Dear Stoner: I'm a committed home brewer, and I was wondering how to make pot beer. I was thinking of adding oil to my beer, but I didn't know if that wouldn't dissolve in beer. I also thought about putting flower in the beer, like a hop, and boiling it for an hour — but I didn't know if that would extract the THC. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.
Mark in Mayfair
Dear Mark: We fielded a related question before — specifically, about adding buds to beer as it's brewing (as you suggest). We concluded that while it sounds great, especially since hops and cannabis come from the same family, the reality is that the good stuff in marijuana is only soluble in alcohol and fats. Simply boiling buds (or even hash oil) in water isn't going to extract THC. Assuming that your beer doesn't contain butter and considering that the alcohol content of even the strongest microbrews isn't going to be much above 10 percent, there's really nothing to dissolve all of the THC. We've been told that stronger barley wine and long-aging beers work okay to extract some THC, but you're still going to be leaving a lot of it behind. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try it to simply get some of the flavoring, though. A wheat beer might be the perfect place to add an orange-flavored strain like Tangerine Haze.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
But you're asking about potency, not flavoring. People do use ethyl alcohol to make tinctures with high-octane stuff, like 95-percent-ABV Everclear — and that leads us to your solution. You're already into playing around with booze, so making your own tincture to add to beer shouldn't be too much of a stretch. Generally, you use about an ounce of bud (or a quarter-ounce of kief) for every pint of alcohol. Your first step is to bake the buds in an oven for about an hour at around 240 degrees to turn the THC-A into THC. Then put your baked buds in a glass jar and fill it with a pint of alcohol. Let the mix sit for five or six days in a pantry or other cool, dark place, then filter out the weed from the alcohol with cheesecloth. What you're left with is some pretty potent stuff that should get you buzzing with about ten drops per twelve-ounce drink (you can further intensify it by leaving off the top of the jar and letting some of the alcohol evaporate). Try the tincture on yourself, then do the math on how much to add to your brew. We're not home brewers, so we have no clue as to when in the process you would add the tincture to the beer or how the Everclear and hashy flavor will affect the taste of your concoction. Then again, it may leave you so buzzed that you won't care if it ends up tasting like battery acid.