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The perfect keg. Filled with perfect beer. A symphony of flavors in the mouth. The right blend of sweet and bitter. The fluid in that keg represents a year’s work. Actually brewing it took a few weeks. But to make it truly the perfect keg, Ian Coutts had to go right back to fundamentals. This beer didn’t start with a beer-making kit, which is what most homebrewers use. And it didn’t rely on pre-roasted industrial malt, which is how commercial brewers big and small do it. Coutts made his own malt, aerating wet barley with an aquarium bubbler and blasting it with a hair dryer. Of course, to do that he needed barley. So he grew his own. Hops, too. Yeast, he went out and captured. And that's it. With this beer, the only additives are knowledge and history. There were plenty of adventures, misadventures, and missteps along the way, but Ian writes about them with humor and aplomb, including his own recipes and those of people he worked with in the brewing process, proving it’s possible to make the perfect keg of wholly natural beer in one year.
Ian Coutts is the author of several books, including Dadzooks and Brew North. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.