hist-brewing: Odense Old Style Ale - conclusion

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Wed Jun 21 23:21:01 PDT 2000

    At long last and with apologies for the delay comes information on
how to actually make one of my favorite styles of ale. Transferring the
recipe into modern home brewing terms was undertaken by my friend
Sorenson while the translation of the original into the first post on
this subject was handled by Finsken.  All measurements when applicable
are given in modern American measures as most of the readership seem to
be Americans.  Any readers from the U.K. should have little problem
translating the measures into imperial units.  Any continental readers
should feel free to contact me for metric equivalents.
Oh,  the * symbol means that the reader should consult the notes at the
end of the document.

Nine gallons

Grist Bill:

 malt, pale: 16 pounds
 malt, amber or brown (smoked): 8 pounds *
 oats, malted:  5


 treacle, pale: 4 pounds
honey or dark treacle: 4 pounds


Fir, branches:  a goodly amount
Fir, bark: 3 handfuls


Wood Sage or yarrow "brew", i assume extract : to taste
Hyssop, i assume dried: a cup
blackthorn berries (also known as sloes berries), crushed: a handful
woodruff "sugared & thickened", i assume to be syrup: 2 cups
"star spice", dried and crushed: 2 spoonfuls *


  Boil 15  so gallons of  water along with a bunch of  young fir
branches till the water changes color to a deep green.  This generally
takes 30 to 45 minutes.   The water then should be drawn off and set
aside while the branches dry in sun.


    I would suggest that a single stage infusion mash in the 155-158
degree Fahrenheit range be used  for convenience's sake.  The fir laden
water mentioned in the previous step is used for the strike water.  In
this instance you'll be using roughly 12 12  gallons when you mash in.
If  the temperature of your mash heat drops out side the range i would
suggest that you draw off  a gallon or so of  wort, boil it and
reintroduce it into your mash tun, stir well and check to see if your
mash is within the right temperature range.  If it's not just repeat
the aforementioned procedure until it is.   After roughly 2  1/2 hours a
mash out should be performed with the remaindered  of the fir laden
water once it has been brought back to a boil.

Smoked syrup production made easy:

    Making this smoked syrup is a rather time consuming and complicated
practice when one follows the old methods.  Luckily their is a simpler
way to get something similar if  not dead on.  I certainly would not use
this method for a period ale i'd submit for a local competition  as the
locals would know its not the real deal.  However, the following is
close enough that it should trick any but the most critical
audience.     To do so take 4 pounds of  treacle or honey, a hand full
of  well smoked malt crushed into a flour, a couple of pinches of  bark
and place them into a pot along with a pint of  water and stir well.
Vigorously boil the mixture until it becomes a thick glue like mess.

  The following excerpt from the first posting on this subject should be
easy enough to follow :  "As the sweet liquor is drawn off  the grist
take the first  fifth of  it and boil it along with a handful of  bark,
half  the hyssop, half the star spice and half  of  the fine (i.e.
light) syrup.  The remainder of  the sweet liquor is drawn off  on to
most of the smoked syrup, stirred well  and allowed to cool.  The sweet
and spiced liquor is then casked upon the dredges of a fine ale."
    In order to make the bittering extract suitable for 10 gallons of
ale  take 4 ounces of  wood sage or  yarrow and boil vigorously along
with  20 ounces of  water for around 30 minutes and then strain off the
bitter brew.  The bitter extract is best stored in sterile, sealed
    I would recommend that roughly 4 or 5 ounces of  the bitter extract
be added to the boiled portion of  the wort rather then added to your
primary ferment as stated in the original recipe because of  improved
anti septic performance.

A Note About Yeast:

    I have had this ale with a variety of alcohol tolerant yeasts that
came out well .  I would suggest that you use 16 ounces of slurry per
gallon of ale you intend to make.  Pretty much any yeast suitable for
barley wines, triple and quad bocks would work with this recipe.  I have
found that this ale should be fermented between 63 & 68 degrees F.  I
would not recommend the use of  wine, champagne or mead yeasts with this
recipe as the result would be too dry and lacking in balance.


   Once again the original recipe provides sound guidance: "After the
ale stops working add the remainder of  the hyssop and wood sage or
yarrow  bittered brew as preferred so as to better the ale.  Then add
the remainder of the fine syrup and bark to the ale after 4 days.  After
30 days pass sample the ale to see if it meets expectations.  If not add
add a bit more bittered brew or perhaps a little smoked syrup.  After
another 30 days have passed taste the ale again bittering it if
needed.  If the ale meets expectations take the thickened & sweet
woodruff and place it into the cask.  After a week add the remaining
spices and wait a further week before drinking.  If against hopes the
ale taste young wait a month further before consuming.  This ale is
bettered by the addition of  a spoonful of crushed juniper berries to
one's cup several moments prior to consumption."
    In a previous post i sent in i found a source for woodruff syrup
which is what i would recommend be used where "thickened & sweet
woodruff" is called for.  You could also take 3 ounces of  dried
woodruff along with 4 cups of water and 2 cups honey and boil them to
together until you get a thick syrup and use it instead of  the
commercial equivalent if you are concerned with cost.
    If you add juniper berries to your drinking vessel as mentioned
above make sure that they are fresh, clean and lightly crushed.  A
tablespoon per pint should suffice if allowed to sit for 6-10 minutes.

*  Notes*

    In so far as the malt selection is concerned either amber or brown
is fine, although
i prefer brown, i would suggest that a mixture of  the two be used as
most American brewers are not familiar with brown malt and may find it's
flavor too assertive.  In a pervious post i talked about how to smoke
malt using an American style grill.  This procedure works fine and
should be employed for this recipe.
    If you can't get malted oats you could use rolled or flaked oats
provided that you mash them separately with an equal amount of  barley
malt before adding them to the main mash.  If you do this i would
suggest that you mash the oat/barley mix for 30 minutes at 130 degrees
Fahrenheit before raising the mash to 150 degrees for an additional
    A fair amount of  controversy arose in past posts regarding the
nature of  the so called "star spice" .  Rather then bashing that bit
about again i would suggest that you just use your favorite anise.  I
use use roughly 50% more then is called for in the above recipe and
recommend the same.

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