Brewing dawn of civilisation beer


Introduction
Do a Google on "Ode to Ninkasi" or "Hymn to Ninkasi" and you will find lots of info, including the test of the actual hymn/poem 'brew manual. I won't repeat the info here, but what I have decided from the reading is:
1. Use 250g unsulphured sultanas mashed in a food processor (="the wine") as yeast source
2. Add honey, great source of fermentables (="the sweet thing")
3. Do a boil of the bread wort, adding some low alpha hops. I know hops were not used then, but they DID bitter the beer with skirret (ain't seen no skirret recently) so hops will do, hopefully no hop flavor will be evident.
4. Some Joe White Pilsener malt, crushed, will be added to the bappir loaves, the ancients did the same thing (OK, not with JW malt :) )
First Steep
This morning I grabbed a few kilos of the unmalted barley, poured it from one bucket to another for a while, trying to get rid of straw etc (the barley of the Schooner variety is pretty full of stem material, straw, incl some corns still attached to a length of straw)
raw grains as received
I then rubbed handfuls from one bucket into the next, trying to break the last corns from the stem, then ran rainwater into the bucket and swirled the grains around, carefully swirled the straw/unviable corns (hardly any) out the bucket & refilled with water, swirled etc until the water was pretty much free of straw, then put the lid on the bucket and placed it in my cellarette.
I will now let it steep for a while, then rub the grains into another bucket and add more clean steeping water, then repeat that until the grains are sprouted and rubbed to shreds.
steeped grains
The grains swell up enormously during the steeping!

The grains shown above started to smell so I chucked them on the compost heap! In Aug 2006 I tried again. This time I used bottled springwater as a pure water and did not cover the grains with the water
After only 3.5 days steeping, this is the result
grains sprouted showing rootlets
On the grains on the left side can be seen not just rootlets but the embryonic stem, the acrospire. The acrospire is about 1/4 the length of the grain, so another couple of days will have it at 3/4 when I will form the grain into the loaves and bake for a long time in a low oven. A scoop of JW malt, crushed will be added to the above as mentioned earlier in this blog.