Project Extreme Brewing: Charlie Papazian

Project Extreme Brewing: Charlie Papazian

Sam: After hanging out and brwing with a
bunch of different brewers for “Project Extreme Brewing, I noticed that there was one thing
that we all seemed to have in common. It’s that we all started on some sort of janky
system in a kitchen or a garage. After countless errors and many iterations
of equipment we have each evolved into the brewers that we are today.
Sam: You can make a great beer with just four ingredients: barley, hops, water, and yeast. But to make an extreme beer, those four ingredients
put together the same old way isn’t enough. This is Project Extreme Brewing. Sam: With me today is an old friend and literally a legend in the homebrewing community, Charlie
Papazian. We’ll be brewing one of the more popular recipes
from his famous book “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.” Maybe the popularity also comes from the name,
Goat Scrotum Ale. So we got mashed in, we got a little bit of
time, what does a brewer do between mashing and boiling usually? Charlie: Relax, don’t worry. Have a brew. Sam: A brew. The beer that we’re brewing with you today
is one of your sort of most recognized recipes that’s come for you from history, and really
a groundbreaking recipe, cheers– Charlie: Cheers, Sam. Sam: — which is pretty damn dark in color,
as well. Charlie: Yes, it is. Sam: Talk to us about this brew that we’re
brewing today and the genesis of the recipe and the genesis of the name. Charlie: Well, “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing,”
my book– Sam: That’s the one that got me started on
my brewing career. Charlie: — and the most popular– there’s
about four or five really popular recipes in that book and one of them is this black
porter that has a good story. It was start–
Sam: Yeah. Oh, do tell. Do tell. Charlie: It started out as a black porter. I was in the mid ’70s, I was teaching homebrew
classes, and we migrate to the kitchen, we start brewing. Every week we grew a batch of beer. And that week, we were brewing a dark beer,
the porter. The people who liked beer were desperate for
good beer. Sam:Yeah. Charlie: And the only way you could get good
beer was to make it yourself. Sam: DIY. Charlie: That was the impetus for making homebrew. Sam: Early human brewers were super adventurous, not bound by tradition but only by their local terroir, what grew under the lands they lived, on and creativity. Charlie: We go to the kitchen, we put the
ingredients together, our method– mytholo– methodology in those days was pretty primitive and we put all the specialty grains in a cheesecloth bag and immersed it in the malt extract and the water and just let it steep for a while. And while we’re drinking beer and another
beer and another beer, you know, someone noticed that the spice cabinet was right above the
kitchen stove. Sam: Ooh, I like a good spice cabinet. Charlie: And boom, you know, Pandora’s wonderful
box. Sam:
Charlie: And oh, cinnamon. Oh, little– have a little allspice in there. Yeah. Oh, what’s that cayenne pepper doing up there? Oh-oh, so we start putting all these spices
in there. It was like the–
Sam: Nice. And so the decisions were made to add these
culinary ingredients. And that’s, of course, you know, I read your
book and this recipe stood out for me when I was a 23-year-old dreaming of opening my
own brewery. And it was definitely informed my journey
where I said, “Let’s make Dogfish Head focused on making the majority of our beers with culinary
ingredients outside the Reinheitsgebot.” So I had the perspective of having that book
in front of me. You didn’t have anything like that–
Charlie: Oh, no. No perspective. Sam: — in your front windshield when you
were making these– Charlie: We didn’t even know what Reinheitsgebot
meant. Sam: Right. Charlie: That wasn’t even in our–
Sam: It was like God bless you. Charlie: That wasn’t the– yeah, gesundheit. Sam:
Charlie: It might as well have been gesundheit. Sam: Right. Charlie: This brewery here, what’s missing
is a spice rack right over because that was what inspired us. Sam: Hey, we actually do. Our food truck probably has its own spice
rack. Charlie: Aww, let’s check it out. Sam: Maybe do an audible. We’ll add something in addition. Sam: Whoa, that could be interesting. What else do you like in it? Charlie: Green peppercorns. Charlie: Yeah, I mean– Sam: We’re taking all three. Charlie: Yeah, I mean. Sam: I think we’re taking all three. All right, success. Charlie: If you’re listening to us speak right
now and you’re probably taking it for granted that, well, spices, I mean was always around. But we were just discovering it. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: That was probably the first time. Sam: What’s that– what was the feeling like
as a collective? Charlie: We were having a good time. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: I mean we were– we have had a few
home brews under our belt. Sam: Yes, you did. Charlie: And that’swhat we’re having,
the passion for having good time and enjoying good flavored beers and collaborating, the
whole foundation of a what’s happening in America and started out–
Sam: Your living room was like a microcosm of that collaborative culture that’s still
vibrant in the indie craft movement in America today. Charlie: Because we had to rely on ourselves. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: We had to rely on sharing information. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: Even in those days before Internet
and fax, you know, it was pretty primitive. It was word of mouth. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: It was word and conversations and
helping each other kind of make better beer. Sam: Tell me about the part of your creative journey where you went from a written syllabus–
Charlie: Yeah. Sam: — from class into writing the bible
of homebrew. Charlie: I had all this information because
