Alton Brown does beer! I caught the homebrewing episode of my favorite cooking show, Good Eats, this evening (which is kind of timely, I was wondering recently if there was one), and I thought it was pretty good, except for a couple of technical mistakes.
First, he mashed the crystal malt. Er, well, except the crystal malt doesn’t need mashing; during the malting process, the grains are heated to mashing temperatures so the starches are converted to sugars while still in the grain. So technically, crystal malt is already mashed and trying to mash it again just doesn’t work. However, steeping the grain in the water pre-boil is a good idea, because it will extract the sugars and flavors from it. I wonder if he "mashed" the grain to give the average person watching the program an idea of what the big breweries do to make beer…
The other gaffe was with the term "dryhopping". It was used here in reference to adding hops to the end of the boil, which is actually known as the "finishing hops" stage. Dryhopping is when you add the hops to the fermenter, after the boiling process.
Otherwise, a good episode. Alton Brown knows his stuff, and I was amused at the beginning when he described a "good" brewing supply shop as one that isn’t decorated. Although I missed the very beginning—I caught the end of the opening monologue thing (my wife taped it for me, but started taping after she saw it was about brewing) and I thought he was talking about bees and honey, so I thought honey would play a part in the beer making. But it didn’t, at all. Not even as a priming sugar for bottling. Oh well, just color me confused.