Graduation on Tap

By Magazine Staff  |  Photos courtesy of Greg Bissonette, '05

To celebrate earning his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland at Baltimore last year, Greg Bissonette, ’05, concocted a brew he named Graduation Libation 1. This spring, in honor of his fiancée’s Ph.D. graduation, he made a new beer: Graduation Libation 2.

Brewing is a hobby he came by naturally.

“My very first memory as a kid is helping my father bottle beer in the basement,” said the Verbank, N.Y., native, who lives in Baltimore’s Ridgely’s Delight neighborhood. “I got into it when I left college and started grad school.”

Bissonette’s interest in brewing and cooking also led him to become co-editor of a blog where he shares recipes and brewing tips.

Graduation Libation No. 2

(5-gallon all-grain recipe, for readers 21 and older)

6 lb. white wheat malt (thick, hearty mouthfeel, tangy wheat taste)
6 lb. German Pilsner malt (makes up most of the fermentable sugars)
1.5 lb. US 6-row malt (extra diastic enzymes to help convert complex sugars to simple ones, makes it easier on the yeast!)
1 lb. carapil malt (to help create that giant, pillowy white head classic to the style)
1 lb. vienna malt (to provide a hint of nuttiness and a slight tint of red)
0.5 lb. Crystal 40 (to provide a slighty tint of brown, a hint of roasted malt flavor and a touch of caramel)
1 oz. German Hallertau hops (pellets) (they help preserve the beer from infections, add a touch of bitterness to balance the sweetness of the malt/residual sugars)
2 oz. sweet orange rind (for extra orange flavor!)
WLP380 Hefeweizen IV yeast (1.5L starter) (Ferment the sugars! And makes up a major component of the flavor/aroma, warmer fermentation provides a more banana flavor/aroma, cooler provides a more clove flavor/aroma, and a middle fermentation balances these two flavors/aromas.

Two days before brewing, make your starter. In a 2L flask, combine 150g of Dry Malt Extract (DME) with 1.5L water (makes a 1.04 gravite fluid) and a touch of yeast nutrient, along with vial of yeast. Add to stirplate and allow to stir at room temp until you need to pitch the yeast (top should get slightly frothy after a few hours, indicating active yeast!)

Brewday: Mash grains at 122-125F for 30 minutes, then raise temperature and mash at 155F for 60 minutes. The lower temperature mash allows complex proteins to be broken down, providing extra texture, mouthfeel, and material for good head and good head retention. Rinse grains and and drain the liquor into a large pot, bringing the volume up to around 6.5 gallons to account for boiloff and trub (leftover ‘stuff’ at the end of the boil). Boil 70 minutes, adding 0.25oz hops every 15 minutes, and in the final 15 minutes, add the orange rind.

Cool down, and pitch yeast once wort is 75F. Wait five days, transfer to secondary for three days. Transfer to keg and carbonate to 3.5 atmospheres pressure for at least three days, at 40F before serving.

Serve in tall wheat beer glass, and enjoy!

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