Brewing Alex & Duncan Black IPA — our wedding beer

Bottles of Alex & Duncan Black IPA at our wedding

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.

On the suggestion of our wedding bar, Solid Liquids / the Phoenix, we chose to brew it at Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen.

Brewing

Stewart Brewing

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.

Me and Richard brewing beer

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.

Measuring out the barley

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.

Pouring barley

Lucy grinding

Vinnie with some gloop

Vinnie kept us right as we chose and weighed out the ingredients.

Alex measuring out the hops

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.

Alex prodding a giant teabag full of barley and stuff

Lucy stirring

While the beer was brewing…

Alex playing football to sterilise the containers

…we sterilised the inside of the barrels by playing some football with them.

Whisking the yeast

Then it was time to whisk the yeast.

Me drinking beer from a test tube

Then it was the moment of truth. Of course, the beer wasn’t alcoholic yet… but it tasted OK.

Pouring yeast in

Bottling

Other people's beers on display

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.

Alex pouring the beer into the bottle

After rinsing the bottles, you must first of course pour the beer.

Chris inspecting the bottle

Secondly, the bottle needs to be wiped clean and dried.

Alex putting the bottle tops on

Then, you must place the cap on the bottle.

Beer labels

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!

Transporting crates of beer

We were delighted that the beer tasted great. We knew we would be proud to serve this to our wedding guests.

Wedding guest enjoying our beer

Photo by Cat Morley

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.

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