Jump to content
Sturgeon's House
Sign in to follow this  
Toxn

The Homemade Alcoholic Beverages Thread

Recommended Posts

I'm going into another cycle of beer brewing.

 

Is there anyone else here who does the home brewing thing using all grain?

 

I've got one better; my brother recently tried making beer without using malted grains at all!

 

He started with wheat flour and separated the proteins out.  This is very easy, just time-consuming:

 

 

Next he added commercial amylase to the starch-water byproduct to turn the carbohydrates into something fermentable.  It seems to have gone wrong here; the amylase didn't do a good enough job, and the long-chain starches attracted other bacteria that soured it.

 

We're puzzling out the next move.  Perhaps using heat to break down the starches will work better?  That's what's used in mescal production.  On the other hand, using heat has a good probability of making a sticky, horrible mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 17/01/2017 at 0:03 AM, Collimatrix said:

 

I've got one better; my brother recently tried making beer without using malted grains at all!

 

He started with wheat flour and separated the proteins out.  This is very easy, just time-consuming:

 

 

 

Next he added commercial amylase to the starch-water byproduct to turn the carbohydrates into something fermentable.  It seems to have gone wrong here; the amylase didn't do a good enough job, and the long-chain starches attracted other bacteria that soured it.

 

We're puzzling out the next move.  Perhaps using heat to break down the starches will work better?  That's what's used in mescal production.  On the other hand, using heat has a good probability of making a sticky, horrible mess.

Sorry for seeing this so late in the day. I've also had a go at making beer using commercial amylase. You don't need to remove the protein beforehand (and a protein rest and rapid cooling of your wort will in any case remove a lot of protein as a byproduct of the standard process).

You do need to boil the wort once you've mashed out at 60-70'C. Beer is basically liquid growth media for bacteria (hops being a preservative that revolutionised the whole thing), so unless you want to drink your beer the day after brewing (ala unqombothi) you need to sterilise the wort before adding your yeast.

 

My suggestion would be something like this: use roughly ground grain (barley, wheat, rice, white maize or sorghum) in 2-4 times the weight of water. Get the mash up past its gelation temperature  (60'C for barley and wheat, up to 80'C for maize and sorghum) and then get it to 60-65'C before adding the amylase. Hold it there for an hour and then strain off the liquid from the grain (one way is simply to pour through a sieve till it is full of grain, then pour 60'C water through that until the liquid coming off is clear and unsweetened). Once you have your wort you can discard you grains.

 

Boil the wort for at least an hour; adding in any hops, herbs, spices etc as needed. Hop conversion is dependent on boil time, so calculate your weights and times accordingly. Generally the more phenolic your herb/spice is the better its preservative qualities. Off the top of my head the best antibacterial adjuncts other than hops are cloves, lemon zest, cinnamon and oregano.

 

Once you've boiled your wort, cool it as rapidly as possible. Remember that everything that touches the wort after the boil must be disinfected, so boil or bleach your fermentor, spoons, sieves etc. Once your wort is at body temp to room temp, you can adf your yeast. Getting a starter going is often recommended, but I usually don't bother and just pitch dried yeast in directly. You'll need about 10g of dried yeast for 10l of beer.

 

My process takes about 2kg of grain to bring an 8l batch up to 4% abv. So you should use about 62.5g of grain per 1% abv*litre. Fermentation should be in a closed container (either with an airlock or with the lid loosely placed on top) and should take at least a few days.

 

If you want to carbonate your beer I'd suggest sugar addition as an easy route. Which is to say: move your beer to a sealed secondary fermentor  (the bottle or keg) in a sterile manner and add suitable amounts of sugar. I generally make up sugar syrup using boiling water, put it into the seconday and then pour/siphon the beer over it to mix. I use about 5g sugar per liter of beer.

 

After bottling/kegging you should wait at least a few days for your beer to carbonate. Hopped beers often benefit from some conditioning here as well.

 

Using amylase powder instead of malt is going to lose you the benefits of all the other enzymes that help make brewing work; so your end result is likely going to be thin, cloudy and foamy-but-without-a-head. You'll very quickly notice if something is off in your brew (generally I take a sample before bottling to smell and taste) but here are the major things to look out for: slime or powdery residue on the surface of the beer, strong vinegar tastes or smells, metallic taste and warm dumpster smell.

