For the past few months, my brother-in-law and I have been diving into the world of beer brewing. Let me tell you, brewing beer is an art! It demands cleanliness, meticulous preparation, precision, and a whole lot of patience.
I always thought I had the patience of a saint, but after brewing a few batches, I realised that I might not be patient after all. Brewing can easily take 4 hours or more. A major time-sucker? Preparing the wort.
Without getting too geeky, this is where you extract sugars from grains by heating them to specific temperatures with water, malted grains, hops, and other flavour enhancers. Depending on the recipe, this can influence the beer’s alcohol content, foam, and sweetness. Now, I’m not a huge beer fan mainly because of its bitter taste. Plus, drinking beers is a ticket to fat accumulation on the belly and I’ve been there and now try to avoid that.
On a recent trip to Odin, one of Amsterdam’s top health food stores, I stumbled upon a jar of barley malt syrup. A light bulb went off: “Is this like condensed wort?” Why not swap out traditional wort for this syrup, add water, and brew a quick beer?
With two jars of barley malt syrup in hand and some beer yeast and hops at home, I was all set for my brewing experiment. Here’s the simple recipe I created and used:
- Two jars of barley malt syrup (2x 450 grams)
- 3.5 liters of water
- Roughly 12 grams of hops
- A handful of verbena leaves
- A brewers yeast. I used 3 grams of Fermentis SafAle S-33
The Brewing Process:
- Combine water, barley malt, and hops (in a large herb bag) in a pan.
- Simmer for an hour.
- Add verbena (in a large herb bag) in the last 15 minutes .
- Cool it down quickly or let it cool in your fermentation vessel (sealed).
- Once it’s around 20-25°C, transfer the ‘wort’ to the fermentation vessel.
- Add the brewer’s yeast, add an air lock to the lid, seal it up, and store in a cool place.
- Wait two weeks.
- Bottle the beer, but first, add a sugar solution for secondary fermentation. I used 3% sugar (24 grams), but you might want to up that for more fizz and alcohol. Most recipes use a minimum of 4%, so you might better use 32 grams of sugar.
- Store the bottled beer in a cool place for another two weeks (the hardest part).
After waiting your very own barley malt beer is ready to be tried. Remember, from step 4 onwards, cleanliness is key. Sterilize everything!
So, how did my experimental brew taste? Surprisingly beer-like! It had that malty, hoppy bitterness, though the verbena notes played hide and seek. I’m no beer connoisseur, but I’d say it was a hit!
The beauty of this method? You can quickly try small batches and let your imagination run wild. Next on my list? A mix of coriander, Szechuan peppers, and maybe some rice syrup instead of barley malt. If you’re a flavour adventurer or experimentalist, this Health Store’s Barley Malt Beer’ method might be something to try!