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Old 03-12-2012, 07:15 AM   #1
Zamial's Avatar
Apr 2010
Posts: 3,186
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I lost my father to brain cancer about 1.5 years ago, he went from diagnosed to the Earth in 4 months. I still have 12 bottles from the batch that was our 1st and only batch we got to brew. I sealed them with wax but the batch was not meant to be stored indefinitely and all its flaws shine through but these are still very special to me. They are a link to my father and many of my friends and family know this.

Last year my soon to be father-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. They did not think he would be here to walk his daughter down the isle at our wedding last May. His treatments went very well and he got to do MANY things that was clearly "on borrowed time".

3 weeks ago things started to get bad. He was a home brewer and made a batch or 2 of beer but mostly did wines with his wife. There are over 200 bottles in their wine rack in the cellar that they made. He liked my beers but was not into making beer as his favorite beer was Miller Lite unless I had a non-hoppy homebrew for him which I always did.

I decided that I wanted to brew a special batch with the recipe based on his life and family that WAS designed to age well and could be stored for MANY years unlike the bottles I have. This is the recipe I came up with...

XXXXX and Son - American Dopplebock:
I am fully aware that this beer is not to a specific BJCP category and I could care less about that. The XXXXX represents his last name and he had 3 daughters. Since I did most of the work I added "and son" on to show that he is a father to me and to honor his families name.

Recipe batch size: 15.5 gallons I plan to brew this yearly for Oktoberfest this time of year to serve as my "dark beer" but the batch I made this year was a big 1/3 so I should end up with 5.15 gallons of drinkable beer.

Grain bill:
37 lbs 6-row (1 pound for each year he was married)
4 lbs Munich (1 pound for each of his siblings)
4 lbs of Bonlander Munich (1 pound for each grandchild)
3 lbs of Vienna (1 pound for each son-in-law)
1 lbs of Honey malt (for his wife)
1 lbs Crystal 120 (for his oldest daughter)
1 lbs Cara special I (for his middle daughter)
1 lbs Cara special II (for his youngest daughter)

These additions were based on age and order of grandchildren. I decided to use them again because these kids are made of springs and I really can not think of anything more hoppy that is human. I used German hops for the boys and American hops for the girls. The little ones all added the addition that represented themselves.
4oz Perle @ 60
4oz Cascade @ 20
1oz Willamette @ 7
1oz Sterling @ 0

Yeast: The 2 oldest grandchildren (My niece and nephew) helped me make the starter and watched the stir plate for a good 20 minutes which is like 3 hours in 4 year old time.
Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager (His basement is 56F constant)

Lager for 60 days before cellaring for aging. this represents his age.

Special note: Add 3 cans of Miller Lite @ 60 min to the boil (I added 1 to my smaller batch.)

I will bottle these with O2 barrier caps, add a custom label, dip the cap in sealing wax and then wrap the bottle in aluminum foil to preserve the label and beer indefinitely.

A few days ago he was moved home and he never came out of the sedation from being moved. I was hoping that he would be able to pitch the yeast but after a few days of waiting it did not look promising so I made the starter yesterday. I got a late start on the brew day today at his house with a bunch of my equipment that I had brought over. I hit my numbers well enough and as I would have started the boil I had to shut off the power and go upstairs to be with him as he passed moments later, surrounded by his family.

After a period of time (I honestly have no clue) I started the boil and had the grand kids each add in their additions. Each one did it a little differently but I was ok with that. I cleaned up and will pitch the yeast tomorrow evening with the family after the wort cools a bit more. We will all be holding the flask when we pitch the yeast.

I had talked this over with him and my family before this all happened and they REALLY were excited about this special beer. This went well beyond the immediate family as far as support to do it. I also can not think of a serious better way to go than to be surround by family, on a brew day, that the beer being made was in my honor. FWIW No one knew when he would go but we all new it was going to be soon. I did not intentionally plan the brew day as his last day on Earth, it just happened that way. I would like to think that the wonderful smell of the wort in the air allowed him to relax and go in peace.

I am not looking for condolences. I get it, it sucks. I liked the idea so I thought I would share. I really did not search this topic so if it exists already I blame lack of sleep and exhaustion.

