Brewing Beer with Garbage (and making Brewing Greener)…

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Okay, it’s not really garbage. Let’s call it leftovers.

If you brew as much as I do, you wind up with lots of little bits of this and that. A quarter ounce of hops from one batch, a pound of grain from another. Once you have enough to make a batch from all the remnants, you can make a completely unique beer and give it a name like “Dross Ale” or “Kitchen Sink Ale”. If the beer is great, it’ll be an awesome beer legend (“Dude, remember when you made beer out of garbage?”). If it’s bad, well, fortunately you lost the recipe.

This time, I have five different types of hops lying around, a bunch of Pilsner malt that never became the Patersbier I intended to make for Thanksgiving (ran out of time, made cider instead), and just enough malt extract to make a Cal. Lager yeast starter using yeast cells from a batch of California Common I brewed last autumn.

I’m taking the hops (Bravo, Legacy, U.K. Fuggles, Czech Saaz and Syrian Bobek) and combining them all together to make a hop amalgam, which I will then gradually add to the boil in five minute increments. In this way, all five types of hops will have a hand in both bittering and aromatics.

Best part: this kind of brewing costs absolutely nothing, and uses ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away. Even if it’s pretty ghastly, I’m still likely to drink it, if for no other reason than I’m cheap. The Quartermaster’s waste is very low, and I intend to make it even lower, with this:

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A henhouse to house chickens that will supply eggs, and consume all of my spent grain and hops from brewing, which I consider better than throwing all of that stuff in the compost! They will need other things in their diet as well, but I’m looking forward to some tasty, beer-flavored eggs this spring.

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