Ed and Marcus take a trip to the Kona Brewing Co. in Hawaii to brew a beer that meets the standards of some of the most discerning beer connoisseurs. Read more...
At Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii, Marcus and Ed are greeted by Ryan, the Head Brewer, who explains their primary challenge: To create a new craft beer (with a secret ingredient) from scratch, then complete the brewing process in eight hours. The catch? The secret ingredient is honey, which Ed and Marcus must harvest themselves.
Tom, a local beekeeper, meets Marcus and Ed at his farm, where Tom instructs them to harvest four gallons of honey each. The guys wager a side bet: Whoever gathers honey the fastest gets to be the brewmaster, with full control over the craft beer's recipe.
Ed's strategy is to grab honeycombs quickly, reasoning that the faster he goes, the fewer stings he’ll get. Marcus takes his time, using smoke to calm the bees. Neither method prevents them from getting stung, so they put on protective gear. While Ed extracts honey manually in hopes of speeding up the process, Marcus consults a manual and quickly collects his four gallons via an extractor machine, thereby winning the brewmaster title.
Later, Ed meets Mattson, President of Kona Brewing Company, for a beer tasting during which they discuss how best to incorporate honey in a craft beer. Mattson stresses balance. Elsewhere, Marcus tastes beer and studies brewing manuals.
After Marcus and Ed bring the honey to the brewery, Ryan explains that their beer will be judged by a panel including himself and Mattson. This new beer must be deemed good enough to serve to Kona’s customers if Marcus and Ed are to pass the challenge.
Marcus and Ed argue over ingredients. Marcus wants a honey malt. Ed fears it will be too sweet. Since he's brewmaster, however, Marcus' decision rules. The pair complete the first three steps in the brewing process: Pour the malt through a mill, mix the malt with water, and transfer the resulting liquid into a kettle to boil. While selecting hops, Ed argues for bitterness. Marcus agrees to add hops earlier in process to cut the recipe's sweetness.
As Marcus reads manuals, the kettle boils over. Ryan explains that the guys have either overfilled the kettle or turned the temperature too high. All 1,200 gallons of the ruined brew must be discarded. The process must begin again. With only four hours left, Ed and Marcus remix the brew then get to step four: Adding the honey. The final step is fermentation.
Two weeks later, Marcus and Ed return to the brewery for judging. After the panel tastes their beer, Ryan says that the pair did a good job balancing bitterness with sweetness. Ed asks Mattson if he would serve this beer to the public. “Absolutely,” says Mattson. The only thing left is to name it. Drawing on their experience with the hive, they call it "9 Stings."
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