Potatoes have a long history dating back to 8,000 to 5,000 BC when they were first grown by Inca Indians in Peru. It was brought to Europe by Sir Walter Raleigh by the Spanish Conquistadors in the mid-16th century. Since then, potatoes have been fried, cooked, and mixed with other foods and have become a staple food source for many. So how did it become an ingredient in beer making?
Almost any food containing complex or simple sugar, such as starch, can be fermented into beer. Potatoes such as sweet potato and sweet potato have naturally high sugar content, have sufficient natural amylase enzymes, and sufficient diastatic power. They can convert their own starch into sugar without any additional processing.
Potato beer brewers use raw potato flakes or raw potatoes in brewing. The level of protein that can be found in potato flakes is equivalent to the rate that can be found in malted grain. Potatoes can add as much protein to your beer as malted grain.
Raw potatoes are prepared before brewing, peeled, cut into small cubes, and boiled for about fifteen minutes. It is then dried, crushed, or whipped. Crushed potatoes are added to the foundation water, and after mixing perfectly, it can be brewed like a regular beer with a little extra stirring.
This process will result in a neutral-flavored mash that has all the floral notes of the hops and becomes a beer. But keep in mind that potatoes can dry out a beer, but often results in a quick-dry beer. But despite the endless possibilities that potatoes can be consumed, there are pounds to be wasted each year. That’s why a Dutch company called Instock, with the help of an Amsterdam-based brewery, created a unique food waste custom beer called Pieper Beer. This beer is made with a lot of potatoes and has a bitter floral taste similar to Pale Ale.
The high sugar content provides a lot of sugar to the beer used in fermentation. In fact, on Thanksgiving, potatoes were famous and Americans realized the flavor potential of sweet potatoes that led to brewing. For this reason, there is a wide variety of dark, pale, and custom-made potato beers that are hugely popular today.