hist-brewing: Postings???

Wylie A. & Gail D. Smith wyliesmith at isomedia.com
Tue Sep 16 22:24:40 PDT 1997


After reading more about SCA brewing competition, I see that the
documentation is worth as much as the beer!  So sorry, had I just known!

I usually don't even post notes when I brew...now I must change...

I am going to base my Middle Ages Ale on this article:

Taken from http://www.beerhunter.com/brewers/index28.html

Brewers up through the middle ages (prior to about 1500) typically flavored
their beers with spices to balance the sweetness of the malted barley and
also to act as a preservative. Often a mixture of spices, called "gruit"
(or sometimes "grout" or "grut"), was used. While gruits were commonly used
throughout Europe, there were considerable differences in the spices
comprising the gruit from region to region, and probably from brewer to
brewer within an area. One of the most detailed accounts of brewing with
gruit is a book by Clive La Pensée called The Historical Companion to
House-Brewing. In this book, La Pensée talks about common differences
between English and German gruit formulations at various times in history.

Europeans seem to have added every possible organic thing to their beer at
one time or another. La Pensée mentions numerous plants that were added for
flavoring and preservative qualities. These include ground ivy (alehoof),
bog myrtle, dandelion leaves, horehound, lavender, marjoram, mugwort,
nettle, sage, sloes, tansy, valerian, woodruff, yarrow, and many others.
Generally, it seems that the herbs were added to the wort, but sometimes
they were added to the finished beer. Did they call this "dry-yarrowing?"

Even though hops quickly became the spice of choice for beer, there is
evidence that others continued to be used fairly often. In his 1822 book,
The Private Brewer's Guide, John Tuck describes a number of spices used in
brewing. Some of these would seem common to modern homebrewers, while
others might be deemed radical, and some downright dangerous. Tuck
described coriander as "... an excellent flavour, not to be used too
freely." He said caraway seed "gives a beautiful flavour to ale." Tuck had
also evidently experimented with dried orange peel, ginger, licorice, and
ginseng.

In his booklet, Old British Beers and How to Make Them, Dr. John Harrison
provides two recipes for "Gruit Ale" from about the year 1300.



Gruit Ale
Recipe for 5 US gallons

9 lbs pale malt
7-1/2 lbs cara-pils malt
8 gr sweet gale (myrica gale)
8 gr marsh rosemary (ledum palustre)
8 gr millfoil or yarrow (achillea millefolium)
ale yeast

Use a single-step infusion mash at 150 degrees F for three hours. Mash out
at 170 degrees and sparge to get 6 gallons. Boil for 40 minutes, then add
the gruit (your spice mix). Boil another 20 minutes. Chill and pitch yeast.
Ferment at 65-70 degrees. Bottle as usual and age 4 months.

This should produce a beer with a starting gravity of about 1080.



Mark Stevens has been homebrewing for 10 years. He is a certified beer
judge and is co-author of the homebrewing equipment and gadget book Brew
Ware and the homebrew recipe book Homebrew Favorites, both published by
Storey. 

My Middle Ages Beer was based on the article found at

www.cs.ubc.ca.spider/lalondel/SCA/ale.html

(which is presently not available, sorry!)






----------
> From: Wylie A. & Gail D. Smith <wyliesmith at isomedia.com>
> To: bjm10 at cornell.edu; hist-brewing at pbm.com
> Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Postings???
> Date: Tuesday, September 16, 1997 4:53 PM
> 
> Actually, what I found is the malting process at the time was
inconsistent,
> to say the least, so I added "just a bit of color" with the caramel and
to
> get it "In class" with English Old Style as is standard today.  This is
to
> simulate the uneven malting that may have been prevalent in the times.
> 
> It is only 1 pound in 25, so still, its close!
> The source was from the Rialto postings, making reference to the Abbey at
> St. Pauli.  Shall I find it for you?
> 
> 
> ----------
> > From: bjm10 at cornell.edu
> > To: hist-brewing at pbm.com
> > Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Postings???
> > Date: Tuesday, September 16, 1997 7:06 AM
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Given the fact that crystal/caramel malt was invented in the 1800s, why

> > do you include it in a "Middle Ages" beer?  Also, what was your
original 
> > source for this recipe?
> > 
> > 
> >
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