Sunday, July 24, 2011

Malted Barley

Fermentation is a simple formula.  Water + sugar + yeast = alcohol.  This is a process that humans discovered thousands of years ago.  Ancient Sumerians were brewing beer 4,000 years ago.  This isn't exactly rocket science.

Today I seek to recreate, with my knowledge (and occasionally a google search) the process of getting sugar the ancient Mesopotamian way and malting barley.  I know that the barleycorn is allowed to germinate slightly.  The embryo releases amylase which converts the starches within the seed to dextrose.  It is then dried out in order to kill the seedling before it begins to make chlorophyll.  Boom, starches in grains converted to sugar.

First, where to get barley?  The interwebs suggest feed stores, but there are none close bye.  Think cheap.  Gas is expensive.  Well, the local Wholefoods sells hulled barley.  I know some people on the webernets have said you can't malt hulled barley because the process strips the embryo from the seed.  Well, that's not true.


Boom, malted

The concept was clear to me.  Make the seeds think they were in the earth.  Trick them into thinking it was time to sprout.  The first attempt went poorly.  I soaked them in water.  I then strained them and dumped them in a big pot.  I left residue water.  Unfortunately, this was not correct as the seeds drowned and rotted.  The second attempt went better.  Soaking and straining.  I left them in the strainer.  They could dry, and then sprout.  And they did.

Still, it wasn't a total success.  They had feint smell of gym socks, which means they were contaminated.  I believe they, like their predecessors, soaked too long and some of the seeds died.  So I am starting anew, and soaking and straining and properly drying.  Soon they shall sprout and be ready for the next phase.

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