Brew Beer Rich In Antioxidants
And Be Happy!
from wikiHow to brew beer
Brew beer that’s good for you! Beer is a source of readily absorbed antioxidants. Scientific studies indicate that the moderate consumption of beer, as well as beer-specific antioxidants, may help to promote cardiovascular health  and help to reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer.  Beer that is particularly high in antioxidants may have a longer shelf life, as it may be more resistant to oxidation.  This should result in higher quality, more stable sensory characteristics, such as flavor and aroma. Certain hop polyphenol antioxidants can also contribute to desirable foam stability. Beer is a complex beverage that is brewed using various ingredients and various types of equipment. Therefore, beer can be brewed to contain greater concentrations of antioxidants. Keep reading to learn how you can brew beer that’s good for you!
- How to brew beer rich in antioxidants. Choose the appropriate types of malted barley. Malted barley is the primary ingredient from which beer is made, and is higher in polyphenol antioxidants than most other grains, such as rice and corn (although corn is apparently a good source of polyphenols). A standard pale barley malt should be used as the base grain. A variety of darker specialty barley malts (including roast barley) should probably be used as well to add additional antioxidants. These antioxidants, such as melanoidins (Maillard reaction products), are formed when the barley is kilned or roasted at higher temperatures. Use a pound or more of a variety of these specialty malts so that the beer will have a variety of these antioxidants. Combine lightly kilned specialty malt such as melanoidin and crystal malts with darker malts, such as chocolate and carafa malts. Also, dark malts apparently provide compounds that help to keep hop polyphenols in solution in beer.
- Choose hops that are high in polyphenol antioxidants. Noble, low alpha acid hops such as the Saaz variety tend to have a higher polyphenol content than high alpha acid bittering hops. Fresh hops will also be a better source of polyphenol antioxidants, as the polyphenols will degrade over time. However, fresh hops must be used very soon after they are harvested, preferably within twenty four hours. As fresh hops have not been dried (kilned), about five to eight times by weight will need to be used compared to dried hops.
- Mash the grains as desired. Use any type of mash tun and a mashing schedule that is appropriate for the type of barley that is used. In this process, the milled grain is mixed with heated water. The water and grain mixture (the mash) is held at specific temperatures for specific periods of time. This enables the enzymes that exist naturally in the malted barley to become activated and convert (break down) the starch that is part of the grains into fermentable sugars. The mash tun manifold enables the sugars and other constituents to be efficiently extracted from the grains during the sparging process (see below).
- Lauter or sparge as desired. Fly or batch sparge in the mash tun or lauter tun. The goal here is to rinse or extract fermentable sugars from the grain and collect the resulting wort. Barley antioxidants such as polyphenols and important nutrients are also collected along with the sugars. The yeast that will eventually ferment the wort (after boiling and cooling, see below) will consume the sugars and produce alcohol. The yeast also requires the vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are provided by the malted barley. During fly sparging, a layer of hot water is maintained above the grain bed in the mash or lauter tun. As water is gradually added from the top, the wort is allowed to gradually flow out of the mash tun through a spigot that is connected to the mash tun manifold or similar device. During this process, a very rough filter bed is formed by the grain itself over the mash tun manifold, which enables the wort to be extracted and essentially separated from the grain. The wort is collected in the boil kettle.
- Boil the wort. The wort is typically boiled with hops for 60 to 90 minutes in order to extract the bitter constituents (essentially alpha acids) from the hops. The alpha acids are antioxidants, but powerful hop polyphenol antioxidants are also extracted during this time. It is apparently best to boil for a shorter amount of time, such as 60 minutes. A hazy, polyphenol-rich beer is what is desired, and longer boil times may result in clearer beer. Longer boil times may facilitate the removal of proteins that exist in the wort. The proteins that contribute to haze adsorb (bind to) antioxidants, so should not be completely removed. A 90 minute boil should generally be fine, however, especially if dark malts are used. It may be best to add hops throughout the boil to extract different types of hop polyphenols. Hop polyphenols and other constituents such as the bitter alpha acids are isomerized, degraded, and lost during the boil (depending on the exact nature of the constituent). Isomerized and degraded hop constituents are still important antioxidants. In fact, the primary purpose of the boil is to isomerize the bitter alpha acids. Un-isomerized and undegraded hop constituents are also important antioxidants, and can be extracted and preserved when hops are added near or after the end of the boil. Continue reading