Day 40

In Ingredients class today, we finished off the multi-week topic of barley by talking about types of barley (2-row versus 6-row), the various varieties of each, how new varieties are cultivated, and what aspects of barley-ness are sought by barley breeders.

Then during a break, Kevin Somerville laid a few licks on us: 1. New group assignment, due in three weeks. 2. Test next week. 3. Mid-term exam in two weeks.

Ouch. Perhaps buying a ticket for the afternoon session of Cask Days was not a good idea. Yes, there will be 50+ brewers and 70+ casks of real ale but it happens to fall the day before Kevin’s mid-term exam. Oh well, I’ll try to approach the problem like a normal college student would: “Exam? What exam?”

Back to work, and the topic of malt competitors–that is, ingredients that can provide soluble starches, enzymes, colour and character in place of malt. We had talked about adjuncts last Friday in Intro to Brewing, but we examined them and other malt competitors a lot more closely here: flaked, flour, grits, torrified, whole cereal, glucose syrup, sucrose, invert sugar, caramel, and malt extract. Then how each of them are prepared, and what equipment we may need in order to use them. For instance, who knew that glucose syrup has to be held at a temperature of 50C or it will solidify? Or that some whole grain cereals have to be gelatinized in a cereal cooker? Or that we may have to use commercially-produced enzymes in the cereal cooker due to higher temperatures that barley’s natural enzymes can’t survive?

And as if that wasn’t enough for one day, we also looked at cereal grains other than barley: wheat, corn, rye, oats, triticale, rice, sorghum, millet and even legumes like peas. (Yes, beer has been made with yellow peas in Japan–however, I would hesitate to yell “Yellow pea beer!” in a noisy bar.  It could end very badly.)

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