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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
Assistant Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Home brewing your own beer

A 24-pack of Miller Lite costs about $16, a 12-pack of Blue Moon about $13 and a six-pack of Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat will cost about $7. A lot of people just deal with these prices as a part of life, but not NMU student Adam Reitz – he can brew delicious beer on his own, all for about 75 cents a pint.

“It’s great,” Reitz said. “I’ve made some beer that I’ve really enjoyed. It’s a lot of fun, as well.”

Brewing beer is one of the oldest traditions known to man – early archeological records show that ancient peoples practiced brewing as far back as 8,000 years ago. This brewing continues strong today.

According to the American Homebrewing Association, about 9 million six-packs of beer are homebrewed annually.

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Reitz said he initially became interested in brewing because of a Christmas present.

“My girlfriend got me a book for Christmas on brewing, so I went out and got the equipment I needed,” he said. “The good thing about most of the stores is that a lot of the employees are really knowledgeable.”

Since then, Reitz said he has made four batches of beer, including an oatmeal stout, a cherry honey wheat and a raspberry wheat, most of which came from recipes that he designed himself.

“The oatmeal stout was the best. It was a real hit,” he said.

Reitz said that locally, he goes to White’s Party Store on Third Street to get homebrewing supplies. He said he spent about $80 to get all of the initial equipment.

Former NMU student Kevin Baker works at White’s. He said every year the store sees a new group of college-aged students get involved.

The store carries all the equipment and supplies that people who are starting to brew would need. The store also sells starter kits, which Baker said are a good investment.

“We sell kits for $69.99 and that includes [equipment] you will need. It’s a bit of an initial investment, but it is way cheaper than just buying everything separately,” he said. “It’s just a better investment to buy everything at once.”

Baker recommended that people who are brewing their first beer should start with a prepackaged kit. The kits, which retail for about $35, include the ingredients needed to brew a specific style of beer.

“With these kits, they make it so easy. It’s like making mac and cheese,” Baker said. “The only thing you have to be meticulous about is sanitizing your equipment.”

Reitz said he agrees with Baker’s assessment of the kits.

“It’s definitely easy,” he said. “You just throw everything in and follow the directions that come with the kit.”

After getting used to brewing with a kit, most people move on to mixing and matching their own recipes. This is something that both Reitz, a relatively new brewer, and Baker, who has been brewing for seven years, have incorporated into their brewing.

“The first beer that I brewed was a robust porter from a kit,” Baker said. “Once you get started brewing and make a few beers from the kits you can move on and start mixing up your own recipes and experimenting with different things.”

Baker said one of the biggest problems he sees new brewers face is that they expect their beer to taste like it was store bought. For example, Baker said, a brewer can buy a kit to produce an Irish stout. If the brewer goes into the process thinking that his/her Irish stout will be exactly like Guiness they are likely to be disappointed.

He said this is because every variable in brewing has an impact on the final color, taste and feel of the beer.

“There’s a lot of variables,” Baker said. “For example, you might go out and buy an American I.P.A. and think that it is going to taste like Sierra Nevada I.P.A. So you go and brew it, but what you might not realize is that the water here in Marquette is different than the water they use. Small things like that can make a big difference.”

All in all though, Baker said he loves home brewing because it allows him to make a cheap beer that is unique to him.

“The best beer I’ve ever had was homebrew,” he said. “I’ve been brewing for seven years and I’ve gotten to a point where I can make a great beer for about 75 cents a pint. The best part is I’m making something that you can’t buy in the store.”

He added that his homebrewing experiences have changed his tastes in beer greatly.

“I’m big into beer, but because I have homebrew at home, commercial beer doesn’t excite me,” he said. “I know that I always have great beer waiting at home.”

India Pale Ale

5 Gallon Recipe (OG 1.062)
77 percent System Efficiency
33 Carbohydrates per16oz
286 Calories per16oz
5.9 percent Alcohol By Volume

9.75 pounds Crisp Marris Otter Pale Malt
1 pound Carapils/Dextrine
0.5 pound Caramel/Crystal Malt 60L
0.5 pound Caravienne Malt
1 ounce Northern Brewer Hops (60 min)
1.5 ounces Centennial Hops (20 min)
0.5 ounces Centennial Hops (2 min)
1 vial White Labs European Ale Yeast

Mash Schedule
153 degrees for 60 minutes
168 degrees for 10 minutes

Dry Irish Stout

5 Gallon Recipe (OG 1.059)
77 percent System Efficiency
29 Carbohydrates per 16oz
266 Calories per 16oz
5.8 percent ABV

7.9 pounds Beeson’s Marris Otter
3 pounds Flaked Barley
1.2 pounds Roasted Barley
1 ounce Northern Brewer Hops (60 min)
1 ounce Kent Goldings Hops (60 min)
1 teaspoon Irish Moss (10 min)
1 Vial White Labs Irish Ale Yeast
0.5 ounce Oak Chips in Secondary Fermenter
20cc 88 percent Lactic Acid at Bottling

Mash Schedule
153 degrees for 60 minutes
168 degrees for 10 minutes

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