Ted, Master Brewer: Celebrating International Beer Day
It’s international beer day, so grab a pint of your favorite frosty, delicious beer, kick back and let me tell you a tale. International Beer Day and acoustics… I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to tie these things together, but here we go…
A long, long time ago, in east-central Minnesota, I found myself, a twenty-something-year-old doing what most twenty-something’s do – hanging out with friends, (responsibly) enjoying a few adult beverages and living life. Being more of a beer person than a mixed-drinks person, I found myself always looking through a beer menu for something that I had either not tried yet or had never heard of – and that was what I ordered. I would do the same thing when purchasing a few beers to enjoy at home – try something new. Variety is the spice of life, after all. A year or so passed and I realized that the list of “not tried yet” beers was getting smaller and smaller. Interesting.
I remember sitting at home one evening considering the possibility of getting a starter brewing kit, and believe it or not, I posted something along those lines on Facebook. A long-time friend of mine chimed in right away: “Well, what’s stopping you?! My husband is way into it. Hit us up if you have any questions.” She was right – what was stopping me? Thank you, Rosanna! I was at the store the next day and the starter kit was in the trunk of my car. I was about to try my hand at brewing.
Five years and who-knows-how-many dollars later, I have given away all of my starter gear, and graduated to the next level. I have planned, designed, welded and built my own custom, ten-gallon garage brewery, built a temperature-controlled fermentation chamber, and a modified chest-freezer for serving beer from a few taps. I grow and harvest six mature hops plants and have an extensive library of recipes that I’ve developed myself. I’ve also hosted two episodes of Brewing TV and one episode of Chop and Brew, so far. In addition, I have read five or six of the more well-known “how to brew” books a few times, subscribe to a few brewing magazines and have listened to countless podcasts from various sources. So, yeah – I’m into it.
Brewing is an absolute blast and I use it as my time to relax. I tell my brewing friends that I work a stressful enough job – if brewing was stressful too, I wouldn’t do it anymore. There is a heck of a lot of science involved – most of which is quite over my head. I understand the basics and the big-picture version of most of it, but I really don’t concern myself with all of the super-geeky science-related stuff. My brew days are my down time: it’s my time to hang out in the garage, make some beer, sample a few beers and just let the beer happen. I once described myself as a “free-style brewer” – I just throw stuff into the kettle and see what happens. I have a solid grasp on what I’m doing so I don’t end up making un-drinkable beer, but I don’t worry about much.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Why is he talking about this? What does beer/brewing/International Beer Day have to do with acoustics and soundproofing?”
That’s a good question, and I have to admit, it took me a while to come up with the answer. After a bit of introspection, I realized that my outlook on beer and brewing is similar to the decade I have spent working in the acoustics industry. I’ll be the first one to point out that for both home brewing and working with acoustics, I do not have an extensive knowledge of the finest points of the science behind either. I have no degree in Acoustics or Physics, nor do I have a degree in the brewing science. I do not understand all of the algorithms and extremely complicated
mathematical points of acoustics, nor do I understand brewing down to a molecular level. However, I DO have a very solid, tried-and-true understanding of how both work. I pride myself on my ability to explain both fields to people that have no education in either, and allow them to leave with a relatively accurate understanding of “how this whole thing works”, what’s involved and why. And, I’m pretty damn good at both, if I do say so myself.
So, there it is. Happy International Beer Day! If you are in the Minneapolis area and want to get together for a pint in a noisy pub, I can probably explain to you how the beer was made, the ingredients that were used, as well as how to reduce the echo, increase the speech intelligibility and make the space more comfortable and give you three or four different products that will accomplish that – along with the pros and cons of each.
Ted’s Tropical Pale Ale – (American Pale Ale)
A light-bodied, easy drinking yet complex pale ale utilizing the unique floral, tropical, fruity and earthy properties of a few different hop varieties. Makes a 10-gallon batch.
16 lbs. American two-row pale malt
2 lbs. Crystal 20
2 lbs. Golden Naked Oats
(60 min) .50 oz. Amarillo, .25 oz. Simcoe, .25 oz. Mosaic
(10 min) Wyeast nutrient and Whirlflock
(5 min) 1 oz. Mosaic, 1 oz. Simcoe, 1 oz. HBC 336 (experimental hop)
(3 min) 1 oz. Mosaic, 1 oz. Simcoe, 1 oz. EXP 6300
(whirlpool) 2 oz. Amarillo, 2 oz. Simcoe
(7 day dry hop) 1 oz. Mosaic
Ferment with Wyest 1056 American Ale yeast @ 63 degrees
Estimated OG: 1.048
Estimated ABV: 4.9%
Bitterness: 34.8 IBU
Color: 5.9 SRM