HBW #4: Recreating Xenophon’s Armenian Beer (Part 2: Germinate and Dry)

Xenophon Passage
Germinating and Drying
Brew Day (All Lentil Beer and Pseudo-Xenophon)
Fermenting and Tasting

This is an update to last week’s post that outlined my experiment brewing a pulse-beer similar to that described by Xenophon in the Anabasis. I apologize for the drawn out, multi-post series, but I plan to Festina lentil-e* so that each step of the production is fully documented as I proceed through the brewing process.
*all the Latin scholars know how great that was

This week, I procured the raw pulse materials for the beer: 4 lbs. of dried lentils. Two pounds of these were germinated for this initial experiment. The remaining two pounds are reserved for subsequent brewing trials.

Lentil Bags.jpeg

I placed the 2 lb of lentils in a shallow tub and added 3 liters of water. The lentils were left to steep in the water for 24 hours. At the end of this process, many of the grains had split.

Steeped Lentils.jpg

After draining, I left the moistened lentils to germinate and sprout in the open air. This process allows the roots and shoots to emerge from the seed and took  20 hours for the moistened lentils to sprout 0.5-0.75 inch shoots. For barley, the germination process breaks the exterior seed casings and produces enzymes that will help to convert the starch to fermentable sugars. This experiment will help to determine the fermentability of lentils on their own and together with other grains.

Sprouted lentil.jpg

The moistened, sprouted lentils were then dried and kilned to stop the process of sprouting. In order to accomplish this, the lentils were poured into a baking pan and placed in a 160o F oven for ten hours. The lentils were then stirred by hand every hour. At the end of this process, the lentils turned a dark green-brown color and were significantly reduced in size. The original 2 lbs. of lentils left 2.293 lbs of sprouted grain, suggesting that a 15% moisture content remained to the pulse. These lentils will be crushed and used to brew beer!


Dried Lentils.jpg

For more on the science and method of barley malting, see this helpful BYO article. Next week, I will present the lentil brew day.


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