Idea Fab Labs Hosts First Home Brewing Event

Members and guests were joined by local home brewers, Jake Dickman and Cody De Graaff, for the first-ever beer brewing project at the Idea Fab Labs in Chico on Sunday, November 8, 2015.

We all spilled into the front yard around 10:00 a.m., each of us having separately detoured through Midtown Local for our respective cups of joe. Jake and Cody had the kettle—made from an old Sierra Nevada Pale Ale keg—cleaned, sanitized and ready to go on the burner in short order. The next thing you know, we’re boiling water! It turns out that Jake has numerous books on brewing, including a weighty tome dedicated to nothing but water. For our purposes, we used good ol’ Chico water right out of the tap.

Jake announces that we are brewing an American Strong Ale, today’s batch being dubbed, Fabrewcation Strong Ale. Jake and Cody walked us through the various steps of creating our signature brew, each stage affording us a good hour or so to sample a new beer or talk about the more sophisticated aspects of craft brewing.

Jake Dickman and Cody De Graaff discuss the home brewing techniques being demonstrated as IFL members and guests look on.


The wort is poured over the grain in the mash tun a second time to concentrate the final product.


The first batch of wort is poured back into the kettle for a second run as James Hall, IFL’s Operations Manager, looks on.


Jake adds a packet of CTZ hops pellets, which are a blend of the Columbus, Tomahawk, and Zeus varieties…


and some fresh Cascade hops…


a cap full of Irish Moss…


Cody and Jake have it under control.


and finally, some activated yeast. The mixture will now ferment for 15 days.

“Jake was a good teacher,” says Zack Lamanski, a participant. “I enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed the weather and the company. I liked the informal part of it. We didn’t take notes; it wasn’t regimented; we could pitch in if we wanted to or not. It was a Fab Lab event. I wanted to show my support for the Lab and learn how to make beer. It’s a whole day of relaxing, not just a cooking process.”

Jake and Cody took the group from cleaning and sanitizing the equipment, completely through the brewing process, there being some chuckles when the terms “vorlauf” and “sparge” were discussed. The Fabrewcation Strong Ale must now ferment for 15 days, at which time the initial group will meet up again to try the finished product.

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