hist-brewing: Re: Domesday Ale

Jeff Renner nerenner at umich.edu
Fri Feb 13 07:16:38 PST 1998

Thanks to Henry Davis, Scott Mills and Paul Robertshaw, who replied to my
question about the Domsday Ale.  The proponderance of oats is surprising -
I remember being surprised before.  I'm going to try it nonetheless.  Five
significant figures for the gallonage is suspicious, the ratio of
pounds:gallons comes out surprisingly close to 4 (3.99+), and the ratios of
barley:wheat:oats are virtually 1:1:4.  I wonder if there was some
creative, ex post facto bookkeeping going on to make the abbott happy.  It
wouldn't have been the last time monks did this sort of thing; it's
generally accepted that Gregor Mendel did it with peas.

I also seem to recall that a the current British imperial gallon is of
later origin than the (reputed?) gallon of the US, so I think I'll go with
4 lbs/gallon.  It sounds about right.  While I get about 30 p*p/g for a
sparged batch, I will get less for a non-sparged one, so this will probably
get a little under the target of 1100 as  Scott Mills reports he did.  Or,
I may use a little more grain.

I had thought to use no herbs (knowing that hops were not used), but I may
consider some other herb as suggested by Scott.  I will be using some dark
grains as it is my understanding that all grains were dark until the 18C or
so due to the vagaries of kilning.  (A very little smoked malt might be
appropriate as well, but I don't like smoked beers).  Besides, without the
bite of dark grains, I think it would be insipid and cloying.  Now that I
see how much oats was used, I certainly won't try to used flakes, both for
mechanical reasons and for enzymatic ones.  I don't think I'll go with oak,
though, as it is my belief (based on posts to HomeBrew Digest as well as
other sources) that even if English oak imparts flavor when new (a disputed
point on HBD), very likely it would all have been extracted after the first
few brews.


Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan c/o nerenner at umich.edu
"One never knows, do one?"  Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943. 

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