hist-brewing: Re: Dorchester Ale and Post, Pro, and Pot-mash boils

Emma Copeland copelande at glennie.qld.edu.au
Wed Dec 6 01:54:07 PST 2000

 this tuff that you keep sending me is useless, no one wants it. that
includes me so stop sending me it 


-----Original Message-----
From: NATHAN T Moore
To: hist-brewing at pbm.com
Sent: 5/12/00 1:46
Subject: hist-brewing: Re: Dorchester Ale  and Post, Pro, and Pot-mash boils

I am sorry, it appears I made the error of over generalizing the gravity
of crystal malt.  I ran the recipe through my recipe calculator and it
came up with just over 1.090 for the given recipe, but I had the
extraction for the crystal malt set at 8 points.  In truth extraction
from crystal malts varies greatly with color from around 5 for the
darkest, and as Bob say, up to 20 for the light colors.  So it does
appear that there was likely some reduction in extraction from the brown
malt, as should be expected as well.  For example, take Vienna, another
malt that has been further processed, Vienna will often give 8 or so
less extraction points than pale malt.  On the other side, if you look
at pils malt which is dryed at a lower temp, and therefore less "messed
with", you will often get 1 or 2 points more extraction.   What the
exact extraction that Bob got from the brown malt would be hard to
calculate without knowing the brand and color of the crystal he used,
but assuming it was a lighter color, it seems resonable to assume he was
in the 10 point extraction range, or slightly higher, as he indicated.
I know I will be correcting the crystal malt portion of my calculator

Similarly, the amount of fermentables that can be obtained from crytal
malt will vary based on color, but more importantly based on how it is
used.  If crystal is steeped after the mash, you will get no
fermentables, however, if you mash crystal, the dextrins can be broken
down and converted to fermentables.  The amount of dextrins from the
crystal that are converted to fermentables in the mash will vary based
on the mash temp, if you mash at a high temp, you will obtain few

Also, sorry for all the typos in my post concerning post-mash boiling.
Based on the posts that followed my disastrous attempt to open a
discussion (typos and poor examples, sorry they were from the top of my
head), it appears that there is definitely evidence to indicate that
both were done.  Adam Larsen sent me an email that appears to have not
reached the rest of the list in which he discussed that he often uses
the recipes indication of if the ale was intended to be casked to
determine if a boil should occur after the mash.  I unfortunately erased
the email.  (Adam, if you still have it, can you repost, I assume it was
intended for the whole list).   So, it seems that the best practice for
developing medieval style  ales is to not assume one method or the other
was the norm, but to do what is appropriate for the given recipe.
Thanks everyone for there input on this matter.


>>> <JazzboBob at aol.com> 12/01/00 11:32PM >>>
As excerpted from Brewing Quality Beers by Byron Burch.
"With 1 pound of the following ingredients per US gallon of water, you
reasonably expect the following specific gravities.  Grain yields,
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
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
range of 120 to 130.  This is much higher then the OG 90 that happened
making the Dorchester Ale recipe.  My math indicates what I should get
15# pale malt (15 x 30points = 450) and 20# crystal (20 x 20 points=
This would indicate I got less then 100 points from my 10 pounds of
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
to brown malt.  Whereas modern brown malts have no residual diastatic 
properties and therefore cannot be made the major part of a grist,
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
and has found it useful to replace part of the brown malt in some old
grists with crystal malt to enable a satisfactory extract to be
The 1800 Dorchester Ale was originally made with two parts amber and one
brown malt (rapidly cured over a hardwood fire).  His modern recipe is
adaptation that is designed to make a close approximation to the
beer with materials currently available.
Please do not misunderstand his intentions and research or my writings!
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
authentic, but that they are quite good tasting and result in flavors
meet the old style guidelines of black, strong, and bitter.

I was very interested to see what a beer produced from such an extreme
of crystal malt would be like.  The Dorchester Ale is quite a remarkable
and the effects of all that crystal is probably not at all what you
imagine.  It is not sweet and cloying.  Attempting to describe this beer
quite limiting and impractical for me.  I happen to like it enough to
brewed it three times over the past ten years.  It's enjoyed by everyone
that has tried it and they ask for more of it even though my guests have
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
dark ale resulted from the use of brown malt.  I did not use any black
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
1817 allowed 19th Century brewers to reformulate their Porter recipes to

substitute smaller amounts of the black malts for larger quantaties of
malt while attempting to maintain some of the dark color and roasted
of the brown malt.  I do not know the economic costs of this. Obviously,
also would have saved volume in the mash tuns by using some black
grains.  The extraction rates of historical brown malt will never
be known but they must have contained enzymes and the ability to convert
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
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#
 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

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