Yes, we are here!

At FERMENTATION and MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-978-7464 or by email. Stay safe!


Rustic Revelry: Farmhouse Ales in Faraway Lands

Drink in the tradition of Old World brews and the modified equipment used to make them.

| Spring 2020

brewing-kettle 
Photo by Mika Laitinen

If you’re an all-grain homebrewer, your brewing inventory likely consists of stainless steel pots, maybe a modified cooler as a mash tun, various bits of plumbing equipment, and other pieces of modern technical gadgetry. People have been brewing for thousands of years, though, so what did they use before contemporary materials were available?

Fortunately, there are pockets of the world where brewers still use equipment and processes that have changed very little from the time of their ancestors. In Finland, Norway, and the Baltics, “farmhouse” brewing is a tradition that goes back to before Viking times. While plenty of brewers today use modern equipment and practices, some still create farmhouse ales using rustic methods. To understand how the traditional equipment and techniques work, a quick rundown of the all-grain brewing process is necessary.

Brewing the All-Grain Way

The process of brewing beer “from scratch” starts with mashing malted grains. (The more ambitious may even try their hand at malting their own grains.) Mashing is the process by which fermentable sugars and proteins are drawn from crushed malted grains soaked in hot water. In modern brewing, this is typically done by keeping the mash within a specific temperature range — usually between 145 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit — for a set period of time. This is known as a “single-step” mash. Some brews call for water to be added over multiple steps at increasing temperatures, which is known as a “multi-step” mash. The multi-step technique was developed to coax out additional sugars and soluble proteins from undermodified grains, which were commonly used during the early days of beer-brewing. In brewing and malting terms, “modification” refers to how much soluble protein is available in each grain kernel’s endosperm following the malting process. In the past, undermodified malts needed a protein rest to ensure proteins and amino acids were fully broken down and that the majority of the starch was released from the endosperm of the grain. Undermodified malts were required in the past because the malting process wasn't as efficient, mainly due to the equipment and techniques used.



In some cases, a decoction mash was performed, which involved removing a portion of the mash, boiling it briefly, and then returning it to the mash vessel, slowly raising the temperature of the mash to the optimal starch-conversion temperature, which is about 150 degrees. Some brewers today do this painstaking process because it can draw out additional rich, malty flavors not attainable through single-step mashing.

Today, stainless steel, copper, insulated plastic, and other modern materials help simplify and streamline this process. For most of human history, however, the mashing process was done in equipment made from wood and other natural materials. Fortunately, we don’t need to go back in time to see these ancient processes and this equipment in person, or to experience a traditional farmhouse brew.






webinar-online

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR ONLINE

Summer 2020
Learn at Home!

Eight courses, 56 workshop videos, interactive Q&As, exclusive offers, plus access to our private Facebook group.

LEARN MORE





Become a Fermentation Member Today!

Fermentation

Discover how EASY and HEALTHY crafting your own money-saving fermented masterpieces can be. 

Transform mealtimes like never before and stay healthy at the same time with a one-year membership to Fermentation for only $29.95. Learn to regularly include fermented food and drinks in your diet naturally, combat bad bacteria and strengthen your immune system.

Fermentation will open up your world to the foods you can eat to improve your health. You'll learn how to make them, how they originated and what tools and ingredients you'll need to create your own delicious fermented foods and drinks. Become a member today and save as much as 25% off the newsstand price!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

fermentation


click me