Brother Tobiah’s Brew

January 9, 2023

When you think of a monk, you may think about worship or service. A member of the
monastery for 14 years, Br. Tobiah Abbot is an example of faith and stability. In addition to his
monastic commitments, Br. Tobiah has kept his side passion on tap ever since he discovered it in
1987. Br. Tobiah had just gotten out of service and his uncle was attempting to make homemade
batches of beer and wine. They went to town to buy malt, yeast, and hops to put everything
together. His uncle said it was pretty good considering it was the first time Br. Tobiah had made
beer from scratch.

According to Br. Tobiah, the way to make a great batch starts with a trip to the Beer Supply
Store to get a pre-made kit. The next step is to extract brewing because the malt is already made.
Boil the malt and then add the hops for an hour. While it cools down, throw the brewer’s yeast in
for 12-16 hours to start the fermentation process. It usually takes a week for the fermenting process
to complete. When the hydrometer pressure sugar levels equal after two days, it is ready to be
bottled after two weeks. Br. Tobiah waits 2-3 months since the kit makes two cases.
Another type of brewing is all-grain brewing. For 5-6 pounds of beer, this requires 15 pounds
of grains. The store has them crushed and then they go in the water with a raised temperature of
145°, taking the starches from the grains and turning them into sugars. Bumping the temperature
to 160-165° kills the first enzyme and the others take over. This determines the taste, mouth feel,
head size, and more. Then raising the temperature to 175° kills the other enzymes. Next is rinsing
the grains multiple times, then boiling them for an hour. The water will then be used as sugar
water during the brewing process.

Br. Tobiah has been a huge fan of beer for a long time and claims he has “never made one I
didn’t like.” Br. Tobiah favors darker beers, like porters. His favorite type of beer is the Darner Beers
Line Porters Chocolate Coffee porter. To him, it ages and tastes better. Olde English 800 is another
one of his favorites while the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is his favorite brewery. Br. Bede and Br.
Tobiah spend 3-4 hours brewing and bottling at night. When Br. Bede lived in Atlanta, his friend’s
dad owned a shop that taught him a lot about brewing. Fourteen years later at the Abbey, Br.
Tobiah finds work with day-to-day assignments for new monks and still makes beer to share for
recreation or on special feast days!

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