Now, yesterday we delved into a bit of Utah’s weird liquor laws and how it measures our transgressions.
I started down a really (to me) interesting topic of Brettanomyces yeast. Â And I still would like to go there.
But I think the 2 readers I have need a little more background before we can get to that topic and discuss in a way that will be meaningful in the end.
So let’s talk for just a moment about beer and what it really is.
If you want to know more, and/or how to make it, I really recommend reading Palmer and Papizan.
But, in a blog length and depth format, here is where beer comes from.
Barley is grown.
Then the grain is separated from the stalk and it is Malted.
Malting starts when the grain is sprayed with water to make it damp, then spread in thin layers on a malting floor.
The moisture causes the grain to germinate.
As the grain starts to grow, the Acrosperm releases enzymes that convert the carbohydrates, proteins and starches of the Endosperm into more soluble components, amino acids and lipids.
When the Maltster (the person who is contolling the malt process) determines that the now Malt has reached the desired stage, the grain is dried to cease germination. Â Thereby leaving accessable chemicals and enzymes for the brewer to extract by mashing.
The brewer then takes these grains, and crushes them in a controlled fashion to allow the grain out of the husk, but without destroying the husk, as it would introduce tannins and other off flavors into the beer if over-crushed.
The grain is steeped in hot water.
In this time, called mashing, the enzymes reactivate and the starches, carbohydrates and proteins go into solution of the water.
The now sugar-water is drained, rinsed (sparging) and the liquid (wort) is placed in a large pot and brought to a boil.
Then hops are added at various times during the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma.
After a minimum of 60 minutes of boiling to sterilize the wort, it is cooled down to fermentation temperatures, placed in a carboy (fermentation chamber).
Then yeast is added (pitched) to the wort and it is sealed with an airlock.
Yeast, in the metaphor I have used to explain it to my children, eat sugar, burp CO2 and pee alcohol.
Thus after some time, you have beer.
I might spend some time going through more detail of the process soon.