Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Man learns to drink beer:

Contrary to popular belief the rise of agriculture was probably due to man's desire for something to drink that would give him a buzz and forget all about his troubles. The desire for alcoholic beverages such as beer probably predates the origin of bread. Mankind has always had a hankering for something that wasn't necessarily good for him. The early beer is a case in point of this principle. In order to change the starch in the grain into sugar so that he could brew beer was very good trick. Even today there is a tribe in Africa that one they want beer start chewing on mouths full of grain so that the enzymes in their saliva will break down the starch molecules into sugar molecules. After doing this they spit the contents of their mouths into a jug full of water that they allow to ferment into beer. This is probably not the most hygienic way of doing the conversion of starch, but at least it works. The fermentation of this primitive beer generates enough alcohol to kill any pathogens that may have gotten into the beer through this highly unhygienic method of making beer. Unlike modern beer this beer is sweet and has no bubbles.

By the time we got to the time of the ancient Egypt Egyptians had gotten beyond spitting in a jug. They had also learned to bake bread. Both tasks they left up to their women for the most part the bread was made of barley. A special bread was baked for making beer that afterwards was crumbled and added to water and allowed to ferment. The beer this produced was very thick and sweet and like the earlier beer had no bubbles. Everyone from the Pharaoh down drank beer even the children. Beer drinking went on at least three times a day and was even given to the builders of the pyramids.

The art of making beer changed through the ages, but the essentials remained the same. The raw material was grain and somehow mankind managed to convert it’s starch to sugar that was capable of fermenting. This turned the liquid into one or another kind of beer.

There is actually an argument as to what came first beer or wine were I a betting man I should guess wine came first because it can be made from fermented fruit, and this occurs naturally unlike beer that has to be made in a process that requires several steps to complete.

In our constant efforts to improve this blog we have located a supplier of beer and wine making supplies. They are at http://www.homebrewing.org/?affid=13

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