BEER YE! BEER YE!
Upon unpopular demand, the Amber theme was chosen to explore a universal type of beer that no one seemed to like.
To broaden our horizons, we agreed that Amber beers could be anything between a Red Ale and a Brown Lager, so that participants could have a wider variety of beers to choose from.
Considering that the term “Amber” had a short definition, I chose to explore the malting process – mostly responsible for the amber colour – and share my findings with my favorite beer buddies.
Amber ale is a term used in Australia, France and North America for pale ales brewed with a proportion of amber malt and sometimes crystal malt to produce an amber colour generally ranging from light copper to light brown. A small amount of crystal or other coloured malt is added to the basic pale ale base to produce a slightly darker colour, as in some Irish and British pale ales. In France the term “ambrée” is used to signify a beer, either cold or warm fermented, which is amber in colour; the beer, as in Pelforth Ambrée and Fischer Amber, may be a Vienna lager, or it may be a Bière de Garde as in Jenlain Ambrée. In North America, American-variety hops are used in varying degrees of bitterness, although very few examples are particularly hoppy. In Australia the most popular Amber Ale is from Malt Shovel Brewery, branded James Squire in honour of Australia’s first brewer, who first brewed beer in Sydney in 1794.
MALT – The Heart of Beer
So it’s with a shy face that I started explaining the three stages of malting :
STEP 1: STEEPING – Up to 48 hours
The steeping process initiates malting by providing water and oxygen to the embryo.
This is where we let the grains steep in water in order to bring moisture content up in the grains. This starts the process of germination which is when the roots actually start to emerge from the seed.
At this very early stage in the evening, steeping was compared to “tea-bagging” – thanks to all who had the generosity to explain – which would become a recurrent theme through out the evening. Civilutionized is the term we choose to define ourselves.
STEP 2: GERMINATION – 3 to 5 days
The aim of germination is to grow the barley grains. This allows the development of malt enzymes, and these enzymes modify the structure of the barley endosperm by breaking down the cell walls and the protein matrix.
When the grain has a moisture content of around 46%, it is transferred to the malting or germination floor, where it is constantly turned over for around five days while it is air-dried. The grain at this point is called “green malt”. The green malt is then kiln-dried to the desired colour and specification. Malts range in colour from very pale through crystal and amber to chocolate or black malts.
STEP 3: KILNING – 24 to 36 hours
The last step is drying and kilning the grains. This is done after the grains have fully modified. We put the grains in a big kiln and dry them out to keep them from growing too much. Then after they have dried we heat them up and allow them to develop the color and flavor we all love! Different temperatures and different times create the long list of malts we all know
For additional information and for your viewing pleasure here are some interesting links found during this research:
- Craftwerk – MUNCHIES (A Vice Channel):
- The British “From Barley to Beer” is quite complete:
- Malting Stats:
- Woman’s Game:
And now… THE BEERS!
AMBRÉE D’AMOUR, The Golden Lion Brewring Company – Lauren
- Smells weird
- It’s like the water from Flint, MI
- Beer that tastes like nothing
- Ok, next.
BRST° Rating: 2.22/5
AMBRÉE AMER – La Chouape – Allegra
- Cross-genres: IPA meets Amber malt
- Really awesome aftertaste
- A chewer
BRST° Rating: 3.77/5
MONK IN THE TRUNK – Inlet Brewing Co. – Geneviève
- Metallic smell
- Spicy bread flavor
- Textbook amber
- Would like to be excited but not
- Cloth and sweaty
BRST° Rating: 2.3/5
SUZANNE MARCEAU – Microbrasserie de l’Ile d’Orléans – Braden
- Almost puked
- It’s meh
- Grandpa malt
- Could be a brunch beer
BRST° Rating: 1.95/5
VLIMEUSE – Microbrasserie St-Arnould – Chris Scully
- Ultra promising on color
- Middle of the road
- Amber expectation met
- Kind of beer my dad would love; “It’s pleasant”
BRST° Rating: 3.22/5
CHARLES HENRI AMBER – Brasserie Les 2 Frères – Corey
- Don’t know if I want it in my mouth
- 10/10 get wasted with this stuff
- Hip Hop Horray!
- Love the freshness
- Smooth ale flavor
BRST° Rating: 3.81/5
WESCOT – Broadway Pub – Fabien
- Beyond floral, perfume
- Too fragarant
- Can’t feel the amber
BRST° Rating: 2.5/5
TYRANNOSAURUS GRUIT – Beau’s – Dave
- Earthy, ruby beer
- Deserve’s it’s own category
- Lovely creativity
- Tastes like a juice cleanse
- Can appreciate on an intellectual (!) level
- Doesn’t taste beer
BRST° Rating: 3.72/5 (Overrated)
SWORDFISH – Le Naufrageur – John
- These guys make good fucking beer
- Light for it’s style
- Good to “meh”
BRST° Rating: 2.91/5
BROWN ALE – Pit Caribou – Chris Thorne
- If you don’t like it you’re an idiot
- The Manischewitz of beer
- First sip good, then not so much
- Too malty
BRST° Rating: 3.13/5
BROWN LEFFE – Anheuser-Busch – Peter
- Like candy, dried apricots
- Flat taste
- Monk piss
- To sweet
BRST° Rating: 2.5/5
And then… The Winners!
BEST IN SHOW: AMBRÉE AMER, La Chouape
SURPRISE: TYRANNOSAURUS, Beau’s
BEST LABEL: Tie between MONK IN THE TRUNK & TYRANNOSAURUS
SESSIONNABLE: AMBRÉE AMER, La Chouape
On to you, Philippe Philoppe and yer stinky Farmhouses!
That Girl From Beerstitution