Chicha de Molle beer

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by midastouch, Dec 15, 2021.

  1. midastouch

    midastouch Initiate (12) Sep 4, 2020 Massachusetts

    I’m trying to recreate as close as I can get to ancient Chicha. For corn I have frozen purple corn, dried purple corn, malted yellow corn, and dextrose. For other fermentables I have available are brewers malt, Carapils malt, malted quinoa, and molle (Peruvian Peppercorn).


    For a fruit adjunct I am thinking of using Prickly Pear. Do you have any suggestions for any other fruit adjuncts in addition to or a replacement for this?


    Do you think it would be necessary to get any pre-gelatinized flake corn?
     
  2. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (769) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    If you are going for authentic you will need to gather old ladies with strong jaws and good teeth. I'm not sure if dentures are a good idea. I would recommend rehydrating the dried corn as well.
     
  3. midastouch

    midastouch Initiate (12) Sep 4, 2020 Massachusetts

    I know what you are talking about and I got the necessary enzymes to process the corn in a similar manner to back then.
     
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  4. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I believe Charlie Papazion said that the yeast was derived "from the feces of unweaned infants". Wonder what Dogfish used for their version?
     
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  5. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Zealot (530) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Hahahahahaahah good one jerry
     
  6. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Zealot (530) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Any word on E. coli counts, lol.
     
  7. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I think this info was in The Homebrewer's Companion, but don't know where that book is right now.
     
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  8. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    The lowering of pH during fermentation should kill them - just like Lambic.
     
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  9. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Yep. Page 78.
     
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  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,435) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    In my edition (copyright 1994) of Homebrewer’s Companion the index only indicates one entry for Chicha (pg. 375):

    “Chicha – Corn beers of the South American high country. Corn is boiled, then “mashed” buy women who chew corn and spit the juice into a fermentation pot. Enzymes in saliva are similar to the enzymes in a mash, breaking down starch to sugar”.

    Needless to say but there is no discussion of yeast in the above.

    I have the book Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-created by Dr. Patrick McGovern and Chapter 8 is entitled Chicha: Chewing Our Way to Corn Beer. A fair portion of this chapter discusses how Dr. McGovern cooperated with Sam Calagione to re-create a Chicha at Dogfish Head Brewery. But there is also quite a bit of discussion about Dr. McGovern’s travels in South America drinking various sorts of Chicha beers. In his discussion on Peru he writes:

    “The best yeasts are shared by the women of the village. By fermenting in the same maq’as jars over and over again, you could keep the same yeast humming along.”

    I quickly scanned through the Chapter but I was not successful in determining what the origins of that yeast used to ferment Peruvian Chicha.

    There is a recipe provided at the end of the chapter for a homebrew interpretation of Chicha and the yeast listed are: Lallemand Belle Saison, WLP566 Belgian Saison, or Wyeast 3711 French Saison. Maybe Saison yeasts are listed since Chicha beers should have low(er) final gravity values?

    Cheers!
     
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  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,435) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    You must have a different edition from me. On pg. 78 of my book is a discussion of "Secondary Ions" and "Mineral Salts".

    Cheers!
     
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  12. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    In the opening 2 paragraphs of the yeast chapter.

    edit: 5-6 pages past the secondary ions discussion.
     
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  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,435) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Thanks for the tip. Yup, on page 86 of my edition is does indeed discuss how Charlie heard from a "very dedicated researcher of indigenous..." that yeast is sourced from baby poop.

    I was unsuccessful finding this earlier since the word "Chicha" was not used on page 86.

    I will send an e-mail to Dr. Patrick McGovern to see whether he can corroborate this. If I hear back I will post what he has to say here.

    I am off to a New Year's Party; bringing six different 'brands' of homebrew but none of those are Chicha.

    Happy New Year's to you!
     
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  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,435) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Dr. McGovern promptly responded to my e-mail query:

    “I can’t say that I know the source of the Peruvian chicha yeast, and I am not the researcher Charlie refers to in his very strange (apocryphal?) origin story. Maybe, Alan Eames, another “Indiana Jones of beer” who worked in the Amazon? I’m not really sure why my brewing consultants went with a saison yeast. You might drop a line to Doug Griffith. Sam might also have some good suggestions.”

