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07 May 2008

Brewing Chicha - El Ultimo Día

This will be the final post on chicha for now. Yesterday I tasted the it and it was sort of sour with a little sweetness remaining, so I decided to let it go for another day and then I'd share it. Tonight after classes I tried it again - it has a slight wine-like aroma, but still tastes kind of watery. I think I just added too much water during the mash, so next time I'll try to keep a better ratio. After drinking a couple of cups I did notice some slight intoxication, similar in intensity to beer, but my mind was a bit clearer than it normally is when I drink alcohol. I don't know if there are different properties to this alcohol (it's just ethanol after all) or if there is something else going on in it that changes how it affects me. It's also possible that this was entirely psychosomatic.
I brought some over to Natalya Lowther who loaned me the grain mill, and Dianna Henry who does seed saving and has given me some advice on future possibilities for corn varieties (she also told me today that the sweet corn I used is referred to as the "mother of all sweet corns" implying that it's the original and all others are somehow descended from it - interesting, no?). Tomorrow I'll share it with a few other people, but it won't be drinkable for much longer.
In the future, my plan is to use locally grown corn and my own yeast culture to brew it. This should give some local flavor to the finished product. Also, I won't use quite as much water in the mash. Some things I'd like to fix, but I'm not quite sure how are the head and the flavor. I Don't know why, but this brew has no head - it started out frothy a few hours after I pitched the yeast, but then the froth dissipated and there's nothing but a few big bubbles now. For some reason, the spices that I added - cinnamon and nutmeg - didn't come through at all in the final product. It's possible that the flavor boiled out, and I should add them later in the boiling stage, or that I should add more, perhaps, but other than that I don't really know.
In any case, I'll keep experimenting, and I'll keep everyone who is interested informed of my progress.

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