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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 16:21 GMT
German priest gives beer a spin
Michael Fey brews
It took Fey over a year to complete his brewing machine
A German priest has discovered a novel way of getting results from his washing machine.

Michael Fey, a clergyman from the western German town of Duisburg, uses his to produce up to 40 litres of beer a day.

Having mulled beer brewing for several years, Mr Fey says the idea came to him when he spotted an old toploader model at his friend's house.

"To brew beer you need a big container, the contents of which can be heated up and stirred, and which is easy to thoroughly clean. The toploader had all of this," Mr Fey writes on his website.

After discovering the old machine, he set about devising a computer programme so it could be operated from his PC.

One-and-a-half years later, he was ready to brew.

Pressing ahead

Mr Fey is part of a long tradition of churchmen who have pioneered new methods of brewing.

To brew beer you need a big container, the contents of which can be heated up and stirred, and which is easy to thoroughly clean... the toploader had all of this
Michael Fey
At the beginning of the last millennium, European monks - needing a pleasant tasting, nutritious drink to see them through periods of fasting - started producing large quantities of beer, which they later sold for profit.

Unlike the monks, Mr Fey has not turned his washing machine into a major commercial enterprise, merely distributing it among the youths he takes on regular outings.

Beer remains a very popular drink in Germany, which was once the beer centre of Europe.

In the 14th century, the town of Hamburg alone was home to 1,000 brew masters, although in the years that have followed, production has slowly shifted elsewhere.

Mr Fey is not possessive of his discovery, and provides downloads on his website with instructions for those interested in following in his footsteps.

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