How To: Brew beer in a coffee maker, using only materials found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel

Who knew science had so much in common with prison?

Southern Fried Scientist explains how you can set up your own franchise of Baby Duck Breweries, using a coffee maker, cereal flakes, Vegemite "malt", seaweed "hops", and baker's yeast.



Sanitation is key. If you have an autoclave, sterilize your tools ahead of time. Otherwise, wash everything with an iodine solution or, if there are no other options, ethanol. Contamination is your enemy. Everything must be clean. Boil the handkerchiefs, rubber bands, sample jars, and lids.

1. Grind up your 'grains' (but not so much that it becomes powder).
2. Place your 'grains' in coffee pot (not the filter basket, the carafe).

3. Run 2 cups of clean water through coffee maker and let it sit on the hot plate for an hour. This releases all the good chemicals from you 'grains' and creates a fluid called wort.

4. Strain the wort through the coffee filter and place the filter full of 'grain' into the filter basket. Add the 'malt' to the filter basket. Pour the strained liquid back into coffee maker and add 1 cup of water.

5. Run the wort through the coffee maker 5 times, each time adding 1 cup of water.

6. Pour the wort into the saucepan and boil for 45 minutes. Two minutes before boiling is done, add the "hops".

7. Carefully pour the wort into the canning jars.

8. Let the wort cool to between 60 and 70 F. Once it is cool enough to touch the outside of the jars without burning, pitch the Bakers' Yeast into the mixture.

9. Seal jar with a handkerchief and rubber band over the mouth, and let sit for 3 to 5 days.

10. And table spoon of sugar to the jar and seal with the lids, making sure they're air tight.

11. Store in a cool, dark place where it will not be disturbed for a week.


A cool, smooth brew, flavored with whatever you found. It may be very bad, it may be good. It will be beer.

You can thank (or blame) TapRoot for posting this to Submitterator.

Image: Some rights reserved by C+H



  1. It sounds like prison hooch. And I’ve worked on oceangraphic vessels myself, where the heck do you find the time (not to mention who lets you drink alcohol on a vessel) to screw around with brewing beer?

  2. I used to make ice jacked kilju in college, yeast, sugar and clean water in a clean 2l bottle. It wasn’t exciting but it was alcohol, better than wine in a box.

  3. And even if this experiment fails completely, you can comfort yourself with the fact that you didn’t accidentally make Coors Light.

  4. I’ve used Grape Nuts in my homebrew when I’ve run low on malt, since I believe malted barley is the first ingredient. I think I’ll pass on the Vegemite and seaweed though.

  5. Vegemite is a yeast extract, so not sure how that ends up as ‘malt’. Love the process – would be interesting to try with actual malted barley, hops, and a decent brewing yeast. These three ingredients could be purchased at your local homebrew shop before the voyage and stored for the duration. They wouldn’t take up more room than seaweed flakes, vegemite, and breakfast cereal, but would make a much much much better tasting brew.

  6. What kind of low-class oceanographic research vessel is this that doesn’t have the proper rations of two pints of rum a day per man?

  7. Because I drink a lot of beer, I use a clothes washer for this, a “washing machine”.

    Make sure the incoming Wash water is hot, proper mash-in temperature for your grains. The Rinse water should probably also be set to Hot for sparging as Warm probably won’t dissolve the sugars. The agitation ensures a complete mash. The spin-dry cycle is where you pull off your wort.

    You’ll need a large vessle to boil the wort. I’m working on converting the heating system from the gas clothes drier to use rather like a cajun cooker.

  8. I’d try it with decent ingredients. Baker’s yeast? Vegemite? Blech. Also, bleach water will do the trick for sterilization.

    1. Rich, if you don’t get a response from anyone else, just wanted you to know I thought that was funny.

      1. LOL!

        Now I remember that I have a bottle of kriek at home. I’d open it, but I think I’m out of Melitta filters.

        Quick question about the instructions: it says cool to 60 or 70 degrees F, but then says to pitch the yeast when the jars are cool enough to touch without burning. Should that be 60 to 70 C?

        1. no, most yeasts you wouldn’t mind drinking really, really hate temps over 110F, and prefer 62F-74F. Lager, bottom fermenting yeasts like it even cooler.

  9. as a long time home brewer, all i have to ask is where do you find the kegging equipment on an oceanographic research vessel–cause i ain’t bottling ever again.

  10. nixiebunny: As someone who’s been on a variety of these ships, it’s very cultural. When looking at government-funded research vessels:

    -The American ships are dry (and very, very hard-assed about it).

    -On the Japanese ships, you pour sake over whatever came up in the net that day, and eat it.

    -On the Canadian ships, the duty-free bar opens as soon as you get into international waters.

    -My liver forbids me from speaking of the Russians.

  11. “It may be very bad, it may be good. It will be beer.”

    The most beautiful prose ever conceived. Isn’t this in the bible somewhere?

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