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WoW Brewmaster: Uncorking Ziebart Stout


Welcome back to WoW Brewmaster, in which we talk about the fine Mists of Pandaria art of brewing beer. Take those critical skills you learn in-game and apply it to the real world! What's better than that?

But first, a reader question: How much space does it take to brew beer? A few commenters answered the question, but I want to reiterate: it takes about as much room as it takes to store 6 cases of beer.

Most of your supplies get tucked away in storage when not in active use. The bulkiest supplies are the two 5-gallon buckets and whatever bottles you use for you beer. If you have multiple batches going at once, then I guess you should double that. You'll have a big pot (probably 3 gallons) for the actual cooking, and the rest is just tubes and such that easily fits in the buckets.

So you'll need room for 2 5-gallon buckets and 6 cases of beer. That's the answer. I will caution though: it's possible to have a beersplosion take place. Rather than rampant alementals, though, a beersplosion takes place when your fermenting beer is producing extra gases. If those cases can't escape through an airlock, your bucket pops open, spewing foamy beer everywhere.

While hilarious, it does cause a mess. I've never actually had it happen, though, since I'm a stickler for airlocks. Any beer kit you buy will have it included.

Uncorking Ziebart Stout

So, how's the beer? Let's catch up the folks who're new to the column, first. I'd started brewing an oatmeal stout a while back, but opted to name it after our Editor-in-Chief: the man, the myth, the legend, Alex Ziebart. So I did a short secondary fermentation after adding some secondary recipe ingredients: scotch and coffee. A little scotch and a pot of coffee.

I pulled it from the fermenting bucket and put it glass growlers to carbonate. (I'll describe this process in more detail later, but to sum it up: you use a plastic tube to siphon the beer from the bucket into glass bottles. Not that deep.) I set the growlers in a closet, and walked away for a week.

While I'll leave most of the batch to carbonate and age more fully, I was eager to write this column. I popped open the first growler today.

Y'all don't even know.

The coffee definitely adds a richness and maturity to the oatmeal stout flavor. Oatmeal stout is a nice, thick brew in the first place, but the tang of coffee helps bring out that flavor, in my opinion. The scotch? The bite and raw flavor of the scotch disappears inside the rest of the stout, but the overall bouquet (that's the scent) and aftertaste is reminiscent of that peat scotch flavor.

So yeah, that plan turned out just fine.

Uncorking Ziebart Stout

Grab an oatmeal stout recipe of choice. I used this one. Follow the directions. However, after the initial fermentation is complete -- about 4 days, usually -- add about a pot of very strong-brewed coffee and a few shots of your favorite scotch.

You know fermentation is complete when you stop seeing bubbles come out of the airlock. See, the airlock is just a small cup of water with a tub in the middle. Another cup sits over that tub, with the opening submerged. Air can come out of the bucket, but not into it. (Because pressure forces the gas up into the tube, lifting the cap to get out. No such pressure can push air inside.) When that stops bubbling for a day or two, you're good to go.

I'd invest in quality coffee and scotch, by the way. While I wouldn't go dumping huge dollars on the scotch, spend a few bucks to go past the cheapest stuff possible. It makes a difference.

We'll see you next week when we tackle something a little more wheat.

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