hist-brewing: Domesday ale report at three years

Jeff Renner JeffRenner at mediaone.net
Sun Jan 27 15:08:47 PST 2002


"PalomaHill" <palomahill at yahoo.com> wrote:

>Jeff, thanks for the links to doomsday ale - I did a search on the Internet
>and found lots of notes from you in various archives specifying recipies.
>This connection is absolutely wonderful!

Glad you found useful information.  Researching and making the 
Domesday Ale was fun (including malting 14 lbs.of oats).

I thought I'd give a tasting report at three plus years.

First, to recap, on October 5, 1998 I made about 3 gallons of 1.096 ale with:

11 lbs. home malted oats
5.5 lbs Durst wheat malt
5.5 lbs Briess 6-row malt (very un-medieval but I wanted plenty of 
enzymes to cover my lack of malting expertise)
7 ounces Baird chocolate malt (because I believe period malt was dark)

No hops or other herbs.

I fermented with lots of a repitched English ale yeast and got good 
fermentation which finally stopped at 1.030.

It was very cloudy, actually murky (probably due to the home malted 
oats) with a thick, oily mouthfeel.  I let it sit until February in a 
three gallon glass carboy.  It settled out considerably but was still 
cloudy and thick.  I bottled it mostly in 7 oz. (175 ml) "nips" with 
no priming sugar.

At this point it was thick, oily, sweet, alcoholic, and rather 
simple.  It had a bit of a pruney flavor, making me think of 
alcoholic prune juice.  I had hops that it would develop some bottle 
complexity.

I've opened bottles every few months over the last three years since 
bottling.  After perhaps a year it clarified (the sediment is now 
solid and will hardly wash out).

Alas, I have been disappointed in the flavor - it is still simple and 
one dimensional.  It's sweet, very smooth (the oats help), noticeably 
alcoholic (but not in the least bit harsh or hot), and still has that 
mild prune flavor.  I opened a bottle last evening and decided it 
wasn't worth the calories or liver and brain cells, and poured it 
down the drain.  I will continue to open a bottle every six months or 
so, I guess.  Maybe something will happen, but it seems pretty stable 
at this point.

I think if I were rebrewing this I would use some kind of gruit 
mixture and perhaps some new yeast and sugar at bottling for 
carbonation in hopes to of a more interesting ale.  I guess the monks 
at St. Paul's weren't as demanding, or maybe they were better brewers!

>I did find a commercial brew (thru Internet searches): (Devenish) Domesday
>ale by Cornish brewery co - from England.  Perhaps it's not made anymore and
>it's not clear if it is a pure malt brew.  I couldn't find much about it
>except that the name indictes it might be a pure malt brew.

That's interesting.  Neither the brewery nor the ale are listed in my 
5th edition (1997) of "The Real Ale Almanac" or several other 
references I have dating 1987-1997.  I doubt very much that it would 
be unhopped.

Regarding gruit, Adam Larsen's posts here should make good reading in 
the archives.  Are you still there, Adam?

Jeff
-- 
Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at mediaone.net
"One never knows, do one?"  Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943



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