 

On a final note: could you split this off to a beer brewing topic?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful!

Continuing with beer malarky, I've actually been having good results of late with a homemade recipe designer  (ie: a bloated and badly laid-out spreadsheet). Results from solver seem to show that any brewer wanting to lower costs should be adding adjunct sugars and using high-alpha hops for bittering. Which is obvious but at least tracks with reality.

 

Since I've been dicking with really janky homebrewing (sometimes even successfully) since 2012, I thought I'd share even more trite advice I've haphazardly gathered over the years:

- Get ye a thermometer and hygrometer. You'd be amazed how much of a difference it makes to your mash if you're at 55 rather than 60'C.

- Food-grade plastic buckets are wonderful and cheap. I use 10l ones because if I'm going to fuck up then fucking up 8l of beer is less painful than 16l.

- The 8l mentioned above is because filling a fermentor up to the brim has typically brought me only sadness and waste.

- Get ye a huge pot to boil things in. A heated water urn would be even better, but if you can afford that you're not doing janky brewing anymore.

- A wort cooler would also be nice, but see above. Ah well, sticking your fermentor in an ice bucket sort of works.

- Fuck irish moss and isinglass, gelatin is cheap and gets the job done.

- A halfway functional bottle capper is a worthwhile investment, though. Best yet, craft beer generally comes in those thick-ass brown bottles which you can reuse almost indefinitely. So drink up.

- Unmashed grains and refined sugars are hella cheap and can work just fine so long as you know where the limits are (generally less than 10% of the dry mass in sugars and less than 30% in unmalted grains) and how to process them correctly. And grain is such a huge part of the price tag on beer that it actually makes sense to cheap out here rather than on hops. And you are, because see above.

- Making a drinkable IPA is easy. Making a drinkable pale ale or lager is hard. Aim for big flavours when you start out, because they mask the little imperfections in your technique/process that show up in a very bad light with less strongly flavoured brews.

- Learn the theory behind all the steps involved in brewing, so that you know why you're doing something and what it looks like when it goes wrong. Cargo cult brewing is way to common, sadly.

- If there is one thing most likely to make someone else drink your beer, its clarity. People only think they care about interesting flavours, when what actually turns them off is cloudy beer or beer with floaty bits in it. This is why crystal weiss is a thing.

- Nearly all beer tastes a bit better after a month in a keg/bottle followed by a day in the fridge.

- Bleach is your friend. Just remember to wash it off after it's done its thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned the antimicrobial properties of herbs and spices, so here is some actual research:

https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&ved=0ahUKEwjt_d-u2tjSAhUrKsAKHUArC3AQFghbMAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ccsenet.org%2Fjournal%2Findex.php%2Fjfr%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F26027%2F17077&usg=AFQjCNF6yu3Nx9Fz0gOVT4OPZ8wqLG26NA&sig2=VFjjGoLkqoqfjXAQaR7V_w

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2672.1999.00780.x/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88925/

https://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:386245/FULLTEXT01.pdf

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijmicro/2016/9015802/

http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Spices.html

From the above, three things are clear:

  1. Phenolic content seems to correspond pretty well with antimicrobial activity
  2. Extraction in ethanol is better than in water
  3. There seems to be an endless pot of money allocated to testing common food items for antibacterial, antiviral or anticancer activity.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a go at making a beer based on Dolo, and it's been reasonably successful so far.

 

The results from 1kg of ground sorghum malt and 1kg of ground white maize is about 4% potential abv in an 8l fermentation. The decanting was done for 6 hours at 40'C to provide a protein rest - some natural souring occured during this time. The wort was mostly separated after the overnight saccharification step (starting at 65'C and continuing for about 10 hours), with seperation being accomplished by pouring the mash over a strainer and then shaking the strainer to separate out the wort and grist. The boil was for the standard 60 minutes, and included 5g of dried hibiscus flowers and 5g of bittering hops (SAB N/I 69 - 13.4% abv). Finings were added just before the end of the boil.

 

Extra additives were sea salt (a few grams) and spices.

 

The cooling was done by whirpooling the hot wort while it stood in a bucket of ice water. Whirlpooling wasn't continued for too long though, as I had to put my son down for a nap.

