hist-brewing: Corn?

NeophyteSG at aol.com NeophyteSG at aol.com
Wed Jun 21 05:47:57 PDT 2000

In a message dated 6/20/00 8:57:50 PM Pacific Daylight Time, Owenbrau writes:

>  Maize, being a New World grain, didn't enter into other cultures' brewing 
> until much later. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want to get a group of 
> women together, so they can chew it up and spit the pulp into the brewpot (
> really).
>  Owen

In a message dated 6/20/00 4:39:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
crawley at worldchat.com writes:

> The only one I am familiar with off the top of my head is a not very
>  apetizing recipe from south america (remember corn came from the
>  americas so its period use would have been limited to the very later
>  periods of SCA time at best) Aparently good ole Chris Columbus wrote of
>  finding the Native population enjoying a fermented beverage made of corn
>  that was called Chica. The Icky part by modern standards comes in right
>  at the start of the process. The women of the tribe would gather
>  together to make the brew and the first step involved them masticating
>  (that means chewing folks) the corn into a paste and then spitting this
>  glop into a communal bowl until they had enough to make a brew.This was
>  then set aside to let nature do its thing and a few days or weeks later
>  the tribe gathered to enjoy the brew. Yeeeeuuucccckkk .......

Yeah, I knew about Chica ... just read about it a while back ... uh, no 
thanks! :)  That was kinda what prompted me to ask.  However, had I thought 
about maize being an Americas thing ... doah!  I did run across a recipe for 
"beer" produced from fermenting the juice squeezed from corn stalks, though.  
It, blessedly, didn't involve bodily fluids other than the sweat to crush the 

In a message dated 6/20/00 2:23:44 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 

>  "Transformation of Starch, etc.
>       Under the influence of acids, or diastare, a principle existing in 
> germinating grains, starch is changed first into gum (dextrine) and 
> afterwards into grape sugar. Hence one of our most important sources of 
> alcohol is to be found in the starch of barley, CORN, wheat, potatoes, etc. 
> Wood may be converted into grape sugar by the action of strong sulphuric 
> which is afterwards neutralized. An attempt to produce alcohol in this way 
> a commercial scale was made in France, but was not successful."
>  Nate

Nate's actually getting closer to what I was really wondering.  The starch in 
barley is converted to sugar by germinating, yes?  Has this method been used 
with corn?  How did moonshiners convert it?  Same process?  I just can't see 
them all sitting 
around spitting into the mash ... to quote Percival's eloquent exclamation, 
"Yeeeeuuucccckkk!" :)

Warm Regards,

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