hist-brewing: ancient brewing (Daniel Butler-Ehle)

Ric Cunningham wilypig at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 07:43:44 PST 2010

The process is still used in Central and South America for the making of a
fermented corn beverage. The corn is chewed the spit into a communal vessel
then is allowed to ferment.

*Chicha*, a pale yellow, milky drink common throughout Latin America,
originated with the Incas, who used the drink during festivals and other
rituals. Nowadays, *chicha* remains an important part of the region’s
indigenous past, and can be found in a variety of settings, from the dinner
table to a wedding or

A Culinary Tradition

Traditionally, Inca women made this important drink by chewing corn to a
pulp and then spitting the mixture into a vat of warm water. These women
(actually girls of ages 8-10), called Acllas or Acllacunas, were sent to
all-female schools called Acllahuasis to learn the art of brewing *chicha*,
among other things.

Once the corn was masticated and spit into the warm water, it would sit for
a few days before it was ready to drink. The end result was a mildly
alcoholic beverage.

Read more at Suite101: Chicha - Drink of the Incas: Latin America's
Fermented Corn Drink and the Fiesta de la

On Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 10:31 AM, Baden,Doug <baden at oclc.org> wrote:

> Interesting.  I remember that in Egyptian writing they talk about
> chewing the grain to make it go.  I think I have seen this reference
> elsewhere, possibly Celtic?
> Arundel
> -------------------------------------------------
> When I see the words "And it is obvious that...", I know I have many
> hours of hard work to "see" the obvious.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: hist-brewing-bounces at pbm.com [mailto:hist-brewing-bounces at pbm.com]
> On Behalf Of Will H
> Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:00 AM
> To: hist-brewing at pbm.com
> Subject: Re: hist-brewing: ancient brewing (Daniel Butler-Ehle)
> I'd like to suggest another possible route to access the sugars:
> Salivary
> Amylase.
> Amylase works at considerably lower temperatures than mashing and can be
> added to a 'mash' by chewing the bread/grain. I'd need a
> biologist/biochemist to back this up, but I believe that the enzyme is
> not
> degraded easily within it's temperature range and so can continue
> working
> slowly even at ambient temperatures.
> My major concern about this method would be contamination by the other
> microbes in the human mouth.
> Here's my disclaimer - I haven't tried this and it isn't based on
> historical
> research. This is conjecture but it doesn't seem totally far-fetched.
> Perhaps someone on this group can say whether there is any current or
> historical evidence for being done.
> Cheers,
> Will
> ----- Original Message -----
> "Daniel Butler-Ehle" dwbutler at mtu.edu writes:
> >They don't understand that malting is a necessary
> >step. (And they assume that anything loaf-shaped
> >is bread and that anything coming out of what
> >looks like an oven must be either bread or pottery.)
> >And even if they recognize the need for malting, they
> >are often oblivious to the role of mashing.  Countless
> >times I have encountered persons who think it is as
> >simple as "the grain got wet, then accidentally heated,
> >and it became beer".  No, it became barley soup.
> >Yeast ferments sugars, not starches.
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Ric Cunningham
Wilypig Brewing
"If you can make macaroni and cheese from a box, you can make great beer."
Niagara Association of Homebrewers

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