Wednesday Food: Happy Brew Year’s!
Last week, immediately after arriving home from my LAX-ORD non-stop, I got onto Ashland avenue and headed due south to Brew and Grow. With the help of a delightful staff I pieced together a beautiful homebrewing set and selected a Brewer’s Best kit for Imperial Pale Ale.
What this means, dear heteronomous, is that I have launched into the world of homebrewing.
I have no idea if this moment, right now, is the quiet before months of disaster, disappointment, and exploding syrupy bottles– I told you I have anxiety about yeast and all their goings-on– but that is a risk I simply must take. Not only is it a new year, but I have also turned a year older. 2009 was predominately a food year for me. 2010, let me write it here for all to see, is the YEAR OF BEER.
If you, like me, are a homebrewing neophyte, take a gander at my introductory glossary after the jump…
ABV- alcohol by volume, which is determined by subtracting the terminal gravity from the original gravity
Airlock- device that allows CO2 to escape carboy, without letting in more oxygen
Ale- beer that ferments at 60-75F degrees, with top-fermenting yeast
All grain/ full mash- raw grain base for beer, as opposed to malt extracts, which are convenient for homebrewing
Aroma hops- added last in the boil to establish aromatics
Bittering hops- added at the beginning of the boil to add bitterness
Bottle conditioned- living yeast in the bottle produce CO2, generally these age well
Brettanomyces (“Brett”)- genus of yeast popular in brewing and winemaking
Carboy- glass bottle resembling Sparkletts’, used for primary or secondary fermentation (see picture*)
Cask conditioned- fermentation in the cask or barrel, that produces CO2
Esters- chemical compound responsible for your beer smelling so good, especially fruity notes
Fermentation- metabolic process by which yeast convert sugars to alcohol and CO2
Flavor hops- added in the mid-late boil contributing to both flavor and aroma
Hydrometer- device that measures gravity (density of the beer compared to the density of water)
Lager- beer that ferments at 34-50F degrees, with top-fermenting yeast
Malt- grain (barley) that has germinated and been dried or roasted
Malt extract- concentrated syrup (LME) or powder (DME) that eases homebrewing
Mash- process in which crushed grains are mixed into hot water, often steeping like tea, when enzymes change starch into fermentable sugar
Original gravity- density of the wort before fermentation, determines ABV
Pitching- adding yeast to wort
Priming- adding sugar to fermented (alcoholic) wort to re-stimulate yeast before bottling
Saccharomyces cerevisiae- brewer’s yeast, the little buggers that make your beer bubbly and boozy
Sparging- removing (and rinsing) the grains from the mash, which then becomes “wort”
Terminal gravity- density of the wort after fermentation, determines ABV
Thief- handy device used to extract samples of the wort from the narrow neck of a carboy
Wort- liquid extracted from mash
*This was taken on the fifth day of primary fermentation for my Imperial Pale Ale
NOTE: my sources include but are not limited to the following:
All Belgian Beers, Hilde Deweer- encyclopedic coverage of the beers of Belgium
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, Charlie Papazian- an essential tool for the both beginner and expert homebrewer
The Naked Pint, Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune- an informally written yet comprehensive guide to craft beer, aimed at the female reader
Tasting Beer, Randy Mosher- a thorough introduction, this also includes details on food pairings and cooking with beer
Ultimate Beer, Michael Jackson- the best way to get close to an absolute beer master
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