hist-brewing: Gruit & unhopped ales

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Wed May 17 15:28:00 PDT 2000

    I got a note from my computerless friend Finsken today that ask that
i give the readership his advice on the best way to serve strong
unhopped North ales.  While I don't know anything about the history  or
origins of this method i know that it tastes great and is certainly a
change from modern ways of drinking ales.  I'd suggest you try the
following advice on a cold night.  The recommendations are as follows:

    "When one has a  well aged stock of  strong, casked old style ales
like Gottland Drinka or a sap based ale don't  carbonate it.  Instead,
wait a day and half or so before serving it to draw of  a liter or two
into a pot with 750 grams of  honey per 25 liters of  still ale.  Boil
the mix for half an hour or so & stick it back into the cask. Once the
ale has show signs of  healthy fermentation for a day or so  put a small
spoonful of  mugwort into your mug/glass with a few crushed spice nails
Fill your glass with the live ale and wait 15 minutes.  Then stick a hot
poker into the ale  for a minute or two."
    Oh, by the way spice nails is a term for East Indian Cloves.
Because i've had an inquiry regarding my last recipe i'll give some
additional information here:

    The Latin names for the
herbs used in the Sorenson family drinka are as follows:

bog myrtle: Myrica Gale
buck bean: Menyanthes Trifoliata
carduus: Carduus Benedictus

    In terms of  original gravity i'd say it should not be less then
1.080 and certainly should not be higher then 1.092.  My guess is that
due to a rather poor rate of extraction typical for the mash regimen
you'll likely get not get over 1.085.

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