|10 Years Serving the Brewing Community and Setting Another World Brewing Record!|
We really had no idea of who was showing up because Regan’s idea of group coordination was to tell anyone who was interested “We’ll meet you in Badwater at 10:00 A.M.” He spent the rest of the day asking unsuspecting tourists “Are you hear for the World Record?” Most of the tourists were foreigners that did not speak much English so they walked by as quickly as possible. It is not every day that you go to a national landmark and see a bunch of people in the middle of the desert with metal pots, burners, and fermenter contraptions who are all drinking beers that are hanging from their necks. Only in America is this possible.
Anyways, after Mike showed up, and Regan had accosted several tourists with no success, we started the brew and 1.5 gallons of water was heated up to our 165F strike temp. We doughed in our grains and the mash stabilized at 153F. We were brewing beer and it felt good. Damn good.
We hiked our operation out to lowest point in the salts flats. Regan bitched and moaned the whole way. I explained to the group how on Mt. Whitney I never heard a peep out of Regan because he never caught his breath the entire trip. I knew I should have given him something heavy to carry. On this hike, however, it was Darren who was quite. As Chris and I led the group while carrying the mashtun and boil-kettle I turned to find Darren lugging his six-foot long lounge chair a half-mile out into the desert.
The beer had essentially ‘mashed’ and was complete with the starch to sugar conversion by the time we finally reached our location. As we had done during our brew on Mt. Whitney we put 1 ounce of cascade hops in a bag and placed them in the kettle. During the ‘sparge’ or rinsing of the grains, the wort was allowed to drain onto the hops in a process called ‘First Wort Hopping’. During first wort hopping some of the aromatic hop oils get bound up with the malt constituents to provide long lasting hop aroma, even without adding any later hops during the brewing or fermenting process. Judging by our results on Whitney and the beers Mike had brought, first wort hopping was a success.
With Darren’s tireless supervision the mash and sparge went flawlessly. However, we did add a pinch of salt from the Valley floor in a spurt of home brewing creativity to give the beer an authentic “Brewed in Death Valley” flavor. Mike Rose, who has some interesting ideas on health, proceeded to then collect and eat some of the raw virgin salt. I remember thinking “We can’t take this guy anywhere!” Don’t worry - If you are reading this it means he probably didn’t die.