hist-brewing: Re: starch and malting/adjuncts/Champagne yeast/deceptively strong

BrewInfo brewinfo at xnet.com
Tue Jun 27 13:18:15 PDT 2000

I think I might be occasionally missing issues because I get the digested
(not masticated) version of the list and sometimes I see replies to posts
I've never seen.  This particular one contains some of these.

>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 

That should be "diastase" or what we call "diastatic enzymes" i.e. alpha and
beta amylase.

>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 

I'm surprised nobody jumped on this one.  If germinating (which is half of
malting) is all it took to convert starches to sugars, then there would be
no need for mashing.  A very small portion of the starch is actually converted
to sugars and subsequently energy during malting.  The main purpose of malting
is to begin to break down the protein matrix in which the starch is bound and
to create one of the two diastatic enzymes (I don't recall if it's alpha or
beta amylase... one of them is already available in unmalted barley whereas
the other is actually produced during germination).  Mashing is what converts
most of the starch to sugars.  

Corn (or any other starch source) can be added to the mash as long as the
starch is accessable (gelatinized, as Nate posted) and there are enough
enzymes from the malted grains (barley malt, wheat malt, oat malt, rye malt).


Bob writes:
>the use of adjuncts such as corn and rice 
>(gelatinized and flaked, it was called Cerealina) was a 
>result of the unfolding practice of bottling beer. Prior to 
>the use of clear glass for bottling and drinking vessels, 
>six-row malted barley was used as is,
>that is, without adjuncts. Drinking draft beer from 
>a non-see through stein, no one questioned the 
>clarity of the beer...
>freshness and availability were its most admired attributes.
>The initial use of adjuncts in American beer corresponded
>with the move towards a more portable product, bottled beer.

On a similar note:
In talk on the History of Brewing in Detroit at the AHA Conference
this last week, author and Stroh's historian Peter Blum said the
big brewers can't make an all-malt beer because of shelf-life and
stability (the beer would get cloudy and/or chunky).

Well, this is partly true... they *could*, but they would have to
mess with costly (energy) and time-comsuming protein rests and pay
extra for low-protein malts.  It is far easier for them to use
"protein dilutants" such as corn and rice.


Scotti writes:
>    Beer and ale yeasts are generally more alcohol tolerant than 
>we think, so one might try just adding corn sugar to the secondary.
>    Another possibility, if that didn't work, would be to re-pitch the
>already corn-sugared beer with champagne yeast.  Champagne
>yeasts are quite alcohol tolerant, and supposedly add little flavor
>of their own.

Yes, a pretty bad flavour from a beer perspective.  You can get away
with adding Champagne yeast to finish off the sugars in a beer that
was mostly fermented with ale or lager yeasts, but you probably wouldn't
like the taste of a beer made only with Champagne yeast. 


Sean writes:
>Champagne yeast, that's a good idea.  EC1118 is great, especially if you
>grow it up in a starter and pitch the cake the day it settles out - hungry
>but not yet dormant.  I got a 20% mead that way.
>But we are getting away from the original question.  I think someone wanted
>to make a 6-7% beer with a 5% flavour.  My only question, really, is "why?".
>Beer is supposed to be about 3-5% alcohol and guzzled except for the odd
>high-nutrition Trappist or Old Ale.

Ours is not to wonder why... the answer to the question is to add a protein
dilutant like corn or rice or simply add fermentable sugar (like table
sugar).  That's exactly why Duvel is not thick and satiating, but rather
medium-light-bodied and refreshing.  They use candi sugar, but that's
nothing more than sucrose... just use white table sugar.  Ironically, you
mention Trappist Ales, most of which are made with candi sugar!

If you want to make a deceptively strong beer, then what you need to do is
to keep the higher (aka fusel) alcohols very low.  You can't taste or
small ethanol until it reaches 8% abv, but a few ppm of some higher
alcohols will smell strongly "alcoholic."  The key to this is to ferment
cool, use yeasts that are low in higher alcohol production (stay away from
all the Belgian yeasts which are prized for this talent) such as Wyeast
#1056 American Ale and keep the amino acid levels reasonable (not too high
and not too low).


Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
korz at brewinfo.org

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