At last, we had come to the phase of the class where we explore one of the most important aspects of human civilization: brewing beer. I say that without any humor. Something that we had learned was that the discovery of fermentation was an indication for the beginnings of many civilizations. This powerful biproduct of yeast and sugar made it possible to store water longer, it provided necessary calories, and produced a nice sensation on top of all that. It was probably the most important discovery in the ancient world, aside from basic needs like foor, tools, and shelter.

It was really fascinating to see what went into the brewing process itself. We Boiled water and mixed in wheat and hops to extract sugar, then added malt extract and yeast so that it could ingest the sugars and create alcohol. We let it do its thing, and a few weeks later got to see a near final product. We siphoned the beer into a small keg, and poured some into pottery that we had made before. The beer at this time was flat, but a small taste and one could see it was quite delicious. We began a process of carbonation for the beer, and would have to wait another week for the final product. Meanwhile, we also experimented with a more simple process of fermentation. Like ancient Asian cultures, we mixed rice and balls filled with koji mold and yeast to try and make a sake-like drink.

During our final meeting, we got to finally see the fruits of our labor. The rice concoction was not quite like sake, but it was drinkable, contained a bit of alcohol, and tasted quite alright. As a final celebration, we got to try the beer that we had brewed, and it was fantastic. Cheers, it’s been a great ride.

-Justin Jiang

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