hist-brewing: Welsh fruited table ale - part 2

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Fri Jul 21 14:36:20 PDT 2000

    Questions regarding how one can make the ale now given the rather
vague nature of some of  the instructions has afforded  me an
opportunity to experiment with different production methods.  Because
the British isles have always had a reputation for producing well
modified malts i suspect that complicated mash regimens more common to
my little corner of the world are inappropriate for the application at
hand.    As a result, I attempted to implement an obsolete mashing
practice for this recipe  as was described by  Roy Suggsden's "The
Curious &  Quaint Ales of  Our Forefathers" (1912).   For those of you
who don't have the post on that subject i have reproduced a relevant
except below:
    "Suggsden's renditions of old recipes call for 1.5 to 2 quarts of
water per pound of grist. with one pound per ten of the grist ground to
flour like constancy with the remainder being courser.  A mash out is
then recommended with one quart of  boiling water per pound of
grist.     This form of mashing is followed by the wort being drawn off
slowly over a period of  one to three hours depending upon the grist
composition.  Typically,  some portion of the hop substitutes are placed
in the collection vessel during this phase of the process.  The
collected wort is not recirculated.
    My experience has been that these procedures result in a low yield
of  high gravity wort.  Extraction is typically around 70%.  In order
to  collect enough wort to produce my customary 6 gallon batches my
grist bills are typically 50% to 70% higher then would be the case for
modern ales of comparable gravity."
    I have found the above method to work fine with this particular
recipe although Donnsby tells me that better results have been had with
2 1/2 quarts of strike water per pound of grist and that two
recirculations result in a cleaner, fresher tasting product in the case
of this recipe.  Where as George is clearly superior to me in matters of
making old ales i would recommend that the readership follow his
    In terms of the amount of boiling water needed for the mash out i
would recommend increasing it by 50% over the amount stated above.  In
part this is a result of  the prolonged boil time but more so as a
result that i have found the additional boiled water helps with
preventing stucks.  Donnsby  has recently told me of a neat little trick
to prevent stucks with older adjunct laden, no sparge ales.  He splits
the mash out water in half and waits until the water standing over the
grist bed is down by 70% before introducing the remainder of  the mash
out water via underletting.  I have yet to try it but he has yet to
steer me wrong.
    I followed the original recommendation of adding part of  the gruit
to the main mash and i can report neither a perceptible problem or
benefit from so doing.  On the other hand i have yet to make the ale any
other way then what the recipe calls for so maybe their is some good
reason for the procedure described that i am unaware of.
    Oh, I have found that drawing off  the wort should take roughly two
hours for maximum efficiency and minimizing the chances of a stuck
    In order to prevent this ale becoming cloy, which is a real
possibility, i strongly recommend that you use a alcohol tolerant U.K.
yeast.  I use Thomas Hardy yeast that Donnsby got for me a year ago that
has mutated by now but still tastes good.

Question :

1.) Has anyone found out anything about Checker ale yet?  Questions keep
rolling into my computer yet i have found out nothing about this curious
English ale.
2)  Does anyone know of a mail order source for Alecost?
3.) Has anyone made old Mumm's Ale?  If so, how did it go?

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