Hannah asks from Sarah Real of Hot Plate Brewing all of her questions about the brewing process. Sarah sipped on a Golden Facade, a blonde ale from Bright Ideas Brewing and Hannah enjoyed The Fix, a beer brewed by Modist Brewing Co. in honor of International Women's Day 2021.
Make sure to keep up with what Sarah and Mike are up to with Hot Plate Brewing Co. - @HotPlateBeer on Instagram and at their website, HotPlateBeer.com
And in the meantime, catch her at one of my favorite women-owned bars, Beer Witch Brooklyn
Sarah mentioned Bitter & Esters, the homebrew supply shop that she frequents. Check them out here!
Groovy music by Megan Bagala, and art by Sabrina Rain at The Hoppiest Shop
Hi, Beer Friends. Welcome back to Brews with Broads: the Beer 101 Minisodes. I'm your host Hannah Kiem. This week, I had the absolute joy of talking to Sarah Real of Hot Plate Brewing Company about all things brewing process. It is certainly the weakest point in my beer knowledge, and I am so grateful to Sarah for taking the time to break it all down. Talking to her exceeded all of my expectations because she brought the perspective of an experienced award-winning home brewer, who has also brewed on commercial equipment and who is in the process of shopping for locations for a brick and mortar location for Hot Plate Brewing Company with her co-founder and husband. Mike, in addition to her quote grown-up job at Nickelodeon, Sarah is also a Cicerone certified beer server and a bartender at Beer Witch Brooklyn. I had so much fun talking to her and asking her all of the questions. I've always been too afraid to ask because I thought they were too basic. I hope you have as much fun as I did and learn as much as I did with my guest, Sarah Real,
Sarah Real, welcome to brews with broads the beer 101 mini-sode edition.
Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure,
Very excited as this tradition. And we're going to share a beer today. What, what are you drinking?
I have, um, from bright ideas in North Adams, mass, which is a great, great brewery, um, on the campus of mass MOCA, um, and they're super friendly, super welcoming, um, golden facade. It is a blond ale brewed with chocolate, vanilla coffee and milk sugar to deceive the palette with flavors and the body of a stout. It's fantastic
My palate loves to be deceived. That sounds fun. I just picked this up. This is from Modist. It's called the, have you had this?
Yes. Yes. I'm very intrigued.
It's called the fix and it's a 2021 international women's day brew, but it's a double dry hopped, zero IBU, new England IPA. So yeah, let's crack these
Let's do this.
Ther we go, into the glass. Oh, beautiful. Hmm.
That's my one regret of this not being a visual medium is not getting to see all the, the beautiful pours that my guests do.
Or people's Like funky glass wares. Yes. Yeah.
Well, now that we're hydrated, I'm excited to have you here to talk about, um, the brewing process, which full disclosure is like my weakest point in beer knowledge, because as I've mentioned, maybe a thousand times on this podcast, I'm just like a musical theater kid who decided that I wanted to do beer also. So science is not my forte, so I'm excited to get into that. But of course, first I want to learn a little bit more about you tell me like your beer life story.
Um, so I've always been into beer since I - I'm such a rule. So since, you know, I could drink legally, um, no one believes it, but it's true, sadly. And, um, and I've just always been so interested in it. And I, when I finished my master's degree, my husband and I drove cross country to go move to California. Cause we wanted to be in New York city. We were not finding any jobs. Um, we both, we met at Penn state and so we were driving cross-country and when we went through Colorado to, to meet up with a friend and he's like, let's go to this brewery. So it was new Belgium and it was before they did like their whole big build out. . So I was like really crammed. And I was just like, Oh my gosh, this is so cool. I want to do this. I'm like, Oh, this is, you know, all these flights and you know, all just the basic stuff of that, that beer is now.
And so we continue to go to breweries. And then since we were in Southern California, we went down to Escondido to stone before they did their big build out. Um, so it was really cool to see these, what were smaller now, these, these huge places. Um, and so I wasn't finding a job and I was like, you know, I really, why don't I just become a brewer? And I was like, well, what am I going to do with a master's in contemporary first amendment theory? I don't know. Um, so, you know, and I was just like, I just want to brew beer and talk with my mom a little bit. Um, and understanding that I did not have the time nor the money to go to brewing school. So I was like, I guess I'll get a real job. Right. You know, pay bills and stuff.
Um, so I'm, I'm in consumer insights for television, so media research and I've had the chance to do a lot of traveling. Um, and it's funny because in college we had this one bar called Xenos and you get this little passport and it's called around the world that ed beers. And so they have a list of all the different beers and you get it signed off when you buy it. Um, and then when you get 80 beers, you get a t-shirt. So the most expensive t-shirt, um, and then you get your name on a plaque on the wall. And I was like, yes. Um, so I was exposed to a ton of different beers. I had no idea what I was drinking. Like I look back at the passport now and I'm like, Oh my gosh, like I did not know how good I had it in college.
Um, and not that I have, you know, a refined palate now, but I at least, you know, styles rather than just colors. Um, and so as I was working and traveling a lot, like being on the road is very lonely. Uh, and especially because I was working in international. So if you don't necessarily know the language or anything like that, it's just like for me, a pub or a brewery was always just a beacon to me. It made me feel comfortable. It made me feel at home in a very foreign place sometimes. And because I am into consumer insights, I just love, you know, more than just people watching, understanding how people are interacting with one another and just understanding, especially the European pub of, you know, it's just like, Hey, grab a pint with your mates. It's not like let's crush all these beers all night and then not remember the next day.
And I just love that. And that's something, you know, that, that I've just taken with me. So I was exposed to so many different types of beers, so many different type of beer communities. So it was nice that it grew from like, you know, around the world and 80 beers in one place to like literally around the world, you know, and all these different places. And so that's kind of been the beer journey for me, um, in terms of tasting and everything like that. Um, so if you want me to talk about that, how I got into brewing.
Yes. I love to hear all that. And in these interviews, a theme has definitely emerged of not just the liquid itself, but the culture surrounding it in traveling and yeah. And just the- the community people find not only in their own backyard, but as you said, when traveling and being able to like, feel at home within a beer community.
