The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. : Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance
Since its inception in 1996, Stone Brewing Co. has been the fastest growing brewery in the country--Beer lovers gravitate to its unique line-up which includes favorites such as Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale. This insider's guide focuses on the history of Stone Brewing Co., and shares homebrew recipes for many of its celebrated beers including Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, Stone Smoked Porter, and Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. In addition, it features recipes from the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens like Garlic, Cheddar, and Stone Ruination IPA Soup, BBQ Duck Tacos, and the legendary Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings. With its behind-the-scenes look at one of the leaders of the craft beer scene, The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. will captivate and inspire legions of fans nationwide.
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Ten Speed Press
September 27, 2011
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Excerpt from The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. by Greg Koch
THE NATURE OF BEER
Before we get into the story behind Stone Brewing Co. and fun facts about all of our beers, let's take a look at beer as a whole: what it is, how it's made, and its history. Put on your safety glasses and lab coat. (Simple reading glasses or a proverbial thinking cap would be acceptable alternatives.) At times, this discussion is a bit technical and the tone is somewhat serious, but it's good information, damn it! And, in the interest of making this a complete guide to beer, we figured it best to start this epic tome, well, at the start with the simplest of questions: what is beer?
WHAT IS BEER? (NOT A STUPID QUESTION!)
Beer is an alcoholic beverage that is most typically made with four basic ingredients: malted barley, hops, water, and yeast. You may wonder how so many different beers can be made using just these four ingredients. Let's consult Stone's head brewer Mitch Steele and ask him to explain the role that each of these ingredients plays in the final brew.
"As the brewing saying goes, 'Malt is the soul of beer.' It provides the color, the body, the sweetness, and, perhaps most importantly, balances the flavor of our hops. (Not to mention that without malt, there would be no sugar for the yeast to ferment!) A good-quality malt is crucial to brewing good beer. We talk a lot about the 'backbone' of our beer being the malt component. A good malt blend, with the right (balanced) amount of flavor, sweetness, and body, provides the foundation for every one of our beers." --MITCH
It's My Own Damn Malt
Hordeum vulgare, or barley to you and me, is the fourth most cultivated cereal grain in the world. It's used around the globe for making breads, soups, main courses, and salads, not to mention being a key ingredient in livestock feed. However, before it can be used to produce beer, it must undergo a simple process called malting, which involves soaking the grain until it begins to germinate, or sprout, releasing enzymes that begin to convert the starches in the barley into smaller-chain sugars--sugars that yeast can convert into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
You're Not the Only One Getting Toasted
Okay, so you've got a ton of barley soaking in water, with enzymatic reactions abounding, but you've got to put a stop to the fun eventually. Once the sprout, or acrospire, has grown to 75 to 100 percent of the length of the grain, the barley is said to be fully modified. At this point, it's quickly kiln-dried with hot air, which halts the starch-to-sugar conversions, stops the sprout from developing into a full-on seedling ready to plant in the ground, and produces dried kernels of malted barley.
Lighter and darker styles of malt are produced by variations in the temperature at which the malt is dried and the length of time it's heated. Lighter malts with higher levels of fermentable sugars and more enzymatic activity (pale malt and pilsner malt being two of the most common) are referred to as base malts and make up the majority of the grain bill called for in any given brew. Other varieties, called specialty malts, are used more for flavor than yeast fuel.
Lighter roasts in which the sugars in the kernel have begun to crystallize, such as crystal and Vienna malts, often impart notes of caramel, biscuits, toffee, and bread, among others. Further roasting at higher temperatures produces darker malts, such as chocolate malt or black malt, which, added sparingly, can contribute robust flavors similar to coffee and chocolate, adding complexity and a touch of roasty bitterness.
The brewer's selection of malts is the keystone for any quality beer, as it affects not just the flavor of the beer, but also the aroma, the color, and the all-so-important mouthfeel. The following table outlines some of the malt varieties most commonly used in craft brewing, along with all of the varieties called for in the homebrew recipes later in the book.
Let's Get Cereal
Other cereal grains can also be used to make beer, though barley typically makes up the majority of the base with other grains added in smaller amounts. Wheat, rye, and oats find their way into some brews to contribute flavor and mouthfeel. The megabrewers use a lot of corn and rice to create their fizzy yellow stuff, since neither grain contributes any real discernable flavor, and they cost a fraction of what barley does. Bonus! (Well, for them at least. What they gain in cost savings, we lose in taste.)
"Hops are often called the spice of beer, as they contribute bitterness, flavor, and aroma to beer. There are literally hundreds of different varieties of hops available to brewers, and each can contribute unique flavors, aromas, and bitterness. Several of our beers are identified with a particular variety of hops. For example, Stone IPA is most identified with Centennial hops, one of our favorites. A signature hop flavor is what craft beer lovers often seek when they try new beers.
I get really excited when we have the opportunity to use a variety of hops that we haven't used before. We've had some fun with one-time brewing projects using varieties such as Nelson Sauvin and Motueka (from New Zealand) and Sorachi Ace (from Japan). That said, I'm a huge fan of classic hop varieties, like Saaz and Hallertau, which we don't have much opportunity to brew with here at Stone, and also East Kent Goldings, which we've used a bit in our Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. I tend to gravitate toward hop varieties that have unique flavor attributes, and we have fun trying to capture those flavors in our beers." --MITCH