 

The beer is going to be very cloudy (this is always a problem with all-sorghum malts), with an ABV and bittering in the blonde ale range. This approach might be used (assuming that more rough-ground malt and maize can provide a similar abv potential) to produce something like an all-African weissbier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Updates - the dolo-style beer came out pretty well. About 4% abv, cloudy, pink, thin mouthfeel, slightly sour up front leading to a slightly sweet, floral aftertaste. Definitely an acquired taste, but drinkable. The major disappointment was the large amount of trub in the fermentor - I only got about 5.5 litres out of an 8 litre batch.

 

The gose is still very salty upfront, but strangely moreish. The major issue here is that it also seems to be very over-gassed. I'm not sure why.

 

Today's beer was a golden ale for a friend, next week will be a weiss with some black patent malt for colour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are different strains of yeast very picky about the types of sugars they will process? I know certain brewer's yeasts are labeled as beer or wine yeast, will "beer yeast" only work with the sugars in cereal grains for example, or does it just do better with those as opposed to, say, grape sugars?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mogensthegreat said:

Are different strains of yeast very picky about the types of sugars they will process? I know certain brewer's yeasts are labeled as beer or wine yeast, will "beer yeast" only work with the sugars in cereal grains for example, or does it just do better with those as opposed to, say, grape sugars?

My understanding is that the major difference between wine and ale yeast is simply the side flavours they produce, and their ability to handle alchohol.

A typical ale yeast tops out at about 8-10% ABV, while wine yeasts can hit 15-20% ABV in some cases.

 

Ale yeasts and lagers yeasts, on the other hand, differ in terms of their temperature ranges and where in the fermentor they end up. Ale yeasts top-ferment at higher temperatures, while lager yeasts bottom-ferment at lower temperatures.


Different strains of yeast can produce quite different side flavours. Weiss yeasts, for instance, produce noticeable clove and pepper flavours.

 

Most yeasts struggle with sugars like maltose, lactose and (to a lesser extent) fructose, so the types and ratios of sugars in your wort/grape juice will affect the alchohol content and flavour. Yeasts generally can't handle lactose at all (which is how you make milk stouts taste milky) and take a long time to deal with maltose (which is why maltose-leaning mashing regimes produce a sweeter, maltier beer).

 

High amounts of sucrose (over about 20% of the total sugar content) in your wort/juice will tend to produce vinous flavours, while more complex mixtures of glucose/fructose/sucrose (as in invert syrup/golden syrup) will affect the flavour much less. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/10/2017 at 8:22 PM, Mogensthegreat said:

True, but he did mostly the same process as that for vodka, but for a pretty simple deviation to make good ol' yeast-feed.

 

He turned the potato starch into a different sugar than would be the case for vodka production.

 

The quick 'n dirty version of the chemistry is that a starch (or carbohydrate) is the main energy storage chemical in a potato (and lots of other vegetables).  Starches are made of long chains of sugars.  Yeast can eat sugar, turning it into alcohol, but yeast cannot process the larger starch molecules, so to get vodka (or syrup) the starch molecules need to be broken down.

 

For industrial vodka production the potato starch would be broken down into the sugar maltose using the enzyme amylase.  An enzyme is a biologically-produced molecule (usually a protein) that helps a particular chemical reaction to occur with less energy consumption than that particular reaction normally requires.  Amylase occurs in decent quantities in wheat and other grains, and it's available in large amounts commercially, so it's pretty easy to get some and go to town busting down all sorts of starches into maltose.

 

Thing is, as Cody notes, maltose isn't very sweet, so it doesn't make very good syrup.  To get a sweet syrup, he needs to break down the starches even further into the glucose.  Cody doesn't have any fancy enzymes that speeds up the breakdown of starch into glucose.  He does have acid, which sort of helps, but isn't as effective as an enzyme would be.  So he ends up having to brute-force the reaction and uses lots of heat and time to get the starch to break down.

Nobody in their right mind would use the process Cody used for making vodka.  It's far less efficient than using (cheap, readily available) amylase to turn the starches into maltose, and it leaves behind salt as a side-effect of using the acid.  Cody's process only makes sense if you want syrup.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×