my homebrew classes taught me how to brew because we were brewing every week. So I was teaching myself and I published,
self-published a 76 page “Joy of Brewing.” Sam: First, was it called joy of home brewing
or brewing? Charlie: “Joy of Brewing,” the first one was
“Joy of Brewing.” Sam: Yeah. Charlie: Yup. Sam: I like the sound of that. Charlie: We started a batch of beer. We’d never had the name. Sam: Was that part of the fun, waiting until
you had a home brew or two in you? Charlie: Yeah. Yeah. Something inspired us–
Sam: Yeah. Yeah. Charlie: — all the times to name these beers. And here we were just ready to take the grains
out of the wort and get all of that goodness– Sam: You mean the cheesecloth–
Charlie: The cheese– yeah. Sam: — full of specialty grains? Charlie: Yup. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: People were saying, “Whoa, man. There’s a lot of good stuff in there still. Let’s– how are we going to get it out?” And then we started to squeeze the bag. Sam: Sack and… Charlie: It was part of the fun part, process. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: And one woman says, “You know what
that looks like?” Sam: Yeah, what? Charlie: “It looks like a goat scrotum.” Sam: She said the sack of grains–
Charlie: You look like a goat– Sam: — look like a goat scrotum. Charlie: A goat scrotum–
Sam: Is an epiphany moment? Charlie: It says, “Goat Scrotum Ale.” Sam:
Charlie: And soit was obvious what we are going to name that beer and it became
a legendary beer. Sam: Goat Scrotum Ale was born. Sam: Being reborn today, cheers. Well, I’m glad we’re doing this. We should go back and check in on Amanda and
see how the Goat Scrotum is evolving. Charlie: Let’s do it.
Sam: We pop back into brewing just in time to help Amanda add the ingredients we pilfered
from our food truck. Juniper berries, bay leaves, green peppercorns,
rosemary, and cranberries all went into the cheesecloth bag then into the boil. What do you think of the concept of extreme
brewing? How would you define the sort of outside the
box brewing in your history with it? Charlie: Yeah, it’s tied to the time and place. Because in those days, when we were making
basically English style pale ales and porters– Sam: That was extreme. Charlie: — that was extreme. It’s a beer that’s not only unusual out of
the realm of what you usually brew, but it’s a beer that assaults the palate and assaults
the senses. But it’s an assault on the sensibility of
what is normal. Sam: Yeah, it’s supposed to be challenging. It’s challenging but that’s a beautiful thing. That’s why we should have all these different
beers that we now have. The world’s biggest brewing conglomerates
tried to convince us through marketing of the oh no, we just need one beer. Right? Charlie: Mm-hm. Sam: And where do you think extreme beer goes
from here? In 2017, where will the young brewers from
around the world, adventurous brewers take extreme? Where could you see extreme a decade from
now? Charlie: I think we missed the boat on one
aspect of brewing. Sam: What’s that? Charlie: That I think we will–
Sam: Circle back on? Charlie: — circle back on to or is the basic,
the soul of beer and that’s the malt, the grain build, fermentable carbohydrates. Sam: Yeah. Charlie: I think that is yet to be explored. Sam: Yeah. Yeah. I accept the challenge. We’ll do something fun with that. Charlie: Yeah. It’s an– you know, and I don’t have any answers
but we never had answers for things we didn’t know about. Sam: Ooh, I like that. Charlie: And here we are drinking a black
IPA. Sam: I like that.
Sam: So it was great having Charlie Papazian, literally the patriarch of not just the craft
brewing movement but the American homebrewing renaissance here at our brewery, to brew one
of his quintessentially extreme beers with us. And this one, it’s not just the greatest of
all time, it is Goat Scrotum Ale. It’s so perfect that this is the beer we got
to brew with Charlie because if you look at the craft brewing world and how the American
craft brewers have really, you know, redefined what beer can be and jumped lovingly
and adventurously outside the Reinheitsgebot, and brought so many culinary opportunities
into the world of commercial beer, our movement started as an outgrowth of the first phase
of the American homebrewing movement. So when homebrewing started in America it
started in these little kitchens. And what’s in every kitchen in America? A spice rack, so it made perfect sense that
this first generation of intrepid homebrewers looked around their kitchen while they were
brewing with their friends and not only shared ideas and laughs with their friends, but shared
opportunities for other ingredients to go into those beers. And so what does it taste like, Goat Scrotum
Ale? Oh, wow. So it is spicy and malty. Of the special ingredients that we added to
it, I would say that juniper is very far forward. It has a really nice sort of earthy, woodsy
character. I think I get a little bit of the oatmeal
cookies that we crumbled into there and just a general sense of spice. And when you breathe it in you kind of feel
like you’re on an awesome hike through the forest on a snowy day. Sam: So if you’re homebrewer or an aspiring homebrewer who wants to really explore your
creative side, I urge you to go out and buy “Project Extreme Brewing” or whatever indie
bookstore you shop at or at We were really proud to do this project and
this book with my homies Todd and Jason Alstrom of the Beer Advocate. Respect beer. Respect extreme beer. Cheers.

9 thoughts on “Project Extreme Brewing: Charlie Papazian”

  1. amazing!
    A lot of knowledge in these two person. Videos like this are an inspiration.

    Sam, we have a 2.5 BBL Brewery. One day we will go visit DFH!

  2. Spices are not that special tho, they were used way before hops, also a lot of Belgian beers still use different spices.

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