Making Barley Beer
Production of barley beer, the way it was practiced in Iron Age Europe, involves harvesting barley and soaking the grains for a period of time. The wet grains are spread out on a flat surface and turned until the grains sprout: that’s the malting process. After the grain has sprouted, the malted grains are dried in a kiln at a fairly low temperature (ca. 80 degrees C). After the grain is cooled, the malted and dried grains may be stored for later use.
Next, the grains are coarsely ground and water is added. The dissolved malt is mashed into a pulp, and the pulp is heated at low temperatures, perhaps using a stone boiling technique of adding heated rocks to the liquid. The low temperature causes the malt sugars to caramelize, and the fermentation process begins. After that, the mash is purified by filtering, and flavored. Hops were not used in beer until the Middle Ages, but archaeological analysis of the Iron Age sites suggests that barley beer might have been flavored by mugwort and carrot, among other things.
We’ll be having some local brew to celebrate Lammas and honour the havest god, John Barleycorn, at our celebration at Wolf Paw Tipi Village on 31 Aug.