hist-brewing: Gruit and unhopped ales

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Fri Apr 28 12:52:14 PDT 2000



Jeff Renner wrote:

> Several thoughts.  There are literally thousands of brewing yeasts in the
> National Collection of Yeast Cultures (http://www.ifrn.bbsrc.ac.uk/ncyc/)
> in UK, and who knows how many at Weihenstephan and other collections.  Your
> chances of tracking down on from centuries ago based on its name or
> description are remote.
>
> The "buttery" taste of Northerndown is likely a reference to diacetyl,
> which has a buttery taste and is typical of many yeasts and which can be
> increased in beer by temperature and oxygenation manipulation,
> particularily by "dropping" the ferementing beer at ~24 hours.  Dropping is
> a traditional process in which the beer is racked off the sediment after
> ~24 hours into another vessel with vigorous splashing.  This oxygenates the
> yeast cells at a time when they have depleted their lipids, which are
> needed for cell membranes.  (A recent post to HBD by Dr. Clayton Cone of
> Lallemand Yeast suggests that 14 hours may actually be the optimum time to
> add oxygen).
>
> Preparing a starter following the recipe for "tawny yeast" seems to me
> unlikely to successfully capture any specific yeast, although serendipity
> may favor you with the capture of some desirable strain.
>
> Jeff
>
> -=-=-=-=-
> Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, c/o nerenner at umich.edu
> "One never knows, do one?"  Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943.
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe from this list, send email to majordomo at pbm.com containing
> the words "unsubscribe hist-brewing" (or unsubscribe hist-brewing-digest, if
> you get the digest.) To contact a human about problems, send mail to
> owner-hist-brewing at pbm.com

Thanks for your response,

    According to the English/Manx/Cornish folks i've talked to and according to
the recipes i've seen racking is often first recommended after fermentation
starts in the manner you described.  Having used this method and having seen Dr.
Cone's postings i  can concur that a diacetyl flavor is defiantly noticeable.
However, the flavor doesn't seem nearly as strong as i've seen in some currently
cultivated strains used in the more exotic Belgian and German ales.
    This morning I placed calls  to Donnsby and Filby inquiring about this
"Northerndown" yeast bother.  Filby thinks that it's the result of cultivating
wild yeasts found on locally grown horehound, tansy & lemon balm which has been
used in a great many batches of  ales that have been "dropped according to the
old method".  Donnsby thinks this is nonsense because he's found that such a
yeast has a very strong leathery quality which he not has seen attributed to any
old gruit or shavings ales that he's familiar with.  He thinks that sloes,
pennyroyal and alecost are far better sources for wild yeast.  He's  also is
convinced that egg whites, one half per quart of starter,  and yarrow are vital
additions to any starter.
    This fuss & bother can't help can't help but to make me think that the
yeast(s) in question is actually a combination of several wild yeasts which are
built up using rather odd starters.  I'm also suspecting that that
dropping/racking and several generations of  mutations are responsible  for the
actual quality of the yeast.
    Unfortunately, i'm tempted to agree with you that chances are quite dodgy
that i'll ever be able to actually identify the exact strains used in the
manufacture of  most  these curious ale styles.



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
To unsubscribe from this list, send email to majordomo at pbm.com containing
the words "unsubscribe hist-brewing" (or unsubscribe hist-brewing-digest, if
you get the digest.) To contact a human about problems, send mail to
owner-hist-brewing at pbm.com



More information about the hist-brewing mailing list