically change the flavor of a batch, if not wreck the batch altogether.

I actually fill multiple buckets with santizing solution. The powdered solution you get with most brewing kits, and that you can buy separately, is very inexpensive. There's no reason to be stingy with the stuff, especially since it's relatively easy to accidentally wreck your batch.

Next week
I'll talk about adding the actual scotch, the bottling process, and how I do that. Week after that, we'll go step by step in actual brewing.

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