Witches Brew

Sylvan Circle Brews Our Own Beer

July - August 2014

When some of our coven members expressed interest in learning more about how to brew beer, long time friend of Sylvan Circle and beer enthusiast with serious homebrewing skills Oliver offered to show us the ropes as we concocted our first beer as a coven. This was an effort that required 4 or 5 different sessions over the period of about a month.

After we agreed on a basic blonde recipe (following Oliver's advice to "keep it simple" for our first effort), Aldwyn and Oliver obtained the assorted ingredients we needed.

Next, the night before the actual brewing day, we double-checked that we had everything we needed -- because once you start the brew process, there's no turning back -- and cleaned everything thoroughly.

On brewing day, we fired up Oliver's propane burner on the driveway at the covenstead and brought 6 gallons of water to a boil in a big honking pot. After adding the malt extract and the specialty grains, we continued to boil the "wort" (the mixture of grain sugars and water that ferment into beer). We did this for an hour, adding hops as called for by our recipe. When that was done, we cooled the wort down as quickly as possible in our traditional Hallows apple-bobbing tub filled with ice.

Cooling Wort

When the wort reached 75-80 degrees, we pitched the yeast. Then we sealed the bucket with an airlock topped off with vodka to allow bubbles to escape without allowing fresh air in. Within a day or so, Aldwyn reported that our primary fermentation was bubbling along happily, an early indicator of so far so good.

After waiting a week, we popped the lid to check out the wort. It may look a little disgusting, but it smelled WONDERFUL!

Checking Out the Wort

We then racked the wort to a clear plastic carboy for secondary fermentation.

Racking the Wort to Secondary Fermentation

After waiting one more week, it was time to rack the wort back to the bucket to add priming sugar to give our beer a nice carbonation.

Preparing to Bottle

Then we started an assembly line as everyone pitched in to sanitize the bottles, fill them with beer, squish caps onto them, and dry them off.

Bottling Our Beer

In no time we had dozens of our own home crafted (and Crafted ;-) coven beer!

Behold Revilo's KISS!

In honor of our beer brewing mentor, we agreed to name our first beer "Revilo's KISS" (a backward-spelled nickname of Oliver's combined with his "Keep It Simple Shirie" advice).

Best yet was when we were all able to get back together again at the covenstead a few weeks later along with other dear friends from our Sylvan Circle community to pop the caps and sample our wares.

Our thanks once again to our good friend Oliver who did so much to help make our first Sylvan Circle coven homebrewing effort a success!