hist-brewing: Very old Porter

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Mon Nov 13 12:08:03 PST 2000

        Several folks from the list think that i must dislike hopped
ales as i have never mentioned any and mentioned a preference for
attempting herbal ales with hops.  I got on the blower to my friend
Filby a couple of weeks ago and mentioned this matter to him and he
provided me with the following recipe.
    The recipe in question was penned by Mister J. Telsford-Ash who was
apparently from Essex, at least i am told that is where is grave
resides, and lived from 1682 to 1731.  I know little else of him other
then that he apparently printed a book about house keeping and child
rearing called "The Contented Home" in 1728 which this recipe appeared
in originally and was subsequently reprinted by a Rev. Cuthbert Ash of
Essex, whom i assume was a descendent,  in 1887.
    Oh, the measurements are given in imperial measures and notes follow
at the end of the post under the ----------- character string.  This
recipe appears to be a no sparge recipe as one is advised to mash a
second time so as to produce a table which one can spice with a third
less hops and herbs then the first running.
    I'll follow up this post with one showing how others have converted
this recipe into modern terms shortly.
                                        Strong Porter (1 Firkin)

Grist Bill:

Blown  or Snap malt: 18 quarts
fyne malt: 12 1/2 quarts
oats: 6 quarts


treacle: 4 pounds


type unspecified beyond "Kentish": 2 cups


Spanish juice (i assume licorice): 2 ounces
Lavender: 2 small spoonfuls
Yarrow: 2 ounces


    A single stage infusion mash using 17 gallons of  "near boiling
water" is recommended with a rest time of 2 hours.  During the mash a
third of the hops were apparently placed into the mashtun.   The
remainder of  the hops were added at the start of  a 90 minute boil
along with  3/4's of the licorice and all of the Yarrow.    During the
last quarter hour of the boil the remainder of the licorice is added.
As the wort begins to cool the Lavender is added.
    When the wort is cooled it is transferred to a cask holding the
dregs of a " good strong ale"  and the treacle.  After the ale stops
working the ale is transferred to a second cask and allowed to age for
no less then 4 months.  No mention is made as to recommended priming
levels unfortunately.


    -  I am certain that Snap and blown malt have been out of production
for quite sometime and while some English and Welsh friends make Blown
malt at home i have no idea how one would make Snap malt.  I would
recommend that one use home smoked brown malt from one of the English
floor maltsters which would provide something close if not on target.
    - Spanish juice seems to have been a reference to some form of
licorice.  I would recommend the use of  40 grams of brewing licorice
concentrate or 2 ounces of licorice root.
    - The question of determining the efficiency of a brewing system
using no sparge production methods can be found at the Pro Mash home
page (www.promash.com).  Although i know of no  modern means or
references of determining second or third running extraction.
    - In terms of hop utilization from mashing i am quite ignorant so if
anyone in the readership can recommend a good reference it would help in
finishing up the conversion of this recipe into modern terms.
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