Working to nourish their bodies through during the lengthy 46-day fast during Lent, the Paulaner monks of Neudeck ob der Au in Munich are credited with developing the doppelbock style of beer. Packed with carbohydrates, calories and vitamins, this unfiltered “liquid bread” sustained the monks from Ash Wednesday to Easter, and over 300 years later, the rich history and quality of this beer is well-known throughout the world.

With this in mind, I am embarking on a project to fast on doppelbock for the same 46-day stretch that the storied German monks once endured—and live to tell the tale. This will be no small undertaking. I will be working with both a doctor and a spiritual advisor as I attempt to tell the story of this facet of the monks’ livelihood. Eventually, there will be a book.

A homebrewer, certified beer judge, journalist and beer blogger at brewvana, I invite you to join me for the journey.

28 responses to “About

  • Trevor

    this sounds amazing. i will definitely keep up with you during lent this year. if you ever get a hankering to move some of the illuminator, birmingham, al’s beer community would be mighty pleased with it.


  • Wilson

    Thanks, Trevor. It should be both fun and horrible. I’m looking forward to it.

  • Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    I just discovered your blog and can’t wait to read more. What a brilliant idea!

  • Bonnie Fast

    Kelly sent me the links to the article/interview. (I see you still had room for a shout-out to Arog Bastard, although I know it won’t be on the menu for
    awhile.) We will do our best in SoCal to eat all those foods you can’t… no thanks needed for our support. Wishing you a healthy experience.

  • Robyn M

    This does sound amazing! I would like to try a few days of it with you, I just havet to find some Dopplebock where I live. It’s to cheer you onward, and who knows maybe I’ll lose a little weight and gain a new perspective.

  • Bob

    I wish you success on your attempt. Hmmm, “attempt” seems too weak. Maybe “Bock-chanailia”. Or “liquid lunch”. Or…

    Will this be medically monitored? You might want to compare your results to the guy who ate nothing but potatoes for over a month. His cholesterol and triglyceride readings improved.

    a fellow BJCP judge and homebrewer,

  • Donald

    Good Luck with the Wonderful Struggle!

  • Stephen Blazynski

    Good luck with this novel approach to Lenten abstinence.

  • Seth Vignes

    Awesome idea man. I am currently working at a radio station and New Orleans and we would love to do a over-te-phone interveiw about your experiment. Please email me and we can set it up.

  • Ivan

    From Russia with interest.

  • John Reynolds


    Very cool undertaking. We would love to talk with you on our Seattle radio show. Would you be interested? email us at bradandjohn@kism.com

    John Reynolds
    Brad & John

  • Is it Spring yet? | TechIntersect

    […] my blog instead. At least I’m only giving up social networking for Lent. I could be doing a beer fast like this guy. Now that takes some real commitment! addthis_url = […]

  • Mr. Breeez

    I’ve been following your posts. I was wondering how many beers you consume (daily)… At what times… 16oz. or 22oz… ? I’ve been homebrewing for about 7 years and this sounds viable. It’s important to have the right beer!! Anyway, I haven’t seen anything regarding the details I questioned above. I assume you are keeping a log.


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  • Rhonda Campbell

    I’d like to follow along

  • Rudeboy

    Wow, I have had this idea for the past couple of years but couldn’t do it logistically. Work, Wife,etc.

    They say you are drinking four pints a day. What’s that in metric. I was going to do one liter in the morning (the monks got it before morning prayer) And one liter in the evening. (before evening prayer) They actually got a Mass, but a liter is the modern equivalent. Did you mash really high for a higher final gravity for less alcohol and more body?

    Keep going what you are doing is epic. Just watch for scurvy.


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  • Todd Southworth

    I showed your story three weeks ago to a bunch of buddies/beer-drinkers with the result of mixed feelings of awe, incredulity and hopeful finality: “Hope he’ll be OK after all this is done.” – an amazing story so far and takes a lot of moxie to attempt.

    There are a couple concerns I have, some simple, and some observations. I take it from your comments about taking multiple trips to the bathroom that you are not exercising during Lent. Even with that in mind and my experience with 30 years of running and bike riding, I would watch your sodium levels very carefully. Everyone sweats even if they are not working out (just ask my feet) and you lose moisture thru breathing. Without any salt intake in your non-existent food, you may get muscle spasms or cramps. After a 50 mile trail run, I had the hiccups for a day and a half, could barely eat (oops – ok, doesn’t apply here) and barely slept because of the shaking.

    If you were taking vitamins, I’m guessing you will continue that. If you weren’t, are there enough nutrients in beer to tide you over almost 50 days without all your Vitamin Bs, C, D, E and everything else?

    The same slightly buzzy headache you mentioned in the first few days has hit me when I have not eaten enough or timely enough; it was explained away to me as probably dropping sugar levels in the blood.

    Hunger is a funny thing. If one is used to eating a lot, you get really hungry. On the other hand, I was fairly sick for about a week, stayed down in bed or on the couch and was (barely) eating one meal a day but never really hurt – that had-to-bend-over type of hurt. It was a nonchalant thing: “Well, I probably should eat something even though I could skip it today.” Very strange!

    One thing I was hoping to see in your case was an almost complete stability in weight. Think of it, same amount of calories every day except possibly 5 beers on the weekend, no change in food-based salt, same exercise level (above paragraph 2). So there was a surprise that your weight continues to fluctuate. The large drop in weight was expected in the first week as…well…there is a dramatic decrease in solid waste. (Hope that was sensitive enough for you – I couldn’t think of a more neutral way to put it.) Obviously, I’m not a doctor or even trained in anything medical – my background is finance, as you will see. So as the weight data built up, I saw a pattern emerging and guessed it was your possible extra beer on the weekend – hey, it is a 25% increase in calorie consumption – and graphed it to confirm. Nope, nothing to do with the weekend. I doubt this comment field will accept an Excel plot, so simply, until this last weekend, your weight has bottomed-out every 4 days after the initial adjustment to lack of solid food. Some quick data points:

    Day 5 149 then upward to 150.5
    Day 9 147 then 2 days tied at 149
    Day 13 147 up slightly to 148
    Day 17 147 then falling to 146 on Day 20 (long weekend on your feet?)

    There was no reported weight on days 15 and then days 18-19, this last weekend.

    As far as your taste buds getting tired, would you consider switching it up a bit to maybe a Celebrator, a milder Optimator, a Salvator, Korbinian or my personal favorite, Aventinus (on tap at the Hessen Haus in Des Moines – I happen to know this and even live 100 miles away in Waterloo). It’s not cheating as they are the same style of beer and might give you a needed break. I don’t think I could drink water alone as my only beverage for 46 days even with a variety of food.

    Yours is the first blog I’ve ever followed every day to see what’s new. No answer really needed to any of the above, just wanted to relay some thoughts and wish you good luck on the rest of your journey.

  • Malissa H. James

    All I gave up was chocolate, and it has been difficult, but I have lost a little weight. Good luck until Easter and God Bless!

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  • John

    I’m a home brewer, bar owner, armchair ‘moonshiner’, and the son of hard core baptist tea-totaller’s. I love your take on beer/the world/spirituality and how alcohol is actually a blessing in our lives.

    Glad you pulled this off, but I had the idea that this was more about discipline than drinking. Good work.


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