hist-brewing: Very Old, Strong Porter

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Mon Nov 20 18:04:23 PST 2000

    I just yesterday made this recipe myself so i can't tell you how
it'll turn out yet.  I used rolled oats and Beeston Brown  malt.   My
yield was the typical 43 % efficiency i have come to expect from no
sparge first running ales so it would appear that nothing drastically
wrong has occurred insofar as conversion goes.  Besides, i have had this
ale several times care of friends who are better brewers then i and they
have never reported conversion related problems.  They often make their
own malt so i don't have a good basis of  comparison in so far as diastic
power goes.
    In any case i can't say what kind of diastic power brown malts had
historically because one would have to define the malt (i.e. snap,
billows, blown, brackish, etc.)  and i doubt that maltsters of old had
much in the way of  analytic resources to provide the contemporary brewer
with with the level of information we have come to expect.
    In so far as why old style brown malts, however one defines them,
disappeared from the market place would be hard to say without some real
research.  I doubt if it was due to their lack of enzymatic power as
plenty of old recipes call only for brown malts and unmodified cereals.
The comparatively poor performance of  old style malts was certainly not
a problem when brewing was a domestic as opposed to a commercial
pursuit.  This was especially true prior to the eubiqitous presence of
sparging when a single grist bill provided two or even three batches of
ale and high adjunct brewing was common.
    While it is true that modern pale malts have enzymatic
characteristics that are clearly superior to malts of old i think that
the real issue is one of economics, particularly those related to the
scale of production and brewing leaving the farm and Roadhouse and
becoming an industrial process .  Specifically i am referring to the
decline in the cost of producing pale malt as a function of the decline
of fuel costs and the advent of drum malting during the industrial
revolution.  These developments it would seem helped undercut the
economic advantage that porter producers originally had.

Jeff Renner wrote:

> adam larsen <euphonic at flash.net> wrote
> >     For the grist bill i suggest the following:
> >
> >
> >14 1/4's pounds of brown malt, toasted at 350 F. for 20 minutes
> >9 1/2's pounds of pale malt
> >4 3/4's pounds of oats
> It's not clear to me if Adam has successfully brewed this himself - I
> don't remember the earlier posts.  But I have this caution - the
> brown malt from Thomas Fawcett & Sons in UK has no enzyme power and
> I'm pretty sure that the pale malt would be too low to convert itself
> and the brown malt and oats.  Perhaps other brown malt has some
> amylase, historic brown malt had a bit, although its yield was low
> enough to cause it to be replaced by pale malt (and patent malt) when
> this was realized after the invention of the hydrometer.
> 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

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