Of Raccoons and Wort.

By | September 26, 2012


Gather round folks and I will tell you a cautionary tale. On the Sunday evening past I decided it would be a great time to brew up Northern Brewer’s Coffee Stout Porter which was shipped to me in a pleasant error. The box had been delivered, which I had been waiting on for a whole bunch of hops for some planned recipes. I opened the box and found what I originally thought was my order, two large bags of grain some hops and wait….coffee? what’s this? Where’s my Mead yeast?! I called into customer support at NB and to their credit they let me keep the erroneous items and even shipped me the correct items -Good job guys, you made this customer very happy. Anyway back to the story…

It should be a natural law that when life gives you grains, you make beer….or something like that. So back to Sunday. I got a late start in the brew day since I had a number of chores to complete before I could start brewing. I also typically brew on the patio behind my house when the weather is favorable. This was an all grain batch so it took plenty of extra time. The early autumn rays of sun were starting to fade away as my boil completed and I started to put all my equipment away. Being that the weather was getting colder and I live in the city, I decided that rather than pull out my wort chiller and go through the work o

f hooking it all up I could leave the brew pot with its wort out on the patio to cool for a few hours. Nothing would possibly mess with a large pot full of what was essentially water. And a large 30lb dumbbell would help in securing the pot.

As I was about to put away the last bits of the equipment, the sun had fully set and a nice cool breeze was in the air. I walked out of the basement door to the patio and froze. Two hungry pairs of eyes were watching my every move from under my roomate’s car. The larger pair of eyes poked it’s head out from under the car as it slowly advanced on my position. It was clear that this was the family of raccoons that occupy the tree behind my garage and they were going out for dinner tonight. I’ve grown up here in New England for all of my life so the odd encounter with critters isn’t wholly foreign to me. Typically, your average critter will be timid and run away at the first sight of humans or loud noises. It would turn out that this wouldn’t be with the raccoons. I grabbed my trusty mash paddle and an empty 4 gallon water jug as I slowly advanced on the pair of would be thieves. I banged the jug on the round with a resounding thud and two backed off slightly but quickly returned, unphased. I whipped the paddle through the air in a lunging motion at the pair and again they were unimpressed. I started to make a low growling noise, which is critter for back off. This only incensed the braver of the two who started to adopt an attack posture. It was at this point I realized my leather gloves for lifting large hot objects were just inside the door of the basement. I slowly retreated to the door and in a lightning motion grabbed them and was back at the door. The pair hadn’t advanced any further while I was obscured from view. My eyes transfixed on the braver of the two as I put on the gloves and slowly backed the wort into the basement. I closed the door, my adrenaline still pumping, and decided next time I’d just start brewing earlier in the day.

Till next time my friends, protect your wort.