For our wedding, we brewed our own beer to serve to guests during the reception. We got the idea from a super wedding we attended a couple of years ago. The idea of having personalised wedding beer was just too cool.
We’ve brewed our own beer a few times before, but we’ve never found the results very satisfying.
But Stewart Brewing’s facilities are clearly superior to either our own equipment at home, or any of the other brew-your-own experiences we’ve tried before.
Up to four people can join in, so we brought our friends Lucy and Richard along to help. From Stewart Brewing, Vinnie was on hand to help us. He is a knowledgeable student of Heriot-Watt University’s brewing course.
We decided to brew a black IPA. We wanted to make something slightly unconventional, yet that a lot of people would still like to drink.
Vinnie kept us right as we chose and weighed out the ingredients.
Later, it was time to smell the hops and choose which ones would go in. Vinnie was more hands-off here, and we more or less chose the hops we wanted — which were mostly from the US.
While the beer was brewing…
…we sterilised the inside of the barrels by playing some football with them.
Then it was time to whisk the yeast.
Then it was the moment of truth. Of course, the beer wasn’t alcoholic yet… but it tasted OK.
After a few weeks, it was time for us to bottle the beer. This time, it was Alex’s parents who came to help us.
There were four jobs per bottle, which was handy given that there were four of us.
After rinsing the bottles, you must first of course pour the beer.
Secondly, the bottle needs to be wiped clean and dried.
Then, you must place the cap on the bottle.
Finally, the trickiest bit — labelling.
We’d designed some great labels using one of the photos that our wedding photographer Claire Fleck had taken on our engagement photoshoot.
We brewed around 80 litres, and we anticipated making 144 500ml bottles. In the event, we were one short. Perhaps we poured ourselves a little too much during the course of the afternoon!
We were delighted that the beer tasted great. We knew we would be proud to serve this to our wedding guests.
At the wedding, the beer appeared to go down a storm, despite its slightly unconventional nature. When we came back from getting our photos taken, one person said he’d had four.