Sunday, November 3, 2013

Feast of the Hunters' Moon - Beer

We always learn amazing things at the Feast and we never know ahead of time what that will be.  This year we learned all about making beer.

It was fascinating!  [And we don't even drink... or perhaps it was extra interesting because we don't drink?]

This is the brewmaster and his daughter from the Lafayette Brewing Company.  He explained the process and answered all of our questions.

Beer starts with malted barley.   To malt the barley, it is first wetted down enough to begin germination.  That converts the starches to sugars.   Then it is quick dried in a kiln.

Once the barley is malted, it is mixed with good water and brought to about 170 degrees.
  This is 'mash'.   The liquid is called 'sweet wort' and it must be drained off the cooked barley.

In 1750, the draining proceeded carefully from this barrel through a hole in the bottom stopped up with a sharpened stick that was wiggled just enough to let the sweet wort out and keep the barley mash in.   The sweet wort was collected in the bucket beneath and then carried to another fire.  

Once the liquid was drained off, it was heated again and mixed with dried hops.  Hops acts as both a flavoring and a preservative.  It was added at different times in the process for different purposes. 

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