Yeah. And it, it is hard, um, because especially going to, um, countries where maybe you shouldn't be a woman in a bar alone or something like that, but me being stubborn and being like, I can do whatever I want. I'm a strong woman understanding that that is not my culture. So I have to respect someone else's culture and understand it. Um, so, you know, kind of just being able to manage that, but then also, you know, in the States being stateside, still feeling confident when you go to sit down at a bar alone. Um, one time I was in my husband and I were visiting a brewery in Portland and we got a flight and I had the- one of them. I said, I don't. I was like, sorry, I don't think this is the right one. Um, it's, it's a little tart for whatever I've orders ordered.
And the guy goes, I think you don't like it. Cause it has hops in it and walks away. And I was just like, my husband was just like stared at each other. We were just dumbfounded. And he just came back and was like, maybe you'll like this. And I was just like, you didn't even ask me what I had. Like, you need to double check what I ordered. I think. So it's just being able to have that confidence of like, I, even if I don't know everything, I at least know what I enjoy and what I don't enjoy and I can speak to that. So that's challenging.
Oh man. Now, I'm so mad, but yes. Yes. I think that I've had that experience and I imagine that most female identifying people, listening have had an experience like that. Um, but yeah. Tell me about how you got into brewing and what is hot plate beer, and what's going on there?
Happy to do it. So when I was traveling a lot, because I'd have to be gone for like, you know, a minimum of a week at a time, my husband was like, I'm bored. What can I do? So he actually started brewing. He got like the one gallon kit thing. Know it started doing that. And then because lived just a couple blocks away from Bitter and Esters. It's like, Oh, this is, this is awesome. You know, it was about like, Oh, you can write your own recipes, you can do this. So he would kind of do that to keep himself busy. Um, and obviously it's awesome to have a, a hobby that provides, uh, a great beverage at the end. Um, and so then we, unfortunately the apartment that we were living in, um, that we still actually currently own, um, the gas got turned off.
It's a whole debacle with the city. Um, we were, we were working on it now. So that was a number of years ago. And we, it was very challenging, obviously the first winter going without heat or hot water or being able to cook on a gas stove. And so it was just like, this is life now. So then one year it was about 2017. I was getting tired of from all the travel. And again, it's awesome when you're doing it, but to have a partner to have any sort of life. Um, it's, it's extremely challenging. And like, I like my husband, so I kind of wanted to hang out with him, turns out it turns out I missed it. Um, so it was just kind of like, what am I doing with my life? You know? And so, um, we went out with a group of our friends and, um, I was just like, yeah, I was so exhausted from basically trying to stay warm, trying to stay alive and stay warm.
Um, and I was just like, it. What am I D let's do this live. I'm not going to put this off anymore. Let's we have a hot plate. That's the least ideal situation to try and brew on, you have almost zero temperature control. It is just a nightmare. You know, brew... small brew days, two and a half gallon birthdays would take six to seven hours. Cause you're just sitting there waiting for it to boil. Um, but we were like, it let's do this. So I started taking lessons, um, the classes at bitter and esters, so I could learn all, all those processes started reading, um, you know, and, and just trying to get our reps in and do it. And so like, we were always just like, cause I wanted to do that. I always wanted to be a brewer. And so we've just, as we've gotten more serious and, you know, made our business plan for things, it's just like, yeah, why not hot plate?
And so we just kind of liked the idea of hot plate that it's, I mean, it was physically what we started on, but, um, it's just about kind of making do with what you have just taking down, you have control of your life for the most part. Um, but you know, saying like, yeah, I'm going to do this. I'm not going to let anything else hold me back. It's on me now. And I can't complain. I can't say, I wish I could just do it, just f**king do it. Um, and then also just kind of like, you know, our logo in that, like it's that w you know, the warming element, but it's also an element of home because we were lacking that feeling of home for so long, because we didn't have gas that it's just like, we just want people to feel welcome.
We want to bring people together. You know, we, we talk about crafting connections. We want people to be brought together and it's great that beer, other alcoholic beverages can be a social lubricant. It's just like, we just want people to share ideas and, um, just feel at home where whenever they are, you know, I always joke that I'm like, I'd love to open a brewery that has like a luggage rack, and it's like, leave your baggage here you are, what you are. Um, and so that's kind of been who we are of just like, it. Let's do it.
That's beautiful, frankly. And so are you, did I see that there is like a physical space in the works?
We are currently place shopping now, you know, facility shopping. Um, we're hoping somewhere in the Berkshires, just because we would love to stay in Brooklyn, but, um, hearing the story to, to talking to all the great people that you've had on your podcast, like Mary, you know, and, um, Wild East and all of them, and it's just like, Oh, Oh, Oh yeah. Okay. Yep. All right. Um, and you know, I, I spent a lot of my life in New Hampshire, so I'm like, I love it. I love it up there. So yeah, we're, we are in the process of trying to find a place, which we know takes a long time. So we're chugging along as we do that.
Well, I'm really excited to hear that. And I'm looking forward to you keeping me and all of us, the listeners updated on that because I'm sold, given the pitch that you just made.
And I'll bring my baggage and I'll leave it at the door, but that brings us into how the f**k do you brew beer? I'm excited to hear from you because when I picture, you know, the times that I've learned about like the brewing process, the images you see are always like a big system. So I'm excited to hear about your perspective on it, based on a very practiced homebrewer, but like you're working at a much smaller scale. Yes.
And I mean, it really could be like brewing techniques. 101 parentheses what not to do, because that's really, you know, everything that we've done, first of all, don't brew on a hot plate, but we started out with, um, just two and a half gallons. Um, so very small stuff. We, we live in a 600 square foot apartment, so that's not a lot of room. And so we just started with actually doing extract. So not even having actual grains, it it's just, you buy the malt extract. It looks like honey. Um, and it's actually great to use and like doughts and stuff. I've been experimenting with that. But, um, so you just dump the syrup in and brings to a boil. And then you add in the hops when you need to add in the hops and do your filtering and pitch your yeast. So that was very simple.
