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 

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 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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