hist-brewing: historical mashing/new "old ale"
Andrew M. Hartig
andrew at butter.ucsb.edu
Thu May 14 13:29:22 PDT 1998
Newbie brewer with a couple of questions:
1) In reviewing early (i.e. 1500-1750) sources (i.e. those found in
Renfrow, _Sip Through Time_) for beer/ale brewing, the mashing process
that seems to be called for is bringing the water to a boil (or almost a
boil?) and then pouring it (softly/gently?) over the malts in another
tub. This is then left to sit for 1-3 hours (or until the "second water"
is ready), and is then "let out" of the tub and off of the grains into a
boiling vessel where it is then boiled (or gently heated?).
It doesn't seem that the idea of mashing at a controlled temperature
(i.e. with the use of a thermometer, @ about 160 deg. F) came about until
1800 or so. (BTW, when _was_ the invention of the thermometer?)
Does anyone out there have experience with this sort of "infusion" mash?
I am interested in doing this (after an already failed attempt -- I think
my water was not hot enough so my wort was really weak [compared to what
I was expecting], plus an infection crept into the secondary, reminding
me the importance of sanitation!]. Advice is welcome (and hoped for).
2) (This also relates to #1) My hope is to do a kind of new "old ale",
using not any particular early source (1500-1600), but kind of a
conglomeration of. Here are my thoughts:
For 5 gallons, use:
8 lbs. 2-row malted barley
1.5 lbs. local wildflower honey
.5 oz. hops (Cascade)
1 pk. Edme ale yeast
Based on Digby's "Small Ale for the Stone" (and because I don't care too
much for the bitterness of hops), I am planning on boiling 4 gallons of
water with the .5 oz of hops for near 1 hour. Then pouring this mixture
over the 8 lbs of malt (kept in a mesh bag) into a plastic
primary/bottling bucket (i.e. has spigot at bottom for racking/bottling),
letting it sit for 2-2.5 hours (as per Digby), and then racking back into
boiling vessel (mesh bag helps keep debris out).
Then per later practices, I plan on sparging the rest of the grain by
pouring two one gallon batches of boiled water over the grains
(waste-not, want-not). This should bring total volume of water to be
boiled in boiling vessel to approx. 5 gallons (my brew-pot only holds
5.5!). This will be boiled/simmered for about 75-90 minutes (to get hot
break), with the addition of the 1.5 lb. honey for taste/higher sugar
Wort will be slow cooled, transfered to plastic primary, and pitched with
Edme ale yeast the following day. After one week, will be transferred to
glass secondary for two weeks (allowing more sediment to fall), then
bottled with use of gyle for carbonation.
The 8 lb. of grain is based loosely on the "1577" beer recipe -- figuring
that through conversions the malt required is just a little over 8 lbs.,
plus oats and wheat equalling about a total of 1.5 lbs. Honey, being
about 80% fermentable sugar, is being used instead of the oats and
wheat. I am using Edme, only because I have used it in the past, so I
know more or less what to expect. All told, I think this could yield a
maximum (on paper) SG of 1.059, with a maximum possible alcohol of roughly 8%.
How does this sound to others? I tend to be a bit on the "lazy" (or
should I say "relaxed"?) side, so I am not interested in keeping a
careful watch over the mashing process (i.e. thermometers and controlled
heat), so I would much prefer to brew this using the "infusion" technique
described above. I am also hoping to start this on this Sunday (5/17).
My past experience includes a couple of "ok" meads (the last one not
having enough honey), and (as I said before) a "practice ale" (which I
didn't get to try, but followed pretty much this above receipt). Any and
all advice very welcome. Flames too! (even though they should be
reserved for heating wort)
Thanks in advance,
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