A Taste of Mid-World: Graf

Posted on: July 27th, 2011 by Anthony Rapino 17 Comments

Many of you who frequent my site know that  I’ve added yet another hobby to my list of growing obsessions: Home Brewing.  As autumn draws closer, my interests tend to all collide as I determine the best way to inject Halloween and fall into every last minute of my day.  Lucky for me, homebrew was an easy fix.  Not only am I planning to brew Moon Hill Pumpkin Ale (a recipe of my own design and a beer to appear in my next novel), but I have also brewed a batch of Graf, which is a malted apple beer, or according to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: A Concordance, Volume 1 By Robin Furth, “Strong Apple Beer.”

Before I move on, a shocking confession: I have never read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.  Oh don’t look at me like that.  I’ve been busy.  Well, actually, I did read The Gunslinger over a decade ago.  It wasn’t what I expected, which is to say it wasn’t King’s usual horror, and I wasn’t ready for it.

Nevertheless, it came to my attention that this drink, this Graf (or as some have come to spell it, Graff), is a drink straight out of King’s Mid-World.  Though I may not have read the series yet (oh, you know I will), I found it an irresistible combination of a fall-time drink (hard cider), horror (Stephen King), and beer (caramel malt, torrified wheat, and cascade hops).  Does torrified wheat become terrified wheat when added to King’s Graf?  Har de har har.  *Rim shot.*

I brewed my Graf this past weekend, which means in three weeks I can bottle and in another three weeks to a month, I can drink it.  This was my first go-around with my new glass carboy as well.  It’s a lot of fun to finally be able to watch as the yeast eat up all the tasty sugars, burping out CO2 and peeing alcohol.  What a sight.

At some point I may even try to brew some Lord of the Rings inspired ale, but until then, I have a pumpkin ale to think of.

*Graff label design is the work of Greencoat from Homebrewtalk.com

**I did not brew the “Captain Greencoat” recipe found on the above link.  I brewed Brandon O’s Graff.

***I don’t have a label design for my Graff or my Moon Hill Pumpkin Ale.  Should I hold some sort of label design contest?

 

17 Responses

  1. Sounds like you’re having such fun with the home brewing. My brother-in-law was doing that for a while. Not sure why he stopped. I seem to remember a little accident involving exploding beer. Hmm, maybe my sister made him quit.

    There’s a beer making shop near our house and whenever we drive by, the kids read the sign, “Make Beer. Turn Here.” Kinda catchy. 🙂

    • Yeah, bottle bombs do happen. I haven’t had one yet, but even if you do everything right (didn’t over-carb, let fermentation go till completion, etc), all it takes is a chipped bottle and a rise in temperature. BOOM!

      I like that slogan. 🙂 “Make Beer. Turn Here.”

  2. 2 things.

    1) Read the DARK TOWER!!! NOW!!!

    2) Give me some of that Graff!!! NOW!!!

    Please? 🙂

    • 1) Well…okay.
      2) You got it! Hey, if I ever actually get to one of these horror conventions, I’ll bring some brews along if you bring some mead. 🙂

  3. Katey says:

    Oh man, best hobby ever. My husband and I keep talking about getting into home brewing (we sure drink enough beer to make it seem like an economical decision…), but we just don’t have the space for it in an apartment, sadly. Some day. Some daaaaay.

    Graff sounds awesome. I love hard cider in the fall, and it just sounds like a badass take on that. I’m all for literary inspired brew, anyhow.

    (My editor and I actually just invented a beer for use in my romance novels, since I’m not supposed to use real ones, lest I give out free advertising or, like, associate them with a romance novel and piss them off. I got my aunt to design labels. I’m having waaaaay too much fun with this imaginary beer. You know it’ll be the first thing I try to brew.)

    • You can probably do extract brewing in the apartment setting. You can do that on the stove and really just need a closet or corner where you can leave the bucket. I’m not pushing you to do it, I swear. 😉

  4. DRC says:

    It’s such a shame I live across the water – or is it a blessing in disguise? If I knew where you lived, I’d be over there sampling your beer…lol. I’ve never considered the different recipes, and pumpkin ale sounds intriguing.

    You do realise if you hold a label contest you would be forcing me to participate. The twist you have my arm in is pretty painful at the moment.

    And once you’ve finished doing what you need to do for your brew, go out and read the Dark Tower series. Read it! READ IT!!! 🙂

    • I wish everyone could come by for a brew! It’d be a hell of a party. 🙂

      I’m still considering that contest. The only problem is I have no idea what to give away if I do. I’ll give it a think.

  5. Indigo says:

    *Wipes brow* Wicked relieved I’m not the only one that never got into King’s Dark Tower series. Maybe someday. I found it to be more fantasy than horror. I like my horror a bit too much to waver much.

    Kind of sad, considering I’ve read everything King’s written ‘but’ that.

    Sounds like you’re having a blast with the home-brewing. Is it cheaper in the long run after the initial bottling cost? (Hugs)Indigo

    • Yeah, that’s what turned me off. I wasn’t into fantasy and was expecting horror.

      It is (cheaper) and it isn’t. Really it depends on what kind of beer you normally buy. If you go out and get cheap Coors 12 packs, then no, you probably don’t save much by brewing your own. If you buy $10 6-packs of craft beer, then yes, you save a bit of money. Of course if you factor in the initial equipment costs, it takes a while to make that back. Also, some people like to factor in their “time spent brewing” as money, but I enjoy it, so I don’t.

      Doing extract and partial mash brews (which is what I currently do) it can cost anywhere from $18-$40 for the ingredients to make 2 cases. If you move to all grain brewing, it’s cheaper for ingredients, but there’s more equipment to purchase.

      Probably more info than you wanted. :–p

      • Indigo says:

        Plenty of information. Then again, you obviously know your stuff. This is probably something you haven’t thought on, but any NA versions planned in the future? Of course most frown on NA saying if you’re going through all the trouble you may as well make it alcoholic. Why yes, I’m a pot stirrer. How did you know? (Hugs)Indigo

        • I haven’t thought of brewing non-alcoholic beer. I’m not really sure how to go about it either; seems like it’d be a lot of extra work. Funny thing about me is when I drink, I really only have 1 or 2 beers, and it’s usually in a casual setting. In other words, I’m not drinking to get drunk, which is why brewing my own is so much fun for me: I like tasting different styles. So no, I probably wouldn’t bother doing NA since I only drink a couple at a time anyway. But you *have* got me curious now, and you know I’ll be giving Google a work out.

  6. Barry Napier says:

    That’s a great idea. You should mail this post to the mod over at King’s website. They are always looking for stuff like this.

    Yes, I agree with several above…you MUST read the Dark Tower!

  7. Laurita says:

    Where do I even begin. Pumpkin Ale sounds sinfully good. I don’t know how you have the patience to sit and wait, and wait, and wait some more. I’d be sloshed on half finished beer. Or not sloshed at all. I’m not sure how it works.

    • If you waited at least one week, you’d be sloshed on nasty, flat, warm beer with lots of yeast and trub (gunk) still floating around in it. :-p The waiting was intolerable during the first brew, but once you have a batch or two bottled and drinkable, waiting for new batches is *a lot* easier.

      • Laurita says:

        In that case, waiting sounds good. 🙂

  8. That beer sounds delicious… 🙂 good post, Tony. And as for The Dark Tower series, I’ve not yet read it either, however a small tale from the MC in Everythings Eventual made me want to pick the series up toot sweet. 😀

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