If you’re like most homebrewers, you’re probably worried about the upcoming zombie apocalypse. I am because Hollywood has never steered us wrong in their predictions. So with all the focus on Zombies in Hollywood here, here and here, we think it’s time you extract brewers think long and hard about learning to brew with all grain. Because if Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that it’s their world and we’re just living in it.
And when the dead arise again and start chewing people for food, you better know how to make some beer from grain like our ancestors did in the 1700’s. Because no one wants to be sober while being eaten alive.
If You Want To Be Zombie Apocalypse Royalty, You Should Listen To The Voices In Your Head
For the most part, home brewers here in Orlando (or anywhere else for that matter) got their start in home brewing with either a hand-me-down kit from an uncle or bought a homebrew kit (like one of these beer equipment kits) that is geared towards extract brewing. If I was really lucky, you bought the kit from me!
But something weird inevitably happens. You start to make beer. You make a few good beers and you’re happy making extract beers. But every time you go into the homebrew shop to buy another extract kit, you pass by all the wonderful grains available in the shop.
That little voice in your head says “Hey, maybe we should try all grain?”.
You quickly dismiss that and tell yourself “No, way too hard! I like the easy way. And I make good beer. I’m happy!”
And here’s the thing. Many homebrewers NEVER move to all-grain and make some damn good beer. Some of the best beers I’ve ever had were extract beers.
Still… That little voice is telling you that you need to start playing with all these grains in the store: “Maris otter… Wonder what that is? What’s this? Chocolate crisp? Oh wow! Chocolate!!! I want to play with all the grains!!!!”.
Ok. Maybe that was just the conversation going on in my head.
Don’t get me wrong, I had the same reluctance and questions as you do moving from extract to all grain. What equipment do I need? What the hell is a mash? Can I really outrun zombies with all of this extra stuff needed for all-grain?
As I started reading more and more about all-grain, I found a few arguments that pushed me over the edge.
1. You have way more control over your beer. You can simply adjust the grains in a recipe and completely change a beers taste, look and feel. And there are a TON of really good all-grain recipes out there. Especially on homebrewtalk.com
2. When you go to the brewer meetups like the Brew Club Of Seminole County or the Central Florida Home Brewers club, 90% of the people there are brewing with all-grain. You feel a little inferior (which you shouldn’t, by the way). It’s natural. We’re humans (for now). We want to do what our friends are doing. So we naturally get the itch to start all-grain brewing.
3. And this is the most important… When the zombie apocalypse happens, good luck finding extract. You’re going to need to know how to brew from just grains like us humans did before extract.
Hops might be hard to come by, but you can go old-school and just use pine / spruce needles as a replacement. You just need a mashtun (see below), a brew pot and a fermentation bucket. And fire. If you have those things, you’ll be opening your “Forget About The Zombies Brewery” in no time.
And you’ll be part of the Royal dynasty created in the of the post-apocalyptic world! Because if living in the United States has taught us anything, he (or she) who has the hooch, has the money.
So now that you understand the “final gravity” of the situation, and understand that your time is limited before “they” come back to life, it’s time to move from extract to all-grain.
How To Make Beer During The Zombie-Apocalypse (or any other time before then)
The chief complaint I hear most from people wanting to move to all grain is the extra cost of buying new equipment. Well… I’m here to tell you that it’s really simple to move to all grain and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
To move from extract to all grain you do need a few simple equipment purchases. And it’s very important that you get this equipment now. Because once the zombies come, Orlando Homebrew Supplies will be shut down and we’ll be on the run and we’ll be hoarding all of our equipment. Sorry, survival y’all.
The simplest way to get started with all grain is by using a cooler mashtun. Which we have available in the store. If you have a cooler already, we have the equipment to turn your cooler into a mashtun. You’ll need a false bottom and a ball valve to convert your cooler to a mash tun. Available in our store until the inevitable collapse of society.
You can, of course, use another brew pot with a ball valve as your mashtun, but for simplicity, cost and carrying weight when running from flesh eating monsters, the cooler mash tun is the way to go to get started.
Spend a few minutes watching the video below. It shows how to use a single cooler mashtun to make your all grain brew. You’ll see that it’s actually very simple to brew with all-grain.
So the difference between all-grain and extract is simply having a mashtun to mash your grains, washing your grains after the mash (sparging) and needing some hot water to wash your grains with to make your wort.
Now if you want to get real fancy (just remember, this will slow you down when on the run) is to add a hot liquor tank. A hot liquor tank is just a fancy way of saying “a container to store hot water for sparging”.
Again, this can be as simple as another adding cooler to use as your hot liquor tank like this:
In this setup (called a brew stand) the top cooler is the hot liquor tank which has water for sparging, the middle cooler is the mashtun and the of course the brew pot / kettle is on the bottom.
So there you go. The Zombie Apocalypse is coming and you need to be prepared. You don’t have to believe that everyone dead will suddenly come back to life, but what you do need to believe is that it’s really easy to brew with all-grain and it’s pretty simple to get started.
Who knows… Maybe it will be the difference between staying human or becoming this guy…