Nightbrewing, remembering that night / September’s coming soon
I’m pining for the moon / And what if there were Brew
Sparge and lauter in line / Around the fairest [mash] tun?
That bright, tight forever drum / Could not describe nightbrewing…
(modified, R.E.M., “Nightswimming”)
It’s still summer in early September where I live. Locals refer to this time of year as “Indian Summer”, whatever that means. I remember going back to school each year and roasting through the first month of classes, back in the day when our local public schools lacked air conditioning.
Our high school is across the street from the county fair, and the county fair ends just before school starts, which meant that the combination of heat and rotting fairground food garbage and manure resulted in a tripling — or quadrupling — of the fly population, and the flies would travel into the open-windowed classrooms of the high school (we didn’t even have screens on the windows!) to harass us while the post-lunch heat baked us into stupor.
Once you begin brewing beer in volumes that exceed 5 gallons, there really isn’t a way to brew indoors. Most ranges are not built to handle the large kettles and extreme weights needed for homebrewing. You have to get a large propane stove that puts out adequate BTUs, or you’ll never get 12 to 14 gallons (or more, depending on your rig) to boil. Which means that from about April to October, brewing is hot.
Yesterday I brewed a batch for “International Brew a Priest a Beer Day“, but the temperature outside went well above 100F, so I began my batch of beer in the morning with the mash and sparge, and then I covered the kettle and returned to boiling the wort in the evening after sundown.
I love brewing in the evening. It’s peaceful and quiet (apart from roaring sound of the 110,000 BTU jet burner that I use) to sit outside after the kids have gone to bed, and enjoy a pint while thinking of the romance being created in your kettle. For me, this time is also especially nice for prayer. The beer I made last night was a stout, inky and dark, and brewing dark beers at night seems especially appropriate.
[NOTE: Please continue to vote for Beer Camp, so that I can evangelize others regarding the joys of nightbrewing.]