hist-brewing: Re: Dorchester Ale

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Sat Dec 2 10:20:52 PST 2000

Thanks for the great post!
    Off hand though i have found it better to just get the malsters spec. sheet
for what ever grain your using then go with some generic description found in a
I thought that my fellow brewing eccentrics would be interested to know that a
new company has started which is making old brown malts, four different verities,
using very old fashion means.  The company is called "Handlasby & Paige Malting
Cooperative" and i think that they should be available in 2 or 3 months.  I don't
have of their stuff yet but when i get more information i'll tell whom ever is
JazzboBob at aol.com wrote:

> As excerpted from Brewing Quality Beers by Byron Burch.
> "With 1 pound of the following ingredients per US gallon of water, you may
> reasonably expect the following specific gravities.  Grain yields, however,
> will be quite variable, depending on the efficiency of your grinding,
> mashing, and sparging systems.
> Malt Syrup    1.036
> Dry Malt Extract  1.045
> Pale Malt       1.030
> Crystal/Caramel Malt  1.020 "
> He also lists 10 other grain and sugar types.
> I have found these averages to be similar to the results of my brewing
> conversions and yields. Crystal Malt will definitely add fermentable sugars
> to your mash yield.
> It just doesn't have as much yield as Pale Malt and I calculate this into my
> recipe results.  I have made several all grain Barley Wines with a small
> amount of Crystal Malt in a 45 pounds of grain mash and yielded OG in the
> range of 120 to 130.  This is much higher then the OG 90 that happened when
> making the Dorchester Ale recipe.  My math indicates what I should get from
> 15# pale malt (15 x 30points = 450) and 20# crystal (20 x 20 points= 400).
> This would indicate I got less then 100 points from my 10 pounds of homemade
> brown malt.  Total of 900 points in my yield for the batch.
> The process for producing Crystal Malt seemed to be developed in the 1840 -
> 1850 period.  The middle range of Crystal Malt has a coloring power similar
> to brown malt.  Whereas modern brown malts have no residual diastatic
> properties and therefore cannot be made the major part of a grist, crystal
> malt is pre-mashed and does not have that limitation.  Harrison says that the
> flavor of crystal malt is similar though not identical to that of brown malt
> and has found it useful to replace part of the brown malt in some old beer
> grists with crystal malt to enable a satisfactory extract to be obtained.
> The 1800 Dorchester Ale was originally made with two parts amber and one part
> brown malt (rapidly cured over a hardwood fire).  His modern recipe is an
> adaptation that is designed to make a close approximation to the original
> beer with materials currently available.
> Please do not misunderstand his intentions and research or my writings!  John
> Harrison's book is full of many recipes that are direct quotes from old
> brewing archives and ledgers.  There are a couple of beers that John has
> taken a hand at modernizing the recipe ingredients in an attempt to allow a
> modern day brewer recreate a beer that meets a historic description and
> guideline.  He is very clear in stating that these couple of beers are not
> authentic, but that they are quite good tasting and result in flavors that
> meet the old style guidelines of black, strong, and bitter.
> I was very interested to see what a beer produced from such an extreme amount
> of crystal malt would be like.  The Dorchester Ale is quite a remarkable beer
> and the effects of all that crystal is probably not at all what you would
> imagine.  It is not sweet and cloying.  Attempting to describe this beer is
> quite limiting and impractical for me.  I happen to like it enough to have
> brewed it three times over the past ten years.  It's enjoyed by everyone else
> that has tried it and they ask for more of it even though my guests have a
> choice of quite a few other award winning ales made by me.
> I still feel that the modern day brewing recipe adaptation shows that a very
> dark ale resulted from the use of brown malt.  I did not use any black malt
> in this Dorchester Ale, yet it is as black in color as Guinness Stout.
>   My personal contention is that the introduction of black patent malt after
> 1817 allowed 19th Century brewers to reformulate their Porter recipes to
> substitute smaller amounts of the black malts for larger quantaties of brown
> malt while attempting to maintain some of the dark color and roasted flavors
> of the brown malt.  I do not know the economic costs of this. Obviously, they
> also would have saved volume in the mash tuns by using some black roasted
> grains.  The extraction rates of historical brown malt will never accurately
> be known but they must have contained enzymes and the ability to convert from
> the way they were used in old grists. It is the taste profile that matters to
> me.  I'd love to be able to make a big roaring hardwood fire and make some
> historically accurate Brown Malt.
> Bob Grossman
> In a message dated 11/30/00 7:35:18 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> owner-hist-brewing-digest at rt.com writes:
> << For you 1800 Dorchester Ale you list as you grains, 15# pale, 20# crystal,
> =
>  and 10# Brown malt.  Do you really mean crystal, or is there some historic =
>  version of crystal that is different than modern.  Modern crystal will add =
>  minimal gravity, and at almost half the grist, I would imaging it would =
>  not appeal to many peoples tastes, I know at least not mine, I usually =
>  cant stand over 10% crystal.  And, using those grains, if you really do =
>  mean modern crystal, I get an expected OG of about 1.090, consistent with =
>  your results, if I assume that brown malt will have the same conversion =
>  and pale.  This would indicate you got full conversion from your brown =
>  malt.
>   >>
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