Free Beer, formerly known as Vores Øl, Danish for Our Beer, is the first brand of beer with a "free" recipe - free as in "freedom", taken after the term "free software". The name "Free Beer" is a play on Richard Stallman's common explanation that free software is "free as in speech, not free as in beer." The recipe is published under a Creative Commons license, specifically the Attribution-ShareAlike license.
The beer was created by students at the IT-University in Copenhagen together with Superflex, a Copenhagen-based artist collective, to illustrate how concepts of the free software movement might be applied outside the digital world.
Original recipe Edit
The students brewed the first 100 litre batch, titled 'version 1.0', of the dark heavy beer in the school cafeteria, and created label designs and a website to promote the beer and publish the recipe.
Almost immediately, much of the homebrewing community spoke out against the quality of the recipe, several posting to a Slashdot thread. Most notable among the complaints were that it was never stated how much water to use in the mash, what type of yeast was to be used, the style of beer being produced (other than being dark and heavy), whether or not any hops were being added for aroma, fermentation temperature, or how the beer was supposed to taste. Making reference to the technical problems of when software instructions ("source code") cannot be made into a functioning program, several people have said that if this recipe were source code, it would not compile.
Rasmus Nielsen, one of the developers of the beer, has stated that the beer was a medium for the message of "dogmatic notions of copyright and intellectual property that are dominating our culture." He also admitted that the group was not made up of beer gurus and that their experience in beer production was limited. Because of the underlying theme of the group's message, the correction and development of this recipe is actively encouraged.
The following recipe is as shown on the official website (as of September 2005).
Recipe for approximately 85 litres (approximately 6% alcohol by volume).
Malt extract Edit
The malt is crushed and put in 55–60 °C hot water for 1–2 hours.
The resulting mash is filtered and the liquid will then contain about 10 kg of malt extract.
Taste and sugar Edit
- 50 g Hallertauer (Northern Brewer) hops
- 60 g Tettnang hops
- 300 g guarana beans (Guarana beans can typically be bought at health food stores).
- 4 kg sugar
The malt extract is brought to a boil in a large pot with Hallertauer NB hops and approximately 70 litres (18.5 gal) of water.
After half an hour, the guarana beans and sugar are added.
The mixture simmers for about an hour, the heat is turned off, and the Tettnang hops are added and left to sit for 10 minutes. The mixture is then filtered and cooled in a sealed container.
When the beer is fully fermented, it is transferred to bottles. First 4 g sugar is added per liter and some yeast from the bottom of the fermentation tanks for priming.
The beer is then left in the bottles at room temperature for 8-10 days for carbonation.
See also Edit
- The official website: freebeer.org
- Vores Øl
- Danish students launch open source and shareware beer
- 'Free' Danish beer makes a splash (BBC News)
- Pass Over a Frosty Mug of Home Brew Version 1.0 (The New York Times)
- Wired News: "Free Beer for Geeks" by David Cohn
- Spiegel Online
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