Um, and then I was like, this to me, it just was all tasting the same. I was like, every beer just tastes like malt extract, even though there are different malt extracts and like just I need to branch out. I need to feel like I'm doing something. So we started, what's called brew in a a bag. And so all the grains, you actually get the grains and you put it in a bag and you just kind of like it like tea um, and then you remove that. So we don't have kind of the, the vessels or the systems where you're just dumping the grains in the water. Um, and you filter it out from there. So it's just, we let it sit for a half hour, 45 minutes, how much ever we write into the recipe. And then we have to like, pull it out and drain it. Then we have those grains and our dog loves the grains, but we also dry them. Um, and I mill them down into flour. So I'll make dog treats or we'll make bread or biscuits or stuff like that. So
I've never knew about malt extract as a home-brewing resource, because, you know, when you Google, what are the brewing steps? I didn't do that an hour ago. That's not what happened. They, you talk about like malting the grain and milling it. And like, obviously that's not, I mean, most breweries don't even malt their own grains. They're buying it from somewhere, but you're not doing that in your apartment.
Yeah. I mean, it's, it's kind of like when you go to make a pumpkin pie, do you buy like the Libby's and add like the egg and put it into a pre-made shell, or do you get the pumpkin from the farmer's market and roast it and then drain it and do all that. And then, you know, and then make the pie.
I love that analogy , and if you're me, it's the former for sure. Or you buy it from somewhere else, you know, you touched on where your grains are coming from. And as I learned from my last beer 101 guest Em Sauter of pints and panels, she taught me a lot about like the milling process and how, and what multi-grain actually is. And so then what do you, in a traditional big scale brewing process, the step after malting is sort of like what you just described, which would be mashing. Yep.
So it's just, I mean, the way that that I learned at Bitter and Esters it was like, you're making oatmeal and that's what it looks like. And that's what it smells like. Uh, it's delicious. Um, and so, yeah, so you threw your grains in there and you kind of take the heat down and you let it sit so you can get all the sugars out, um, all the, the fancy chemicals out. Um, and then when you drain it, you bring it back up to a boil. And then that's kind of when, depending on the style you're making can be a 60 minute boil. It can be a 90 minute boil, um, can be 120, you know, like Dogfish head, they're known for their, you know, they have like their 90 minutes, they're 120. So that's the amount of their boil actually. And they have continuous hopping.
So they, we went, we went there to see a tour. And you actually, like, when they're brewing, you just hear every couple minutes. It's like, and it's just like shooting out, hops into the boil. So literally like, so they can technically say they continuously hop. Cause it's like, rather than like, when we write a recipe, it's like, you know, you add, we add our hops at the beginning or add it in the middle. We added at the end, you know, depending on aroma, bitterness, all of that, that, that's kind of how you decide where you want to put the hops. Um, and then yeah, then you call it down. Which again, in a nice, big, proper brewery, you have all these cooling systems for home brewers. You can either get this cool thing, looks like a coil, and you put it up to your faucet. You just run cold water down through the middle. Of course our faucet didn't fit the attachment and now they have attachment. So we just put it on our sink an add ice. So we are our bodega guys know us very well.
Yeah. Those are the freaks always coming in here for ice.
Exactly. So you wait for it to cool. You get it down to whatever temperature usually we like to do between 76, 70 degrees. Um, and then you filter which again, and our process is very, you know, a strainer and then like an almond milk bag. And then it's just, it's just messy and time-consuming. And, uh, one time I decided to make a beer for my boss at work for her birthday. And her birthday happens to be Halloween. I was like, well, what do you want? She's like, could you do a pumpkin ale? And I was like, sure. And then as we're filtering everything out on like our home system and rig and everything, I was like, never again, never. I was like, this better be the best beer ever. It was pretty good. She enjoyed it. So that's what matters. Yeah. And then we are trying to experiment more with kveik yeast. So you can pitch that at a much higher temperature. And I always pitching is just adding the fancy word for adding the yeast and so that we don't have to really wait for it to cool down that much. Um, but we'll, we'll airate it with little fish pump for a few minutes. She gets some more oxygen in there. Um, and then we pitched the yeast and my husband likes to just sit there and watch, wait for the bubbles to come. So
That sounds very much not to stereotype, but that sounds like a boy thing. I can see that
Like it's So cool. I'm like, I understand that, but, but
Like, it's, it happens every time, going quickly to the step of filtering that you mentioned, you know, do you know what that looks like in a traditional sort of larger scale brewery? What that set up would be?
I think it depends on, on your brew house. Um, I've been fortunate enough to do some of the pink boots, brew days. Um, so Fifth Hammer, uh, whe Randolph hosted. They actually hosted two different ones. And then we were just up in the Berkshires at Shire brew house and they, they let us sit in for the day. So it really, and they have like a total custom system because they're on the basement. So it just really depends on, on your setup. Um, but yeah, it's definitely one of those things that just kind of happens in the tubes. And then you have, you know, your tons and tons of grain that I always, I always like to go to brew days at commercial places because it's like, I like to work. I like the hard work. And so I'm like, Ooh, can I grain out? So it's like taking all the grain out of, out of the container and it's like this hot steaming grain. And so it's like, you know, the beersdoing its thing thing. Um, and then you have all this leftover grain and you're just like trucking it into bins out to let the farmers have it. But usually the people working there are like, please, please take this job, go for it.
Yeah. It seems very physically involved. And I'm tire thinking about it. A lot of times, I, when talking about brewing processes, I, and I think other people do this too. We pretend to know things that I don't actually know. And like I'm afraid to ask for clarification. So I want to like be just so basic with this and you've touched on everything. Um, but will you define the word wort for me And my listeners?
Word is the, the sugary water basically. So it is once you've, you've taken all the grains out, it's the juice that's leftover. It's what the basis of the beer is made from, and that you add the hops too. So it's really that you've gotten all the fermentable is out of the grain. You've got, you know, you've gotten all those chemicals you need, um, to make the beer and then you fire up the engine again and you boil it. So that's what wort is. It's just, it's the oatmeal juice basically. And it's just, I mean, if you have it, it's super sweet. It's like, if you get it, like it's sticky. Cause all those sugars are in there. It's just, it's great.
