Sunday, February 24, 2008

Introduction and Preliminary Research

I would like to begin this blog with a few words of thanks to Professor Gordon McQuat, who took it upon himself to organize and teach the best history course the Halifax University Community has seen for quite some time. Also some words of thanks to everyone else involved with HSTC 3611: Brewing Science; notably Dave, Katie and Chris. Seriously, this project is an awesome opportunity.

So here's the deal. As part of a research project into the role of beer in the colonization of Africa, and the affect of colonization on the local drink practices, I am planning on brewing two different types of African Beer. The first will be a traditional Sorghum and Millet beer that was common to many parts of Africa before European colonization. The second will be a clone of a modern, colonial inspired beer, hopefully from the same region that the recipe for the traditional beer comes form. I am going to use a comparison between these two beers, along with my usual stack of hardcover books, to write my paper.

Right now I'm in the research stage. From what I've seen so far, my tratitional recipe will most likely involve equal parts sorghum and millet, with no hops. Some West-African nations have been known to use banana in their beer, so this might be interesting to try. If I was going entirely authentic then it would be an open fermentation, but I'm too much of a wimp for that. I'll probably use a fairly generic ale yeast, or perhaps a lambic blend.

As for the modern beer, I'm having trouble finding a recipe to clone. The issue is that it has to be an ale (I don't have a fridge to ferment a lager in), and most common African beers seem to be lagers. Hopefully a bit more research will find that for me, and then it will be a simple question of deducing a recipe. I'm open to suggestions!

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to find a place to buy some Sorghum and Millet. I'll be back soon, hopefully with some recipes.

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