Most important?

General brewing ingredients discussion

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Most important?

Postby Witch Doctor Dale » Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:51 pm

Basically beer is made from malted grain, water, hops, and yeast. In order of importance, list which is more important. This should be a poll but I'm not that computer literate. In other words, a basic recipe, consisting of 10 pounds (5 gallon batch) of malts, water, yeast and hops which in your humble opinion make the most difference?
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Postby JJJ » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:22 pm

That's a pretty impossible question to answer.

Vary any one of those enough (not so sure the water will affect too much) and you have completely switched styles...

Friar Tuck - "This is grain... which any fool can eat. But for which the Lord intended, a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about..... beer."
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Postby blksabbath » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:42 pm

For years and years and years...and years and years before that, people made fermented beverages without yeast. I know, I can you do that?

Well, If you don't know what it is, how can you account for it?

Brew some beer, crush some fruit, milk some bees or whatever then give it a stir with the magic stick. Letting the vessel sit outside overnight so the moon rays hit it. Maybe even spit into it for goodluck. I promise you'll see the magic process of fermentation take place. Now, whether or not you are able to stomach what the ferment-a-fairies magicallly made for you is another story. :D
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Postby Witch Doctor Dale » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:23 am

I'm off today to gather some water bubbling out of limestone at Blue Springs, will make an ESB from it this weekend. Will the resulting ale taste different enough to warrent such a journey. My vote leans towards the yeast being the most important, I know that using floor malted malt makes a better English style ale than American 2 row, and the hops variety changes the final flavor greatly if late additions are used, not sure its all that important in the bittering side. Was curious as to how these things get ranked by my fellow brewers.
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Postby JE » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:16 am


No doubt that you have already begun the drive down to Blue Springs to get the "bubbly", but I feel it is definitely going to be a good experiment. If my mind is working right, the natural minerals found in that spring water should (especially since it is flowing through Limestone) resemble the water used in a lot of European (especially older) brews.

Personally, I think it will make a great ESB...of course all the other factors will change things too.

The original question, IMO, is impossible to truly answer. Anything you do differently regarding the four main ingredients will change the beer. Using American hops vs. European, using American yeast strains vs. European, using English malts vs. American malts, and even using spring water vs. tap water... It will all change the characterisics of the beer in some way.

Just hope this doesn't end up being the best beer ever, unless you like driving to Blue Springs every week to get more water!!!! :wink:
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Postby Michael » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:05 am

I think this is a bit more obvious. You can make beer without malted barley (there are many other malted and unmalted grains that have been used). You can make beer without hops (have been throughout history) and single yeast strains (wild yeast are always available). You can't make beer without water. Maybe this is too simplistic.

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Postby Benjamin R » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:09 am

Seem to be missing the key ingredient in all my beer though...more beer! Every batch I make has at least a 6 pack in it, although judging by the awful wit I made last time, it has quite a bit more.
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Postby Witch Doctor Dale » Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:49 am

Is putting beer in beer a spiritual thing?
Returned from my expedition with 8 gallons, was 12, but turning the last corner before the house, one bucket tipped and I lost 4 gallons. Will be brewing it up tomorrow.
Did manage one trout, 16 inches long, my first truly wild trout as Blue Springs gets no stocking, a blue ribbon trout stream. It was by far the brightest colored trout I ever caught, so the trip was a great success.
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Postby Witch Doctor Dale » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:38 am

Checking into my house water supply shows that I'm probably drinking Meremac river water as opposed to Mississippi or Missouri river water like many fellow brewers. So...unless they are seriosly depleting minerals in the water treatment plant, the spring water and river water are probably pretty close to each other. In a few weeks I should know for sure.
Everyone else enjoy brewing this weekend?
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