It sounds great. I would, I would like to taste some, I feel like that's in my future. I think I'm going to try. Thank you. And thank you for mentioning, you touched on Dogfish is like the perfect example that I think of when I imagine the boil particularly hops because you know, we are, I think American beer culture, we're obsessed with hops. Um, and so that's the first place you can add them, right. Is in the boil. And you touched on this too, that the longer they're in there, the more that's when they're like really contributing the flavor elements and like the bittering. Yeah.
Yep. And then yeah, and the aroma. I mean, it's, again, you, it all depends on the type of beer. Um, you know, I will, as my husband always says, I will die on the Hill of British beers. I, I love them. Um, I, I don't know why they, no, I know why they don't catch up at, in America. They're low ABV, they're very malt forward there's, you know, it's an easy drinker. Um, especially now in the hazy IPA phase, people are not, not looking for that. Um, so that's very different than making an IPA or a double dry hop. And so, and, and it's interesting. Cause I do think that people don't know when they're like, Oh, it's dry hopped and I'm like, do you, do you know what that means? Do you, cause I didn't and great. If you're just like, cool, you see DDH on a cane or like, I like that style.
I like the DDH. It's like, that's fine. But to me, because I always want to get to the bottom of everything. I'm like, well, what, when was it dry? Like what's the process. And again, they're not going to put the whole story on the can of, you know, all their proprietary stuff they're doing. Um, but yeah. So when you, when you dry hop is just literally what it is, you're adding dry hops to, um, beer that has fermented. And so that really adds that aroma. So when you sniff the glass, that's when you're like, Oh man, that's a Tangerine or that's a papaya or floral, you know, it depends again, depending on the beer, um, being it floral notes. And so that's kind of the process of the hops. You need a beginning. I mean, you can do anytime during the boil, flame out is what's called like zero minute when you're done with the boil, a lot of people add hops and flame out and then again, dry hopping. Great.
Thank you. Yeah, I think you're right. That the term, the abbreviation DDH is like so pervasive and I think it would be interesting to see how many DDH drinkers, like not only know what that stands for, but know what that looks like. Yeah. Um, and I can't quite remember where we left off in the quote unquote process. Yes. You talked about cooling with your, I just admire homebrewer so much because I'm so easily frustrated that like what you touched on like, Oh, well of course this doesn't the attachment doesn't fit on. Ice are saying, I would just like fully have a meltdown and be like, so I admire you and your husband and anyone else out there homebrewing. Cause like good Lord. Um, and then yeah, so basically, yeah. You talked about pitching the yeast, which it took me a really long, I've heard that word, that verb used many times and it, it just means to add the yeast exactly. Like you said.
Yeah. And I think when the first time that I heard, I was like, why don't you just say, add, and my husband's like you say pitch. I'm like, okay. That's, that's what the word is. Yeah.
It's just what the cool kids do. I am curious. Um, and you've mentioned Bitter and Esters several times. It's a Homebrew store here in Brooklyn. I actually live very close by too. I think we're probably very close neighbors, but what form, when you're buying yeast, like what does that even look like?
So there are a couple of different ways you can do it. You can buy it like in a little, the, one of the ones, um, has it, they call a slap pack because it has like, it's suspended in liquid and it's in this like kind of metal. I know we're on a podcast and I'm using my hands a lot to show that
We're doing a lot of like rectangular motions
And so it's like the little used packet. You slap the nutrients, you slap it when you get it and you leave it out for a couple hours while you're brewing. Um, and then there's another, another, um, Omega yeast that they've kind of come on the scene. Um, and again, still the small rectangular package, but you don't get to slap it or anything. Um, and they have kind of more, more cells in there and it's, you know, uh, it can be a better yeast for some, some beers. Um, so that's what we've traditionally used just because it's easy. Um, but you can also do your own starters so that, you know, that takes, that's just like with sourdough, you have to tend to it, you have to, you know, know the chemistry behind it and all of that. Um, again, it takes more equipment and I, I love science.
I love the science equipment, but we are trying to understand the space we have. So, um, we really want to get to that point, but right now we're just kind of taking, taking the shortcut. Um, and then, you know, it was kind of understanding on the larger scale. Cause you know, it's so expense, like a small pack of, of yeast for a five gallon batch. If we're just doing one, one package of visa, it's $12.99. So think about that on grand scale, like breweries, can't just be like, give me a whole bucket of yeast please. So it is about being able to keep your counts healthy, um, even having your own house strain and understanding all of that. And I know obviously wild East has their own cool lab and everything. And so they're really at the forefront of that. Um, but so that's, you know, that's taking it to the next level. So you can kind of start with the little like, Oh, I'm just gonna throw in the bag and then, you know, or you can tend to it yourself. Um, and I used to be part of the Brewminaries, which is one of the home brew clubs here in Brooklyn. And they would have like science nights and you know, we talk about cell count and people who, you know, were actual scientists and I'm like, Ooh, my work in media, I've, you know, I'm interested, but I'm not there yet. So
Right. It's all about the, it's a spectrum exactly. As you're saying, but put that in the category of things I've always taken for granted as someone with a bachelor of fine arts like that. Now I'm actually taking the time to dig into, and I'm grateful for people like you who will share that knowledge. So right. We've pitched the yeast. And this is technically like the fermentation stage. And as I've mentioned, Em, last two weeks ago, when this will air, um, sort of personifies the yeast and one of my beer mentors, Kate Amos , who's now the general manager of Marta in New York city go eat some pizza people. Um, she always, she also sort of humanizes the yeast and I always remember, she would say basically yeast eats sugar, and these are her words, uh, would burps, CO2 and farts alcohol. And that really stuck with me. Um, that's not a question it's just, I really wanted to say the word farts on my podcast. Um, but yeah, so that's like basically like the most, I don't know, is there a different way that you prefer to describe fermentation I guess is my question?
