Recyling Beer

Its not what you think. In college I tried using beer to water a plant.  Apparently the plant did not appreciate the idea since it died.  And although I sometimes get desperate to find a topic to write about here there is just not much appeal in writing about recycling my beer into the toilet.  But it turns out there is another way to get the most out of beer that would otherwise go undrunk.

All whiskey starts its life as beer.  I knew it in a academic sense.  This past summer in Kentucky I got have close up encounters with huge cypress wood tanks of fermenting “distiller’s beer” which is a higher gravity, unclarified beer made without any hops or other additions that then gets distilled into white dog whiskey.   But until a couple of weeks ago, it never occurred to me that you could take an actual commercial beer and make whiskey with it.

Then I got a call to stop by and see Walt Palmer.  Walt, along with his wife, runs WP Palmer Distilling just a few blocks away from my house.  Although Liberty Gin is their flagship, Walt had started to dabble with making whiskey and plans to market Manayunk Moonshine.

Then he was given 10 kegs of coffee kolsch beer by a local brewery, St Benjamin.  WaltIMAG00741 was planning to make whiskey with it but needed some help in figuring out how to move the beer from the keg up ten feet in the air to fill his still.  With the help of a CO2 tank and a long piece of rubber tubing the problem was solved.

The process of making it was actually rather straight forward.  Once we pumped all the beer up and in it was then just a matter of time until the foam, which was taking up twice as much space as the liquid, could settle.

 

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The next day, after taking a while to bring to a boil, the still started do its work.  The resulting first running clocked in at about 25% alcohol (the original beer was 4.8%).  After another run Walt hopes to wind up with a final product that is about double that strength which will then be aged with oak.  Look for an update in a future post.

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I have no idea what really to expect but look forward to seeing if any of the original coffee flavors make it through. A huge thank you to Walt for expanding my education!

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One thought on “Recyling Beer

  1. Cool. Yeah, watering a plant with beer would be a no-go. But I’d imagine it could be good fodder for compost? I could see it really helping those compost bugs along. A few other things you can do with beer, I hear, is to use it to bake bread (instead of milk or water in the dough), and Jamie Oliver suggests it as a liquid in making stew.
    Or, as you say, you could make hard booze from it. Too bad in NOrth America you’re not allowed to do that at home.

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