YES KiNG! A graf beer & a cautionary tale.

Apple beers have been around forever but have you heard of a GRAF? One of our patrons said it was a beer brewed with apple cider instead of water–we’ve been fascinated with the idea ever since. Turns out it’s a fictional beer that Stephen King imagined in The Dark Tower series! He of course did not disclose a recipe, just that it’s a strong, dark apple beer. Many homebrewers have attempted to brew a graf and the interwebs gave up a wide variety of recipes, some ciders and some beers. NOTHING however on subbing cidergrain for water.

Dave A. and I went ahead and did a 50/50 mix of Applecrest Farms cider and water. Everything when smoothly until about 10 minutes into mash-out: STUCK! What? No wheat, no rye, wtf? We gave it a vigorous stir and it flowed for a few more minutes and then stopped again. We were clueless! 6 stir-and-stops later most of the wort was gone.

Looking into the boil kettle, our best guess was that the acidity from the heated cider disintegrated the malt to the point where almost half of it flowed right through the false bottom into the boil kettle–OH SHIT! We actually had to filter the resulting wort TWICE before pumping it into the fermenter, once recirculating through a hand-held colander, and then through a nylon bag into a grant on it’s way to the wort chiller–not pretty.graf boil kettle

So we started with 110 gallons of liquor (55g cider/55 water) and wound up with 55 gallons of wort in the fermenter-sheesh!

4/2/15 Happy to report that, although it pours like chocolate milk, Yes King! is a very enjoyable hybrid beer–hard cidery, a tad tart, smoothed by the malt, and grounded by the hops and chaga. PROST!