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Brewing David, Part 2: a slow but strong heartbeat

So last night I crept up into attic while Sandy was at church. (I’m on a little vacation from organized religion right now.)

The crawlspace ladder creaked as I stepped northward, and I could feel the attic heat buffeting my face even before my head cleared the opening.

Dave — my first attempt at Saison du Mont — sat quietly under his blanket. I steadied myself on floor, pulled back the blanket, eased out the plug and airlock, slipped in the wine thief, slowly and gently pulled it back, eased the sanitized hydrometer into the liquid in the wine thief, and held my breath.

1.o10! A meaningless number to many of you… but sure proof to me that the extra yeast had hiccuped Dave into life once more, and that wee living things were nibbling away, converting sugars to alcohol, changing the texture and color of the brew, getting Dave ready for his final destination.

Sometimes the aging process is more unwelcome than others. I plan to live close to another half-century, and I feel healthy, fit, and sharp. But I see someone my age and think “You are old,” and then, with a start, realize I am looking at myself.

It’s not that the end is imminent, but that I know it will happen.  Furthermore, what an exasperating process, to accumulate all this wisdom and then to have to depart. It hardly seems to make sense. I don’t doubt the Creator’s plan for us, but I would like to see the heavenly recipe.

I tidied up, turned off the light, and floated down the ladder, light as a feather. I’m going to wait several more days to bottle Dave, as I was on yet another brew-mission last night, bottling a half-batch of Amarillo Ale, and that was enough beer activity for one weekend, what with writing and housework and all.

But I feel so ridiculously relieved. This may be the most undrinkable batch ever made of Saison du Mont, and I made a slew of mistakes I won’t make again. But I sense the quiet thump-thump of this brew’s yeasty heart, and I feel a little closer to the hands that first made it, feel a little more certain that there is a reason for how things work.

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