Emptins / Ale Barm

Emptins, from “emptyings”, are the colonial American equivalent to the older Ale Barm. Both are made from the leftover yeasty dregs of the brewing process, and used in either baking or to start fermentation in new brewing projects.

Ingredients: Original Batch                                   More Manageable Batch

  • handful hops                                   ~1/4 oz. loose leaf hops
  • 3 quarts water                                6 cups water
  • Flour                                                  ~3 cups flour
  • emptins                                             1 Tbs. Emptins / sourdough starter

 Boil the hops in the water for 15 minutes. Strain out the hops, and put the liquid in a large bowl. Whisk in flour until the mixture resembles a sort of slurry, similar to the texture of pancake batter. When this goop is no longer hot, add the emptins or starter, and allow to sit overnight.

Provided your yeast mixture is warm and happy, it will go crazy in the hoppy-flour mixture. Mine doubled overnight, overflowing the large mason jar I had it in. Lesson learned. The final mixture will be thick and bubbly.  

Cover the mixture with a loose lid, and place in the fridge, as you would a normal sourdough starter. The yeast solution will begin to look like an eldritch creature, putting down tendrils in the jar until the whole thing separates into the heavier starter on the bottom, and the hops water on top. 

When you want to use the starter, simply stir up the solution, adding a hearty dash of new flour into the mix. This will feed the starter and help perk it back up. For best results, feed the starter the day before you wish to use it. Otherwise, feed your starter a handful of flour every week or so. 

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