hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing and the SCA

pwp at cs.cmu.edu pwp at cs.cmu.edu
Wed Apr 7 15:12:28 PDT 1999

< In a message dated 4/5/99 11:02:48 AM EST, NTMOORE at SMTPGATE.DPHE.STATE.CO.US 
< writes:

<<  << Also, where do you
<<  draw the line? If I sparge, which I will always do, that seems ok because
<<  it is an efficiency change that has minor effects on the finished product
<<  (assuming you adapt the recipe for this) >>

To which, on Wed, 7 Apr 1999 08:48:30 EDT, PBLoomis at aol.com replied:

<         The question is, are you allowed to use a [definitely non-Period] 
< thermometer?    8-)
<         Scotti

To be honest, I would (and have) turn a hefty thumbs-down to either
sparging or the use of a thermometer in trying to recreate something
from significantly before the invention of either (in turn).

Being able to temperature-control the mash gives a significant
increase in the efficiency of the extraction, and thus allows for less
expensive batches.  While using a thermometer isn't the only way to
achieve this end, it is a darn good one.

Sparging is also a toughie.  In my modest experience, a good sparge is
more effective for washing sugars out of a mash than even a "triple-mash"
method.  Though doing a double or triple mash does help get better
efficiency, and is about as effective as a half-decent (though not
_good_) sparge.

The reason I think these are both important issues is that using these
more modern techniques are going to give somewhat different *tasting*
results.  A lower mash temperature is going to give a different
mixture of simple vs. complex sugars, hence a different sweetness and
body in the final product.  It will also result in a different amount
of tannin being washed out of the husks.

So sure, doing it "right" for an e.g. pre-1600 batch might involve
using twice as much (or even more) grain.  But I also feel that the
result will be much more authentic.

So in general, I'd *much* rather see a recreated beverage use (many)
reenacted techniques.  (But you can skip using the lead pot, even
though it would have added a bit of extra sweetness. ;) )

        -- Paul / Tofi (OL)

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