The following is from an email I sent a couple of friends, that I thought might be handy information here:
So I had a sneaking suspicion that it was nothing more than unfermented beer, and it appears I’m right. Japanese call it Muchiga, apparently.
It really is nothing more than beer malt, steeped in hot (or cold) water!
I don’t know how this never occurred to me before.
Amazon has the stuff for $12 a pound!!
Beer supply stores will sell a pound of grain, for what, $1.50? And with a focus on freshness, and in any shade, or roastiness you could like. You can go as light or dark as you like, and my guess based on my brewing experience, is that most restaurants serve us barley tea in a very light crystal malt range. The “lovibond” Scale is the scale of roastiness, and darkness of the grain is directly related. This is from my local shop site:
There are HUNDREDS of types of roasted barley. Some with Peat, some like Honey malt that impart a natural sweetness, and some like biscuit malt that impart a nuttiness, etc. This is what gives beer its character.
The ONLY difference with beer, is that the sugar has been fermented out with yeast.
So anyway, that’s what I figured out today. I’m going to buy a few extra ounces of different Malts next time I buy a beer recipe, and try this at home. Awesome stuff.