So here is the graf I talked about brewing.
Graf is a fictional beverage made up by Stephen King for the Dark Tower series. It is an “apple beer”, brewed with apples and malt using (I would imagine) both beer and cider brewing techniques and ingredients. Of course, King doesn’t give a lot of details. It’s the most popular drink in the Dark Tower world and can range from lightly alcoholic to quite potent.
A number of people who live in the internet have tried brewing it up, using the few details provided by King and their own imaginations, and reported their results and recipes.
This is my version.
Depending on how you go about it, it can be more beer-like or more cider-like. Mine leans heavily toward cider and is not hopped. Hop bitterness combined with the tartness that results from brewing apples doesn’t sound good to me, though I’m just guessing. I lightly spiced it, however, with fresh ginger root, coriander seed, orange peel, and chamomile flowers.
For the cereals, I used caramel malt and oats. Caramel malt is just barley seeds that have been cooked in such a way that the starches inside convert to sugars. It is then cooked further to darken and caramelize. It can range from light to dark in color, with the darker being, of course, more caramelized. I used medium, one and a half ounces, cracked open with a rolling pin to get at the sugary goodness within. The oats I used only an ounce, standard rolled oats. They won’t contribute much in the way of flavor, but will thicken the liquid, improving the mouthfeel. They will make the final brew creamier, in other words. Neither will provide much in the way of fermentables. Some will be provided by the malt, but mostly those sugars can’t be eaten by yeast because of the way they’ve been cooked, so should provide a caramelly sweetness (hopefully not too much) in the final brew.
I simply took these cereals, put them in a quart of water, raised the temp to 160 and held them there, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Christ, it smelled delicious. I strained them and pressed out some of the water still in the wet grains.
The rest (apart from the spices) is just apples. One half gallon of unfiltered organic apple juice, one can of frozen organic apple juice concentrate. In my last batch of cider I used a filtered apple juice. This stuff is very cloudy and also has more sugar in it, which should boost the alcohol (my last batch was, I felt, about 1.5% to 2% too low in alcohol).
For the spice I just made a tea: a teaspoon of fresh shredded ginger root, a teaspoon of coriander seed (which I also cracked open), a two-inch piece of orange peel with the white pith cut off, a teaspoon of chamomile flowers. I poured a cup of boiling water over all this and let it steep for fifteen minutes, then strained. It smelled delicious, too.
My water, I guess I should say, was all mostly R/O, about 75% R/O water to 25% tap. I have found that this greatly improves the flavors of all my brews, including the green tea I drink almost constantly.
I put all of these liquids in the jug you see along with yeast and now it’s festering away in the lower 60s. I’m gonna let it go longer than my last cider for a more complete fermentation and higher alcohol.
Total cost was about ten bucks.