Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New homebrewing project: beer vs wine

I was reading James Joyce's Ulysses on the train.  Close to Bloom's day and all.  I was at the part where Blazes Boylan, Dignam, and Stephen Dedalus were discussing Hamlet at the pub.  I found I wanted a beer.  I haven't bought a beer in a long time.  I wanted a specific beer with a big barley taste and very little hops.  Is this an English Ale?  I thought I would make it myself.  Mrs Booze knows of a pet store that sells big bags of barley for horsies.  I could malt that and brew it.

I've also been working on a spiced wine recipe.  I've found quite a few recipies call for raisins, aka zombie grapes, and I'm not sure why.  I tried to imaging the flavor a raisin would impart to a wine versus a grape.  I haven't eaten a raisin in at least 15 years.  So I bought a box.  Ahhh, the flavor's coming back to me now.

At first it wasn't so good, but then the flavors lingered in my mouth and I came upon an idea.  Maybe a bad one.  Make a mash of raisins and oats.  Ferment.

The problem is that the starches in the oats need to be broken down into sugars for the yeast to be able to feast.  Since they are cut oats they cannot be malted.  So then what?  Well the raisins would provide the sugar.  The oats would provide flavor, but too much starch might spoil things.

The recipe, for now, is:

2 cups of oats
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup of sugar
a pinch of cinammon
a dash of cloves

It might be necessary to add some malted barley to this recipe so that the starches in the oats don't make a soupy unfermentable mess.  The crazy person in my head says things like "why don't you just spit in the mash.  The salivary amylase in your spit will do the trick."  Hey that sounds like a fairly simple solution.  Ok, time for my meds...

Once Mrs Booze racks her wine I will start the fermentation and we will see how good or bad this recipe is.  This seems like a great thing to drink on a chilly December evening, and I will let you know.

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