hist-brewing: Re: Old Ale

Paul Robertshaw probertshaw at sciencephoto.co.uk
Fri Dec 19 02:00:23 PST 1997


Dear Glenn,

> I'm fairly new to this historical brewing list and don't know to what extent
> recipes might have been shared in the past.  However, does anyone have a
> recipe for 12th century English ale?  Thanks.

I don't know if anyone has replied to you privately, but I've done a
bit of research into this subject and as far as I know [prove me wrong
someone?] there aren't any 12th century ale recipes as such. 
English ale consisted purely of malt, water & yeast.  It has been
estimated by looking at prices of malt and ale & likely profit
margins that a 30-gallon barrel of the strongest
commercially-available ale was made using seven bushels of malt. 
The malt was made from barley (most usually), oats or wheat (wheat
was the most expensive grain). Weak ale was drunk in the de Bryene
household in 1419 where 2 quarters were used to make 112 gallons
(bearing in mind that an ale gallon was 282 cubic inches). 

Hope this helps,

Paul Robertshaw

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