No. And that's it. And there, you know, you have, um, lager yeast and you have alleys and um, one is taught fermenting. So it starts at the top and one is bottom fermenting. And so those are kind of the, how you make those two different ones. And I, a lot of people are experimenting with ale yeast at lagering temperature. So I didn't even know, you know, for talking about basics. Like I didn't even really know that lageringn was a verb. I thought like when I saw Coors like commercials, like cold lager and I was like, that's not a word it's like, Oh, it actually is. Um, so, you know, that's just the logarithm processes, you know, bringing, bringing the beer down to a temperature slowly rising it so that, you know, because it just ferments differently. Um, and that's why a lot of breweries do not produce a lager because it takes up more time in your tanks. And if you're on a commercial system, that's, that's valuable money. Um, so if you don't have a big enough system, you don't necessarily have the, this, you know, six to eight weeks to let it sit there versus a two weeks or even with Kveik Yeast that, you know, that can be done in 48 hours and then you can drink it. Um, which is just fascinating. Um, so yeah, so it, I mean, that's when you come down to it, that's what it does. It is the sugars and, and then it farts out the alcohol
Alcohol is you do. Um, yeah. And I, even though the lovely Mary Izett did, we talked actually on her episode a lot about kveik yeast, um, maybe people haven't listened to that. So will you you've mentioned that and I want to just quickly touch on it cause it is so fascinating.
Yes. Um, I probably should know the history behind it better, but the last one that we used was Lithuanian [inaudible]. Um, so it was this strain that was kind of found and what it does cause yeast as an organism, it's a very precious organism, even though it gives, you know, even though it works hard to get too far down the alcohol and CO2, you know, it's still a living thing. Um, so that's why you can't pitch at a high temperature cause it will kill it. Right. You know, you're not going to jump into a wicked hot, you know, hot tub cause you're like, Oh, that's not, that's not, I can't thrive in this. Um, so that is why you need to make sure you're you have the right temperature. You have, you know, temperature control within range, um, because they are precious beans. And so the kveik yeast, they are much more tolerant.
So I believe it's somewhere in the, up into the nineties, you can pitch it when your warts at 90 degrees and then it works super fast. So we usually like to do on a five gallon batch. Um, let it, let it sit for about two weeks for Matt so we can make sure that like it goes through, it's sitting, you know, sitting there, making sure everything's done with kveik yeast you can do it in two days if need be. So it can be completely done with its fermentation quite quickly. That's the one that like, Mike's literally sitting in it because he's like, it's going to start any minute. Cause it does it start so fast and then it's over.
That's crazy ! And that's was something that I was going to ask you at some point just about the, you know, now we're sort of, we've touched on the fermentation section, which is like that active yeast pitching. That's not an active process for you as the brewer. Right? That's like the yeast is doing its work and you're watching it, watching it or maybe not.
you're watching it, you're listening for it.
And to your point, u,m just, I want to be so, so basic you mentioned the differences in ale use and longer use that alias ferment at a higher temperature and for less time,
They don't, it's not necessarily that it's, that one is top fermenting and one is bottom fermenting. Yeah. Right.
Ales or top fermenting and lagers are bottom fermenting
So, but with kveik yeast, that is a higher temperature thing, but still within each different type of use, there are different temperature ranges. So that's kind of like, again for someone who's not yet trying to cultivate their own Easter, anything, like I read the back of the packet and I'm like, okay, cool. Recomended pitch temp. Got it done. So, and like kveik yeast also again, yeast is very important ingredient. Not just because it gives you the alcohol, but it can give you a lot of flavor. Like one of the things I always talk about with like a saison, it's like, Oh, it's funky. And when you read, you know, in like the BJCP guidelines or, you know, any sort of Cicerone stuff and it's like, it's not, you know, I think I forget what one it's like, it's not horse blanket. It's like horse hay. And I'm like, what? So it's like, you don't want to, you know, when someone asks what is funky mean, you don't want to be like all it's barnyard-ish. Um, but cause like, is that definitely like we made a Saison with it. It definitely lends itself to that more funky side of things.
Sure. Yeah. And that's something, I love something that one of the many things I love about beer is the idea of the contributions of the yeast. A Saison can taste like white pepper and it can taste like barnyard or it can taste, you know, like.. or a Um, a hefeweizen can taste like, or a wit beer rather can taste like clove and bananas, but there aren't cloves and bananas in there. It's all the yeast, baby
I love chemistry. I should have gone into chemistry. I don't, I don't know why I didn't. Um, I remember my senior year in chemistry class, we had an odd number of people in the class. And so they asked who didn't want to have a lab partner. And I immediately raised my hand so that I could do all the work. Write all the reports, like, you know, total nerd zone. Um, but yeah, I love it. And I can't wait to get more, you know, to understand that more or less my, uh, sister works at a medicinal marijuana place in our kids are a cannabis medicinal cannabis in New Hampshire. And so she has learned so much because you know, the hop and cannabis, there they're the same family and she has learned so much. So it's funny. Cause when we were talking something, she was like asking me about like alpha assets, all of this. I was like, Oh my gosh. You know? So I was like, can you come? And it's funny cause she's like, I'm not that smart. I'm like, you are brilliant. Like you just like talked about all these things that are part of, you know, your world, but also part of the brewing world. So it's fast. It's, it's all fascinating to me.
That is fascinating. And we haven't actually on this podcast, I don't think we mentioned the fact that yes, cannabis and hops, whatever the scientific name is, something Lupe, lupulin that the cannabis and the hops are from the same family, which is amazing and wild
And that's, and that's why you see on like some beer cans it's like loop, you know, double loopy or loop because you're taking that, that science name. Right.
I love that. Um, so we've made it to the point of we've done, we've kind of talked about fermentation and that, that can take as with a really fast fermenting yeast. Like kveik that can take as little as you said, 48 hours. Yeah. Yep. And then on the longer end of things, like a six to eight weeks for like, uh, you know, traditional German style lager. Um, and then we have, I guess conditioning, which I guess lagering is a form of conditioning. Um, is that something that really happens in the context of home brewing in your world?
