It’s been far too long since I’ve updated sandmhomebrew.com. I’ve taken some time off from brewing and posting because I’ve been busy with other duties. Hopefully, this will be the first of many new posts. Matt and I are going to brew a couple batches of raspberry wheat beer this afternoon. We’re going to be playing with the hops in each batch to see what happens. When the beer is ready we can compare how the different ingredients affected the final taste. Experimentation is my favorite part of home brewing. I learn a little something new with every new batch and every new ingredient.
There are many parts to the brewing process. I’d like to take this opportunity to write about one part that I think is very important, Sugar. Sugar is important for the brewing process because it’s the source of food for your yeast. The yeast convert the sugar into two by-products that you want in your beer, alcohol and carbonation.
Most of the fermentable sugars in your wort come from the grains.This process starts well before most home brewers ever set eyes on the grains that make up their beer. It starts during the malting process. Most of the grains used to make beer are malted. Malting is when the grains are put into water until they start to germinate. This process helps to maximize the amount of maltose producing amylase in the grains.
Amylase is a protein that is present in the grains that will break down the bonds between the big chains of polysacchrides into maltose. Maltose is a chain of sugar that contains two glucose molecules. There are two types of amylase proteins that are used during this process, alpha and beta. By knowing how these two proteins work you can start to you the brewing process to change the flavor, alcohol content and mouthfeel of your beer.
Alpha-amylase is also found in human saliva. During the first brewing processes the brewer would chew the grains in his mouth to start the breakdown of the polysaccharides into simpler, fermentable sugars. Alpha-amylase is in the grains after the germination process begins.If the temperature of your water during the mashing process is between 153º-158ºF then you wort will have more Alpha-amylase in it and therefore less alcohol but more body and mouthfeel. Beta-amylase is present in grain before the germination process begins. If you mash at lower temperatures, 148º-153°F you will have a more fermentable, higher alcohol, less bodied beer. See chart below.
|Protein||Mash temp. range||Characteristics|
|Alpha-amylase||153◦-158◦ F||˅ fermentable sugars
|Beta-amylase||143◦-153◦ F||˄ fermentable sugars
On Saturday March 2nd I attended Windy City BREWHAHA. If you are like me, prior to about a week ago, you might have heard of this event. It’s a beer tasting event celebrating beer. The event is “brewed” as is stated on the tasting guide by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. The BREWHAHA featured 30 local breweries representing, by my estimation, 100 different brews. Almost as nice as the featured beers was the fifth floor loft of a converted factory where the tasting took place.
As beer tastings go I think this was a very successful event. I’ve been to quite a few of these in the past and usually the indoor events are much too crowded to enjoy myself. Don’t get me wrong there were a good amount of people there but I never felt like I spent too long in a line and then couldn’t move anywhere to get out of the way. Being that my pregnant wife was the designated driver for the group, this was a concern of mine beforehand. My only gripe is that some of the breweries didn’t have signs clearly labeling the booths. I would highly recommend this event in the future.
Now to my recommendations.
- Village Vintner Winery & Brewery – Vanilla Cream Ale
- Destihl – Altercation – German-Style Sticke Alt
- Brickstone Restaurant & Brewery – Cherry Ale
If you’re a hop-head then you should keep checking back for Matt’s top brews of the event.
Our mission is to talk about beer. In the process of talking about beer we’d like to do the following things.
- Review craft beer.
- Share home beer recipes.
- Share home brewing tips and techniques.
- Explore the science behind beer.
Matt and I have been home brewing for about a year and a half now. At this point, our home brewing, has gotten to a point where we have a lot of the basics down and want to start exploring some new aspects of beer brewing. I’m not going to lie It took us a while to get the hang of things. First we took a class at our local home brew store. I have to say that when just starting out I went through some information overload. Luckily, we had a friend who had brewed before and helped us out the first couple times going through the process. Needless to say, this was a huge help. I’m not sure we would’ve gotten through it on our own that first time or at least not with anything that was drinkable. I’d like to give a shout out to Mike for helping us out that first time. I’d like to pass this help forward through some of the posts on SandMHomeBrew.com.
Hopefully, we will able to accomplish these goals. Please bear with us the website has only been around for about a week and we’re still trying to get some posts up here.