Brew Your Own Six Pack!
The staff at Mediamatic joined the brewers of the Myco-Brew team, Isa Miralles and Hugo Freijanes, to learn the craft of beer brewing. Three different recipes were trialled: a wheat saison, an American amber ale and a chocolate milk stout.
The day started with measuring out the right quantities of malt and barley grains, followed by a trial and error process of milling at the right gauge to ensure the grains were broken up enough but not too much. This is to ensure maximum grain starches are exposed to grain enzymes during the mashing process to produce sugar. If the grains are not milled enough then the enzymes will not be exposed to the starch and there will be little alcohol produced in the fermentation process later (Beer Science!). If the grains are milled too much, they will be turned into flour and will be difficult to remove from the brew.
After the grains had been milled, it was on to the mashing process. The brews were kept at constant temperatures for 10, then 60, then 10 minutes, before the grains were then removed. This is known as sparging.
Once the grains were drained from the brew, more water was added for boiling. When the brew reached boiling point it was a race between the teams to keep their timers in check in order to add the right hops at the right time. Hops do not necessarily change the flavour - they can act as a preservative, as well as a way to remove the proteins from the beer.
The brew has to be chilled after being boiled for an hour, and a large tube mechanism was used to pump cold water past the liquid in order to cool it quickly. The cooled liquid is then transferred through a filter into a fermentation bucket.
It is of the utmost importance to keep the fermentation bucket as sterile as possible as any foreign contaminants at this point in the process could vastly affect the flavour of the beer. We took turns disinfecting our buckets to be sure.
Before adding yeast, the large buckets of beer were shaken to optimise oxygen distribution throughout the brew, as yeast loves Oxygen (so Isa told us). The buckets were then finally transferred to the team's specially designed, temperature-controlled fermentation chamber.
The beers must now be left to ferment for 2 weeks in their buckets, before they can be transferred to bottles to continue their fermentation process for another 3 weeks. With the great team spirit that went into brewing these beers, the taste will be worth the 5 week wait.