Yes. So for us, we started with, um, bottle conditioning. Cause again, I was like, I don't God, I have to learn about like the CO2 levels and all of that. Like that seems like a whole thing. Let's just bottle condition. So what that means is you get priming sugar. Um, so it does not table sugar. A number of people think that it's table sugar just
Dont just use your like Whole Foods, sugar people. Don't waste it
Exactly. Um, yeah, you're very expensive. Whole foods, sugar picked by elves you know, at this, this certain latitude don't use that. Um, so there's priming sugar and you mix that with water. You boil it to sanitize it because once you, um, once you finish the boil, everything that touches, it needs to be sanitized. Um, because it's not that people are like, Oh my gosh, aren't you worried about like getting sick, making a bad beer. It's like, there are things that can happen to beer. You know, there are a number of things that can happen, beer, the oxidized, all this stuff. But for the most part, you can, you can't get like a stomach bug from, you know, cause you'll drink it and you'll be like, this is bad beer something's up.
Right it Might taste bad, but it's not going to kill you.
Yeah, exactly. So you boil the water and the sugars to sanitize it. And then, um, you put that in, in the bucket that you're then taking the beer out. Um, so it's an ale pale for, for home brewers mostly. And so what that does is it kind of wakes whatever remaining nieces up and they go and party again. And so that's why, so then when, when we bottle condition, we try to do a minimum of two weeks, usually for our recipes. It's about three weeks. And then depending on the beer, like one time we made a Porter and after three weeks we're like, Oh, this is, this is garbage. Oh my gosh, what did we do? Oh my gosh, we have two cases of terrible beer. Um, and one of the things that John at Bitter and Esters said is like, never throw away beer. So we let it sit for a couple months and then we're like, Oh, this is great.
And like, it just each as it evolves because you know, it's still, it's still living. It's still doing its thing. Um, it was fantastic. So the thing with bottle conditioning is that there's always going to be that little bit of, you know, junk at the bottom. And for the most part you do, you don't drink that. Some, some Saisons on some Belgians, you know, they, you swirl that in. You have that. But um, for people who I always like to caution when I give them, I'm like, Oh, this is bottle condition. You know, it's not, cause you're used to these crystal clear beers. You know, if you went to a party school, like I did, everything's just like bud light, coors light, ice house. It's crystal clear. It gets the job done
One just one step away from water. Pretty much. Yeah,
Exactly. Very expensive water on a college budget. Um, and so I always like to, you know, like, Hey, it's not bad. The beer is not bad, but this is kind of how it's done. And then as you learn more, you're like, Oh, okay, this is, this is cool. Um, so yeah, that's kind of the bottle conditioning versus kegging it and adding a CO2 and doing all of that. So yeah. And then just something like, like a lambic, you know, they'll, they'll condition it in barrels for, you know, and do these grand a mixtures of like a, one-year-old a, two-year-old a three-year-old has been conditioning for that long mix that all together. So there are some cool things that you can do with conditioning
And speaking of, um, in barrels, like on a commercial scale, I'm wondering, you know, you see when, when something says like, Oh, it's conditioned on. That just means like, at this point, whether it's in a barrel or a foeder or I guess a bottle they're like putting whatever thing is conditioned on in there.
Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, sitting on there, um, and depending on what..., It's interesting because if you think about like what dry hopping means versus conditioning, like you could be like, cause one time we made up, I think a coffee stout or something, and we're like, we dry beaned, you know, we just like through the hall and we're like, I was like, I don't think that's a thing. So technically I feel like we could say it was conditioned on beans. Sure. But we use the same process that we would for dry hopping. So we're like dry beaned it. This is great. Um, so I think obviously there's the people who are doing like the real sh*t, the good sh*t. They would not say I dry graped, my beer. Yeah. So that's it, it's about just part of like imbuing those, those flavors and you know, in the chemical aspects of those things
Without necessarily the fermentable sugars that they use.
Yeah. Cause they're already there, they've already done their thing.
They're done. They did their thing. Right. So, right. So if I am dry hopping, is it at this point in the process that it would be called that?
Yeah, so we, like, I hop, um, depending on the, the recipe that we've written, um, we'll do it after maybe after a week or eight days. Um, and then we'll do it for four to eight days depending on, on what it is. But I think one of the things that we don't do a lot of dry hopped beers, it's just, it's so expensive because on a five gallon batch, those dry hops will soak up a gallon of beer. So you take that out to a huge scale. Like we were talking to the guys at Shire and I think he said like, they, it takes anywhere from a half barrel to a full barrel of their seven barrel system. So barrel is what, 30, you know, a little more than that. 30 gallons. That's a lot the, so your hops are extremely expensive and then you're losing a bunch of your product.
So that, to me, that's why I'm like, I don't understand why people do this. Like it is just so, and then you can't, you know, we like to be very environmentally conscious and it's hard because like beer is such a water-intensive thing, but that's why we're trying to, you know, reuse our grains and you can't really reuse, um, the hops and it's like, it's deadly for dogs, so it's not even like, I can like, I'll dry it out and throw it. Yeah. It's like for animals. So it's just, you're like, Oh, okay, well, what do I do with junk now? And you're like, I guess I'll, you know, composted. That's, that's why sometimes I feel like people do not appreciate, you know, I have a lot of qualms with New England IPAs and the juice bombs, but it's like, but there still is. They are, they're taking a hit on that. So I don't know how they, aren't more expensive.
I, as like front of house bartender, server person, I've known, I've always known that hops were expensive, but I never knew how much of a loss you take on just like the water and like beer absorption. Wow. Next time, somebody at me about like, uh, charging $10.99 for an equilibrium IPA, I'm going to be like, do you know, how do you know how much water those hops soak up?
It feels like One time, um, we were in like wine country and, uh, you know, you do your little tickets for the tastings. And the last take was like a port. And, um, I did not like it. I'm not, I'm not a fan of port. I appreciate how it's made. I get that. But it was one of those and I did the like, I'm good. Those, do you know how long that takes to make? And I was like, I'm sorry, but I don't like it. And so now I feel like that when I'm just like, do you, this should be more expensive. Usually pay more for this beer.
Honestly. Another reason for you to die on the Hill of British style beers.
