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Step one: Heat 800 pounds of rocks

Six brewers and 800 pound of rocks. There was no efficiency on display Monday at Scratch Brewing outside of Ava, Illinois.

Visitors from Jester King Brewing inn Texas — co-founder Jeff Stuffings, head brewer Garrett Crowell, and production manager Averie Swanson — joined Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon, and Frank Wesseln of Scratch to make 60 gallons of wort. It is fermenting now in a used wine barrel and soon will be beer. Details later, beyond the facts that is was mashed in a barrel and filtered through cedar branches, boiled in barrels, contains a variety of botanicals, and is fermenting with Scratch’s sourdough bread yeast.

Any single one of these things would make a beer unique, but the true inefficiencies are realized by bringing wort to a boil with rocks. It is like viewing history live, but makes it clear people must really have wanted to drink beer when it took this much work to make it.

Building a fire to make stone beer (stein bier) at Scratch Brewing
Step 1: Bury stones in a pile of scrap wood and set it afire.

Jeff Stuffings delivers hot stones to boiling barrel at Scratch Brewing
Step 2: Haul heated stones, one at a time, to the boiling barrel.

Lower hot stones into wort at Scratch Brewing

Lower hot stones into wort at Scratch Brewing

Lower hot stones into wort at Scratch Brewing
Steps 3-4-5: Submerge stone.
Stein bier (stone beer) boil over at Scratch Brewing
Step 6: Watch for boil overs. Oops.

3 Responses to Step one: Heat 800 pounds of rocks

  1. Lars Marius Garshol August 3, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    But… if you’re making a steinbier, why would you boil the wort?

    • Stan Hieronymus August 3, 2016 at 11:36 am #

      It just goes to show you that there is more than one way to stein a beer.

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