    So, unfortunately no insight into what was the ‘original source’ of yeast for the Peruvian Chicha beers he consumed.

    Cheers!
     
  15. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I would assume spontaneous fermentation or a sacred spoon that was permeated with yeast (a little like kveik in the old days) but I like Charlie's story better.
     
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  16. Beer_Life

    Beer_Life Initiate (24) Dec 5, 2020 New York

    I want to start by saying that I'm fairly confident Papazian's theory is bullshit. For all his talents he has a very poor bullshit detector, or simply has low standards for what he will pass along as fact.

    That having been said there is a curious coincidence here, which is that the STA1 gene, responsible for diastatic yeast, has been detected in exactly two places. First, as we know, in certain domesticated (never wild) yeast species such as saison yeasts. Second, in human feces in French Guiana. You can read about it here:

    http://beer.suregork.com/?p=4068

    And it stands to reason that diastatic yeast would be helpful in brewing chicha since the conversion of the starches was likely a hit or miss thing.

    [Edited to add a quote from the blog post I linked to: "The link to ‘Beer 2’ was expected (the saison strains can be found from here), but the French Guiana link was definitely unexpected. The villagers produce and consume a traditional starch-rich beverage called cachiri, so maybe STA1 (allowing starch fermentation) has given the strains a fitness advantage there? Anyways, exploring that was outside the scope of this particular study, but it should definitely be clarified in the future."]

    But again, I want to emphasize, this is just an interesting coincidence as far as I'm concerned. I very much doubt that people were using feces to ferment chicha.

    Separately, very recently (like within the last 1-2 episodes) Denny and Drew discussed malted corn on their Experimental Brewing podcast. You can buy it from Sugar Creek malting in Indiana:

    http://www.sugarcreekmalt.com/store/p46/BLOODY_BUTCHER_CORN_[MALTED]_.html

    That's the way I would go if I were going to brew a chicha.
     
    #16 Beer_Life, Jan 1, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
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  17. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

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  18. Beer_Life

    Beer_Life Initiate (24) Dec 5, 2020 New York

  19. Beer_Life

    Beer_Life Initiate (24) Dec 5, 2020 New York

    I missed the edit window, but I did a little googling and found a Wikipedia page mentioning cachiri, the starchy drink apparently consumed in the village in French Guiana where STA1 positive yeast have been detected. Here's the Wikipedia page:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inga_edulis

    And here's a quote from the page:

    "In Colombia the arils are also used to prepare an alcoholic beverage called cachiri for a festival of the same name. The native women chew the arils and spit the mixture into a vat, where it is left to ferment."
     
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  20. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I would guess that diastatic yeasts evolved in numerous places where sugar was in short supply, or there was an abundance of starch that other fungi were not taking advantage of. There are probably a lot of them out there if someone looks hard. How many of them could make a drinkable beverage is another matter...
     
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  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,435) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    “Diastatic strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae possess the unique ability to hydrolyze and ferment long-chain oligosaccharides like dextrin and starch. They have long been regarded as important spoilage microbes in beer, but recent studies have inspired a re-evaluation of the significance of the group. Rather than being merely wild-yeast contaminants, they are highly specialized, domesticated yeasts belonging to a major brewing yeast lineage. In fact, many diastatic strains have unknowingly been used as production strains for decades. These yeasts are used in the production of traditional beer styles, like saison, but also show potential for creation of new beers with novel chemical and physical properties.”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32170387/

    I recognize what you are stating here. Perhaps over the next few years we will learn more here?

    Cheers!
     
  22. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (769) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Hey, I know that guy... I've met Drew, but I actually know Denny...
    #namedropped
     
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  23. rodolito

    rodolito Initiate (128) Feb 3, 2003 California

    I had some amazing chicha in Peru that had their small, local strawberries in it.

     
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