Okay. So you mentioned, you talked about bottle conditioning and the idea that like carbonation happens there in, in your homebrewing experience, are you able to talk to us a little bit about the process of forced carbonation? Because it seems like most commercial breweries, that's the practice of how they carbonate their beer
We finally, uh, it was at last year or the year before we finally got a kegerator. Um, so we're, we're doing that now. I'm doing the, doing the proper stuff. Um, also it just cuts down on my complainant. Like I just want a little bit of like, I don't, I don't want a whole camp. I just want a little bit. You're like, Oh, okay. Got it. So, yeah, so we have learned to do that. So with each recipe, you know, depending on the style and you know, the ingredients you've used because the grain you use can impact head retention. So it has to go with the style and you know, all of that and you know, someone like Folksbier always has that really strong head ppour it's it's, you know, it's part of the style, it's part of the process. It's beautiful. Um, so you have to play, you know, you don't want an effervescent stout.
It's a little more low key, same with a bitter, but you know, with a Pilsner or a lager, you maybe kick that up a little bit. So it is about managing the levels. So we carb our beers anywhere from three to four days. Again, we're rolling working with five gallons. Um, and then we kind of tested on day three or day four to see if it's, if we like that. Um, we, we, again, I love, I love the lessons that we're learning on a smaller scale so that when hopefully, you know, when, when we open hot plate doors, we can, I know we'll make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, but they won't be as costly, you know, learning on a smaller system, we left the gas on like, Oh, we have gas out. So we left like the whole time that we had the keg on we're like, why is it getting more bubbly?
And so it's like, by the end of the keg, it was just like all foam. And we're like, what? And then we ran through our gas tank. I think I'm like two, two different brews. And I'm like, this doesn't seem right. And then we're like, Oh yes, we weren't turning off the gas. So it was just continuing to put CO2 into the beer. So it would be like, if you took your soda stream and just continued pumping all day, still bubbly at the end. So that was a, that was a good lesson to learn because we were only working with a very small CO2 tank.
versus many many gallons that you have just over carbonated. Right. Interesting. Okay. So I feel like we've kind of gone through most of the process and of course, we're not going to talk about packaging because you don't package yet. Not yet.
Um, but now I just have a bunch of random questions that I want to ask you.
Can I just say about packaging, please? I used to be like, I just want growlers, like when Bierkraft was a thing, you know, you go get an amazing sandwich and you get a growler of something. And like, you know, Mike and I, we came from a party school. We're like, yeah, let's each get a growler. And that's what we're doing for the night, um, that we would drink it in a night, but there is some debate about whether getting a growler, you know, is good or not. And to me, it's something like, I mean, you're, it's one thing when you're commercial and you lose control of your product the minute it leaves your doors, because then you can have dirty lines. You can have, you know, you can't control the temperature. And then it's another thing. If you go to a bar or somewhere and get that filled up for your growler. Cause if you're like drinking, you know, it's probably best within 24 hours.
And someone's like, I don't feel like it. And then in three days they open it and it's gross. And you're like, well, this beer sucks. He was like, actually the beer doesn't suck. It's that, that process wasn't good. So I work also at Beer Witch and people are constantly coming in like, Oh, when your taps are open, are you guys going to do growlers? And we're like, no. So that's, that's one thing. And obviously you have crawlers with the cans. They last a little longer, but there's still that, that same problem. Um, and then obviously the debate between bottles and cans and there's cans shortage now. So it's, you know, there's a lot to the packaging that once you kind of crack that nut, you're like, Oh my gosh, there's there's there are so many decisions.
Thank you for bringing that up. Because I think as consumers we take for granted, like, Oh yeah, just it's a can of beer, but you're right. That it's a great point to bring up that, uh, product, as we spoken about that you work so many hours on and you spend so much money on, as soon as it gets poured shittily, maybe into a potentially crappy growler it's out of your control. And, and yet Untappd still exists and someone can go on and be like, f**k this beer, even though.
Yeah. So now I have a lot of random questions. I'm always wondering about you, you mentioned milk sugar, you mentioned lactose before. At what point in, you know, people love and people, people I think either love or hate lactose in a beer at what point does that come into play and is that meant to be a fermentable sugar? Is it meant to be for body
It's So there are a lot, there are a lot of things. This is a debate that my husband and I have have often, um, he started out very much as the, you know, the Reinhetsgebot the, you know, the German purity.... Like you do this, this is how it's done. And I'm much more of the Belgium mind of like, if it, you know, it tastes good, it is good, which is funny. Cause those are not our personalities at all. He's, he's the creative and I like work in Excel and I'm like, I love order. Let's make a list. Let's do bulleted emails. Um, so it's interesting that our brewing styles are very different. Um, I love, I love adding lactose. I love, I love it because to me it is about that mouthfeel. Um, and people say, you know, it gives you that cloudy feel.
Um, when Greenpoint was at its old location, they had a milk and honey beer and that's, that's where I fell in love with lactose, because I was like, I've, I've never, I've never felt this before. I've never tasted this before. And I think people do get it from new England. IPA's and I, that, to me, that's part of the popularity, but again, you can get that, you know, another way, um, oats and stuff. So he had oats and lactose for that, that, uh, mouthfeel. Um, and it does, you know, deal with understanding all of that. And so like my favorite beer that we make is one that I was like, again, cause I'm like, let's just be creative. Like I love to cook. So I'm like, Oh, let's just throw something in. There is, um, I would always drink tea, camomile tea with my grandmother.
Like, you know, when I was like six currently just sipping tea. Um, and I was like, I love camomile. I love how even I love really strong flavors. I still love how delicate that can be. So we did a camomile blonde ale and I was like, I want to add lactose to that. So it's, so it didn't feel like tea because tea can feel very thin.
And like astringent.
