It's time for beer fermentation again. This time I got a smoked wheat weizen style kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop and carefully went over the step in detail. The mash, the sparge and terms of fermentation in beer terminology....
This is what it's like, another two weeks bottling, stay tuned!
After struggling to brew some beer at home, I had left-over "spent grain." Looking online for ways to use it, I tweaked one and added levain, as well as beer to replace water. Resulted was a very moist loaf full of malty flavor.
To most bakers, beer is viewed as liquid bread. Though it's fermented, making it is a longer process involving boiled liquids and malted grains. The fermentation begins with a small amount of yeast that is left to sit until the bottling process. For the final fermentation, you add a bit of sweetener.
Anyway, I just took the plunge at brewing some beer at home. My strategy started with purchasing an easy-to-follow "Everyday IPA Mix" from Brooklyn Brew Shop. In my future efforts, I'll try different grain and add spices. Below are some photos of my steps - and mis-steps. As you can see, my cat was excited.
Several weeks after I started... signs of carbonation, which means that I should have left the beer to ferment an extra week. Taste? Less then delicious. Smell? Nice. Head? Lovely but quickly vanished. '
Back to the drawing board, research and re-brewing.
Bread and beer are in many ways similar in fermentation. Check this out; Saccharomyces cerevisiaes. And I have heard beer referred to as "liquid bread." Looking to combine the two, I had asked Wolfgang Süpke if had a formula for a dark beer bread from a commercial German bakery. Recently, I checked on his site, and there it was; a bread with beer and shinken, a cured ham in fact. So I bought a bottle of beer, a doppelbock made from wheat, then followed Wolfgang's formula, minus the ham and type of beer.
Minus the ham, this bread is deep and rich in beer and good yeasty flavors. Besides, why not add something on it like ham, or even accompany it with some flavorful dish, like my recent bratwurst braised in what else? Bier!
Sometimes labels can catch your eye, especially when they're labeling drinkable substances. I have tasted a large number of beers labeled as local; Brooklyn Beer, Shmaltz brewing company and others. Shopping for supplies at Wholefoods this weekend, I spied lots of familiar labels of different style beers. There were the hugely popular Belgian krieks, IPAs and lagers, but this particular bottle had a look that reminded me of Alice-in-Wonderland, albeit with a David Bowie reference. It's called Pretty Thing, Jack'Dor-American Saison. Of course I snatched it up, and will taste it with some pizza. Who wants soda when you can have beer!
With some closer research, this is not only an Artisanal beer, it's a gypsy company based in Cambridge, with no home brewery, and working on a shoe string budget according to there homemade website! Just goes to show you how small business are the heart of this country!
Postscript: I Couldn't wait till tomorrow for the pizza! In any case it tasted great,no...Superb with a perfect foamy head, fabulous fruit tones, full bodied...get this stuff, it's addictive, and with my tuna crunchy sprout salad and walnut cranberry bread, mmmmm to die for!
Bread and beer are, by far, two of my favorite food and drink. They are intertwined by virtue of similar ingredients and fermentation processes The only difference is the lack of flour in beer, hence the moniker "liquid bread." After so many posts about baking, I found myself thinking how strange I haven't been talking about beer with as much gusto as bread?
When I was in the Army in Germany, we drank lots of bier. Luckily, I was in the bosom of hops and visited amazing beer institutions like the braühaus. A good thing! Tankards, boots, steins, almost anything that could hold the beverage had a traditional name,a song, a method of ordering, even how to drink, all symbolizing something in ceremony of the culture that is beer.
In the past few weeks as the weather has warmed up, the seasonal urge for "a cold one" emerges as something offering satisfaction, flavor, and delight. And so preparing for our Memorial bar-b-que, perusing the shelves at Fairway market for sundry sausages and cheese, I spotted some fantastic looking beers and tucked a few in between the apples and pate!
Never one to shy away from a cold glass or room temperature ale like in Wales a few years ago, I picked out a wonderful brew from Brooklyn beer company. It's a recent addition to the wide selection of homegrown beers offered, but this beer is sort of a specialty Brooklyn Local 2, a golden brown colored ale with flavors of citrus, just perfect with Memorial Day grilling. Sharing it, my cousin concurred, offering up her quickly finished glass to be re-filled!
The other specialty or novelty beer I found on the same shelf was called "Hebrew, The Chosen Beer." Looking at the label, I thought it was a joke. On closer inspection, something stood out, the words "rye malt IPA.: Hmmm, speaking those words to myself, my ears peaked and the hair on the back of my neck stood up straight. Rye! This one I am tasting over the weekend. I have to be in the mood and maybe have to think of food appropriate to pair with this one?
So the other day after a trying shift at work, I stopped at Superiour Market, my local beer store. When I say "beer store," it should be pointed out that this store's windows are covered with all sorts of labels, some that I have never seen.
There are Belgian ales, fruit flavored, even one made with bananas and another with coffee! They also carry weisse biers from areas of Germany through which I have never passed, or at least I don't recall. There are also lots of American artisan beers, as well as French and Canadian and... you name it, they have it! This visit I limited myself to these two new brands, as my previous purchases were waiting at home for an indulgent weekend of good food and beer. So I spied a small bottle of beer called Cane and Ebel, with the interesting combination of Thai palm sugar and rye malt.
The other is Unibroue, a beer from Quebec that my brother told me about and swears it's a keeper, lots of yeast fermented in the bottom of the bottle!
I popped open this bottle after cooling it down, and was really pleased. It was sweet and reminded me of a beer I used to drink at a favorite beer pub, years ago. This would go so well with a onion tart. It's got a beautiful head and reddish color, almost smokey with a definite note of the rye I am happy to say.
The next few bottles I will open and try with some notes,suggestions for pairing perhaps? Beer is an old friend. Like wine, it's full of depth, sometimes maligned and misunderstood, but it's a drink that hearkens back to our early days as humans, cracked grain, a little water and heat, fermentation! It's magic.
Oh and please don't drink and drive, that is just stupid!