A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to write an article for our monthly newsletter entitled “How to Speak Beer Geek.” I decided that I would be able to produce something, since beer lingo is what I normally speak. But where to begin? As I was stacking bags of malt, a few ideas began to germinate, much like the grains of barley in a malting plant, whose acrospires are allowed to reach three-fourths the length of the kernel before the grain is dried. A few ideas were crystallizing in my brain, like sugars on caramel malt crystallizing during roasting in the maltster’s kiln. As I was mashing in that day (the process of mixing crushed malt with hot water), my thoughts were being simplified and broken down, much like the starches of malted barley breaking into simpler sugars through enzymatic reduction in the mash.
Concepts began bubbling over in my head in much the same way wort (the liquid extracted from the mash) would boil over in an overheated kettle, and I became a bit overwhelmed as my thoughts spun like the cyclone of the whirlpool tank, where hops settle and wort is clarified. But my thoughts were not clear, rather they were a churning mass of fermenting potential. Finally, like yeast settling to the bottom of a tank, a process known as flocculation, in which cells first aggregate and then sediment, my mind settled on a singular idea: I don’t know how to speak “beer geek” at all!
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