Exactly. So I'm like, I want it to like still feel nice in the mouth, but still just have a hint of that camomile . So I'm a strong proponent of lactose. Um, Mike is not, um, he is not that he hates it, but he's like, there's a time and place for it. And I understand that. Um, but I do, it is challenging because I am someone who I want, I want beer to be accessible to everyone. And I understand there's a large portion of people who don't drink beer for various reasons. They can't, they won't, you know, that there's a lot, there are a lot of reasons out there and you're already finding the gluten battle. So you add in lactose and that just, and I don't, I mean, maybe I'm assuming the science is out there of like, you're fine if you're lactose intolerant,
Right? Yeah. From what I've heard on, on like a commercial scale per pint or per glass that you consume, like it's not gonna do anything to you, but it's definitely,
I think, I think, yeah, when you don't know that it's like, you still see that and you're like, Ooh, well, I can't have that. It's like, Oh, well, okay. You know? And so to me, it's always challenging because I want to be someone who puts all the ingredients out there so that everyone can know because that's, that's what I'd want to know. Um, but I feel like it can turn some people off because they don't understand what that means. They think it can impact them negatively or something like that. So I think there's, um, I don't know. I'm just, I'm just someone like, I want, I want everyone to have access to this and I feel like sometimes that turns people off
I'm with you on the accessibility. And I, I think that the idea of lactose itself you're right. Can turn people off. But I think that the resulting smoothness is almost the opposite. It's like gets people in and it gets them on board. Um, but like you're adding the milk sugar
During the boil the way in the beginning. Yeah. Great.
Thank you. That's I've always like thought I understood that. Um, as far as non-alcoholic beers, how do they do that?
It's, it's a long process. Again, it's one of those things that like, it's a very expensive process because you're making the beer. And then as far as I know, you're kind of, you know, in simplest terms you're making the beer and then you're taking you you're reprocessing it to take the alcohol out. Um, so it was kind of what I've read about is kind of in the idea of like making seltzers and all that and like what you'll kind of, what, what were the new trends of stuff? Um, and so I don't, I, again, I don't understand how people who brew and there aren't that many who were not nonalcoholic at a large scale. Um, but how they do that and then how they're able to make it affordable. So that's just, it's mind boggling.
That's something that I'm going to, I honestly have never even thought about like the process and how they do it and have just taken for granted like, Oh, that's a thing. And I don't really care. So, uh, Google for us all. Hearing you talk about getting into home brewing and starting the eventual, like brick and mortar of Hot Plate. I just have a couple more questions. What are you looking forward to most about like brewing on your own commercial system? Um,
I think it's part of being able to just share with people, being able to create something. Um, I love working with my hands, being able to create and knowing that your work is going into someone else's hands up, that's someone else's body. I mean, that's a huge that you'd like you think about, you're like, I am making something for you to ingest that. Like that's just bananas when you get to the base of it. Wow. You know, it's just like, Ooh, that's a, that's a big ask. That's a big ask. Cause like, you know, I do a lot of work with like brand trust. Like, so you just go into any bar, any brewery, you don't know that. And you trust that you're going to put that into your body. That's on a basic level being part of a community and providing something, you know, like you're manufacturing something, you're welcoming people into your home that you've built because you want to let them have a time.
You, you know, me, there is a part of me that like, I always love the, uh, we used to have tickets toThe Nets and like, I would always love proposals when there were proposals. And my husband's like, why do you want that? I'm like, I don't know. I don't like, I don't know, but I would always like, Ooh. So it's like, you hope that you have someone like meet at the brewery. It's just like you think about, um, there's a research agency I used to work for and they, the two founders, both from England, but they were both working in Brooklyn and just one of the local breweries, like that's where they would go to grab drinks. And that's where they thought of the idea to come up with their own company. And not like now they're thriving. And so it's just like these ideas that come these, you know, you share things with people, you, um, you, you know, and if it's not, you know, if it's a negative thing you're sitting there and you're thinking about what happened or anything like that. I just, I can't wait to share this with people and hopefully positively be part of people's life and then have, you know, have be able to have the tentacles to be, to provide good for the community, to help out with community things, have community meetings, you know, at, at the brewery. Um, and just be there for people, be a welcoming place for people and just know that like there's always a home at Hot Plate
That's beautiful. That really just speaks to so many things to me as an actor first, like it's all about stories and that's exactly what you just said. Not only the story that you'll be sharing about you and Mike as people and as brewers, but the stories that people are going to make in your brewery. I love it! Sarah, I feel like there are 40 million more questions that I want to ask you, but we're just going to have to say that for another day.
Sounds good. And you can come at the brewery, you know?
Yes. At the time of recording, it is currently Passover. And during Passover, we say next year in Jerusalem, but on this podcast, we're going to go ahead and say next year at Hot Plate.
I love that.
Well, that's a perfect way to take us out. However, my tradition is for you to take us out with your favorite toast. So Sarah Real out of Hot Plate Beer Co. and Beer Witch and Nickelodeon and Brooklyn,
all the things, all of the things.
take us out.
I generally don't have a cheers. I'm like the cheers person, but I am going to steal one that one time we were visiting some friends. And I think that they had the most perfect cheers ever. And it was "to all non-European capitol cities." That was it. And then everybody clinked their glass. And I was like that. That's amazing. That's anchor of a cheers. So to all non-European Capitol Cities
To all Non-European capitol cities. Thank you so much, Sarah. This was amazing. Thank you.
That was great.
Okay. But what about how much water hops soak up Exsqueeze me!? I will definitely be thinking about that. The next time I crack open a DDH hazy boy. You know what I mean? It was such a joy to interview Sarah, and to hear all about the trial and error, the creativity and the joy that go into homebrewing. I for one am so excited for the day that I can roll up to the hot plate tap room, leave my baggage on the luggage rack at the door and enjoy a brew that Sarah and Mike have put their hearts into, especially if it's a traditional, British style of beer. If you want to stay in the loop about Sarah and Mike's process with hot plate, go ahead and follow them on Instagram @hotplatebeer and head to their website, hotplatebeer.com To get on their mailing list.
Thank you so much to Sarah for taking the time to talk to me. We met by chance earlier this year on a Brooklyn Girls Pint Out Zoom happy hour event, and God am I so glad we did. Thank you as always to Megan Bagala for our booty shakin music and to Sabrina Rain at The Hoppiest Shop for our graphics and as always, thank you for listening. Thank you for being here. Thank you for continuing to like rate five stars and review. I so appreciate it. I will be back next week with a, another story of a bad ass professional in the beer world. In the meantime, I'll see you over on that old Instagram at brews with broads. I love you so much of your friends. I'll talk to you next week, byeeeeee.