hist-brewing: ancient ale
dwbutler at mtu.edu
Thu Feb 25 20:04:26 PST 2010
Martyn Cornell <mcornell at blueyonder.co.uk> writes:
> According to the Handbook of indigenous fermented foods by Keith Steinkraus,
One of my most disappointing eBay defeats was losing a
bidding war on a copy of that several years ago.
> Even if malted grains contain more of the necessary enzymes to
> bring about saccharinification than saliva, there must be a good
> reason why Andean Indians continue to use chewing as a saccharinification
> starter, rather than malting.
I reckon so.
Note, though, that malted maize only has a quarter the
diastatic power of malted barley or wheat, and cassava
has none. It doesn't have enough enzymes to convert its
own starch. Now, I don't know if the chewing methods do
any better, though. But, as I mentioned in an earlier
post, one advantage of chewing is that the enzymes, even
if low in concentration, are in endless supply (unlike
malt mashing, in which the enzymes are highly concentrated
but limited in duration).
How do Bourbon distillers do it?
> Nobody here seems to have addressed that question.
I'm not terribly sure it's relevant when we're discussing
barley and wheat. If a culture is using a malting grain,
it just doesn't seem likely (to me, anyway) that they
would convert it with ptyalin instead of letting it
convert itself. Now, the question is whether they used
a malting grain.
> I talk about the idea that salivary amylase was also a
> plausible pre-malting route to beer in the Fertile Crescent
> using cereal grains here:
Thanks for the link. I wholly agree with the premise.
I've been telling folks for years that there's just no
way that beer (which by even the simplest production
methods still involves a complicated series of steps)
can be older than wine or mead (which make themselves).
> even storing beer is possible in organic containers, vide the
> Zulu "beer basket":
Neat! But I'll point out that that's for *holding* beer,
not storing it; it doesn't lengthen the shelf life of
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