Around two months ago, I found myself once again exploring the aisles of Dun Yong, one of my favorite Chinese grocery stores in Amsterdam, While strolling through the store, my eyes landed on a plastic cup labeled “maltose.” Intrigued by the unfamiliarity, I couldn’t resist the temptation to learn more. Maltose, I knew, was a type of sugar, and I suspected it had potential in my culinary experiments.
The word “maltose” evoked thoughts of malted grains, the very grains used in the preparation of beer. Could this “maltose” substance serve as a substitute for barley malt, as described in my previous post, for another quick beer-making adventure?
Without conducting extensive research, I decided to purchase two cups of maltose. Once back home, I delved into understanding this new acquisition.
Maltose, turns out, is a sugar produced through the fermentation of barley and rice. Sometimes referred to as malt syrup or malt sugar, maltose possesses a viscosity somewhere between syrup and sugar, less sweet than the latter and extremely sticky.
While you might not have used maltose in your own kitchen, you’ve likely enjoyed it in dishes like Peking duck, mooncakes, or various Chinese sweets.
How does it differ from the wort used in traditional beer recipes? Firstly, maltose has a significantly lower water content. Further exploration revealed that maltose constitutes the primary carbohydrate component of wort, typically making up about 50% of its total carbohydrates. So the idea of brewing a quick beer with maltose could work, but of course water needs to be added and it has to get aroma and flavour. Why not create a beer predominantly from ingredients found in the Chinese grocery shop? Incorporating white tea and crushed coriander seeds seemed like a good approach. Here’s the recipe I made and used:
- Two jars of maltose syrup (2x 500 grams)
- 4 liters of water
- Approximately 12 grams of hops
- 9 grams of crushed coriander seeds
- 35 grams of white tea
- Brewer’s yeast (I used 3 grams of Fermentis SafAle S-33, suitable for maltose fermentation)
The Brewing Process:
- Combine water, maltose, and hops in a pan. A tip: warm the maltose cups in water before adding them to the pan to make handling easier.
- Simmer for one hour.
- Add the crushed coriander seeds and white tea during the last 15 minutes of simmering.
- Cool the mixture down rapidly or let it cool in your fermentation vessel, ensuring it’s sealed.
- Once the temperature reaches approximately 20-25°C, transfer the “wort” to the fermentation vessel.
- Add the brewer’s yeast, attach an airlock to the lid, seal it, and store it in a cool place.
- Wait patiently for two weeks.
- When ready, bottle the beer, but first, add a sugar solution for secondary fermentation (I used 6 grams per liter, totaling 24 grams).
- Store the bottled beer in a cool place for an additional two weeks (4 weeks is even better).
So, how did my experimental brew taste? Surprisingly, as a beer with personality. This beer had good foam, body, and a bold, pleasantly bitter, IPA-like flavor. I found it highly enjoyable and I even had to resist the urge to consume my stock of “Peking duck IPA” too quickly.
Encouraged by the results, I decided brewing two more beers using this approach. The second recipe incorporated cardamom and chamomile, while the third one went wild, featuring Amarillo hops, hibiscus, anise, crushed coriander seeds, Thai bird’s eye chili, and a touch of sea salt.
The significant advantage of brewing beer in this manner is its simplicity, consistency, affordability, and the room it provides for flavour experimentation.