This is meant to inspire others.
I'm not drunk, I'm from Wisconsin.
We have been out drinking your state since 1848!

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Old 03-12-2012, 07:35 AM   #2
Mar 2010
Palmer, AK
Posts: 219
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

I have heard of tons of things in my life, this is by far the most amazing tribute to someone I could have ever heard. The depth of this recipe, the timing, the story, the thought, everything about it is amazing. I don't know you or him, but I am glad to have even heard this story. Kudos to you for coming up with this idea and sharing it with us.

This story has genuinely brightened my day. I know that wasn't your intent, and in times like you've mentioned, you probably don't care what anyone has to say because you have a mission and you'll complete it no matter what. But it's an incredible story and I'm glad to have read it. I'd be interested to know how it turns out.

Please keep us posted, I'm sure I'm not the first who will want to know how the beer and the process turns out.
Ducks & Dogs Brewery
Primary: Double Wheat Orange IPA
Secondary: Air
On Deck: Probably a SMaSH with M.O. and Citra
Bottled: Fugged Up Irish Stout

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Old 03-12-2012, 10:54 AM   #3
Jan 2011
Frederick, Maryland
Posts: 604
Liked 61 Times on 51 Posts

Way to go Zamial!

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Old 03-12-2012, 01:48 PM   #4
Jun 2011
Wylie, TX
Posts: 352
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Wow. Just...wow.

One of the most heartfelt and sincere things I've read in a very long time. Without a doubt, the first time I've shed a tear while reading HBT.

You're a good soul, Zamial. I cant think of a better way to honor someones memory, while giving those left behind something to cherish and celebrate his life with.
Primary: Innkeeper
Secondary: Dawson's Kriek, Wee Heavy
Bottled: Spiced Holiday Ale,
Drinking: Moose Drool Clone, Irish Red, Oaked Whiskey Vanilla Porter, Milk Stout, NB Innkeeper Kit (West Yorkshire), NB Mild Ale (West Yorkshire), American Wheat
Planning: Irish Red, Patersbier,

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Old 03-12-2012, 02:23 PM   #5
Ale's What Cures You!
Yooper's Avatar
Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 70,029
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I don't know what to say. Please accept my condolences and give your wife a hug from me. Tell V that I'm so sorry about her dad. I love the way you are honoring his life and memory.

The beer sounds quite good, not just because of the love put into it, but I think it will be a great way to toast him in the future.
Broken Leg Brewery
Giving beer a leg to stand on since 2006

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Old 03-12-2012, 02:41 PM   #6
jsv1204's Avatar
Jan 2012
Posts: 290
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Wow. Truly inspired tribute to a homebrewer. Great post - thanks!

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Old 03-12-2012, 02:55 PM   #7
Nov 2011
Posts: 3,952
Liked 557 Times on 392 Posts

What a way to celebrate a life. My dad and I got to brew together on the day that his dad (my grandfather) passed away - memory for a lifetime. I am in full support of your brew and wish you all the very best. Love the recipe, btw. Well done.

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Old 03-12-2012, 03:51 PM   #8
Zamial's Avatar
Apr 2010
Posts: 3,186
Liked 179 Times on 159 Posts

Thanks for the replies! I knew I had something great and wanted to share it with the HBT community. The process was therapeutic as well as posting it up here and discussing it was/is.

If anyone else wants to use this idea please do. Feel free to post up in this thread as much or as little as you would like about it. I would be interested in hearing about it.
I'm not drunk, I'm from Wisconsin.
We have been out drinking your state since 1848!

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Old 03-12-2012, 04:12 PM   #9
Jan 2011
hastings on hudson, ny
Posts: 275
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

cherish those bottles good sir.
FWIW your story brought a smile to my otherwise infinitely wry face.

On Deck ~ filthy mongrel;
Bottled ~ Abbot 12 - belgian dark strong; duesseldorf alt; honey nut brown; zombie puke - ABA; maori warrior - NZIPA

Creamy,thick,velvety head. - unionrdr

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Old 03-12-2012, 11:43 PM   #10
Jan 2012
Appleton, WI
Posts: 72

Truly inspiring Zamial. The recipe sounds wonderful & I'm sure will bring back wonderful memories each time you brew it!

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