ptyalin

“Thus, it is known that the preparation of some native beers that used cereals as a source of extract involved a step where the grains were masticated by the brewer. In so doing, the addition of saliva, which contains the amylase, ptyalin, would partially degrade the starch content of the grain and thereby increase the fermentability of the wort. It is interesting to conjecture as to the train of empiricism that culminated in this process!”

Boulton & Quain, Brewing Yeast and Fermentation

It’s absolutely true, but you know, I never thought about all the misfires and shuffling steps (spits?) that had to’ve led to that discovery.

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reader question: desert island yeast strain

Sorry to do this two posts in a row, citizens, but this one is a stumper (and worthy of debate). Andrew writes:

I have recently moved to China. I will be in the US to see some friends in a couple of weeks and intend to bring a supply of hops and yeast back to China.

My question is, “what yeast would you take to China for a years worth of brewing?” Is there a strain that you absolutely couldn’t live without?

First off – unfair question!

I’ll do what I always do when I inevitably get asked what my favorite beer is, and give multiple answers. So secondly, yes – several strains.

Here’s my highly subjective and somewhat evasive, possibly unhelpful in narrowing it down, desert island list for broad categories I brew within at least a couple times a year:

  • for American-style ales: 1056 ‘merican
  • for Weizens: 3068 Weihenstephan
  • for Belgian-style ales: 3787 Trappist … or maybe 3522 Ardennes
  • for Bavarian lagers: 2487 Hella Bock
  • for Czech lagers: 2782 Staro Prague
  • for British ales: 1275 Thames Valley … or maybe 1469 West Yorkshire

And yours?

H2O, H2O everywhere

Catching up on my reading in the airport en route to NHC – this is a few days old, via FlandersNews.be:

The monks of the Notre-Dame Abbey of Saint-Remy are deeply concerned about the quality of their famous Trappist Beer Rochefort. The source providing the water for the making of the beer, is bound to dry up due to developments in a limestone quarry nearby. The abbey is situated 5 kilometres from Rochefort, in Namur province in the Ardennes.

Full story here. Continue reading

prep day: Quotidian Pale Ale

Back in my day, when we had a gold-to-amber colored hoppy ale that was about 4.5% abv, we didn’t call it Session IPA. We called it “pale ale.” It was bitter but balanced, reasonable about its alcohol content, and it smelled like grapefruit and pine trees and cat piss … and we liked it that way.  Continue reading