The serious business of brewing beer


The beer brewing process can be as an enjoyable as the drinking.
“Probably my favorite part of the brew process is the brew day itself, because it’s a day. It probably
takes five or six hours total,” said Mark Bunce, a home brewer.
The process involves setting everything set up, getting the water temperatures to the right amount,
putting the grain together and steeping it for 90 minutes.
“It’s not unlike a musical performance. There’s lots of preparation, and then there’s the process
itself,” said Bunce, who is a former sound engineer.
Bunce is a retired recording engineer from Bowling Green State University. He is also retired from the
College of Music and the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music where he was an administrative staff
“I’m sitting with tunes on. I’m sitting and watching it, the brewing process, and I’m drinking a beer,
right? It’s a good day,” Bunce said, as he sat back with a big smile that led to another sip of his
Plinius the Wise.
Plinius the Wise, as Bunce makes it, is a strong imperial IPA, with an ABV of 9.25 percent. It’s not a
dark beer, but does have a deep amber color.
“It’s very hoppy, but not overwhelmingly bitter. There are little notes of hops that appear and then new
ones pop up,” Bunce said.
He was very animated talking about the beer making process — and detail oriented.
“The biggest thing is sanitizing,” Bunce said.
He got into home brewing because, like many college students, he enjoyed drinking beer. When came to work
at BGSU he said he finally tried “better beer.” At first, he and his friends tried Canadian beer. That
was in the early 1980s.
Eventually, they sampled a greater variety of beers, then started brewing and bottling beer.
“This is where I first developed my whole sterilization freak-o-zoid thing,” Bunce said.
Bunce recommends the 1 Step brand of sanitizer, which he described as looking like powdered dishwasher
He also forgoes the use of plastic, which he did use in the beginning, almost 25 years ago. While he is
not so concerned about chemicals leaching out of the plastic, he is concerned about scratches from the
cleaning process and being able to sanitize them.
Ultimately, the bottling process became tedious. Bunce said that got so tired of cleaning and filling
bottles that he quit making beer, until he could construct his own kegerator. He now has five separate
taps that go through the wall, each keg being refrigerated.
“Then there’s the knowing what’s going on in the beer,” Bunce said.
The type of water can be a serious discussion for brewers. Bunce uses water from the bottle refill
location at the Kroger in Bowling Green. He prefers not to use distilled water, because it gives the
beer a “flat” taste.
“I do take care of trying to keep the beer as clear as possible. I keep most of the sediment out of the
beer. The hops is bagged, the barley is bagged and so are both of the hops in each stage of
fermentation,” Bunce said.
For the first 20 years he did pre-made kits, but got into more exploration and experimentation two years
ago, with the all-grain method he uses with Plinius the Wise. There are no kits in that process.
It’s been a deep dive for Bunce. Plinius the Wise is one of two dozen beers he’s tried brewing since
getting back into the hobby, but it is one of his favorites.
Bunce plans on trying some ciders and some sour beers, but the next one will be Chocolate Covered Beaver
Nutz, which includes cocoa nibs.
“It will be a real chocolate beer,” Bunce said with a wistful look.

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