Monday, March 12, 2007

The Night The Power Went Out and Rice Beer

Interuptimus Powericus
Last night the power went out for about 6 hours here. It was so nice and black here and the stars were fantastic. It's the first time I've seen the big dipper in over 5 years. The big dipper is prominent in Canada. So in the darkness we used candles and luckily it was not too hot to sleep. This morning the power is back on and fridge is working hard to make things cool again. I have some bottles of water to freeze for my experiment.

Today I will go into the city to buy groceries and look for supplies. My neighbour told me about a restaurant supply store that has many specialty items for chefs including thermometers, hard to find ingredients and spices. I hope to go there before getting some groceries. The trip to the city proper and back takes a few hours. If we stop and have some lunch and go to the mall it can easily turn into an all day event. LOL

Rice Beer from Malted Rice?
Yesterday, I found a research paper on the net from the Philippine Rice Research Institute that details making beer from rice. The paper provides some very interesting details for the home brewer. The link to the document in PDF format is here. The preamble explains the the economic reason for their experiments, but the meat of the process and the evaluation of the product is attractive to me. Instead of using hops, which are not grown here, the researchers used a blend of locally produced bark extracts called tangal and duhat. These are used to adjust the bitterness and colour of the beer. Tangal and duhat extracts have also been used as anti-bacterial agents in fruit wine production.

Rice in the brewing world is known as an adjunct and usually not a principal ingredient in beer. Normally only barley, hops, yeast and water are a real beer's ingredients. Sometimes brewers, (moreso in lighter American beers) use rice, Budweiser for example. In Indonesia there is a traditional drink called brem that is made from rice. Of course we all know of sake. I have used rice only once as an ingredient in a homebrew and it was only used a small amount of rice flakes. Rice adds to the alcohol content to your brew without adding much in terms of body.

I am curious to try malting some rice of my own to try it. The rice that we need is not the typical white, polished store-bought rice. We want to find the unmilled rice or palay as it's called here in Tagalog. The palay has the husk on it still and will need to be soaked and germinated. Once the rice is modified (sprouted) we are going to have to dry it. Drying is a good job for the sun here as it's hot enough to dry, but not so hot as to kill the amalayse enzymes. Drying is done a lower temperatures, like 50°C for until the moisture content is below 10%. I will be roasting some smaller amounts so I have darker malts to play with.

Speaking of roasting, a few Filipinos have told me of native coffee which is made from roasted rice. I have never tried it before but I have read of some commercial successes and even a rice coffee shop in Manila. Wow, lookout Starbucks?

Why go through all the trouble? Malted barley is an imported item here and in small amounts is expensive. If malted rice can cut my grain bill in half I am making a less expensive brew. It's worth the experiment. And hey, I like experimenting. I keep forgetting that rice is a grain like wheat, rye and barley.

Time to go into the city now. Best wishes.

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