hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing digest, Vol 1 #48 - 2 msgs

Randy Mosher rmosher at 21stcentury.net
Wed Jan 30 12:35:59 PST 2002

on 1/30/02 2:15 PM, hist-brewing-request at pbm.com at
hist-brewing-request at pbm.com wrote:

> And about that belief that "period malt was dark" - don't think so. There is
> ample evidence in malting directions over the years about keeping the malt
> drying fire low to avoid both smoking and scorching the malt. From what I have
> found, period malt was *intended* to be pale, although it was not necessarily
> perfectly so. Any darkness tended to be regarded as a flaw which could be
> compensated for, rather than a desired goal. This changed over time, of
> course, but our love of dark beer is a *relatively* new thing, from what I
> have read.

I would like to point out that on the Continent from the 14th century or so,
there were separate guilds established for "red" and for "white" beer
brewers. This would lead one quickly to the conclusion that there was some
degree of control (probably quite a lot, in my opinion) over the color of
malt, and therefore beer. In addition to kilning, air-dried malt was also

Another point: chocolate malt lies outside the realm of technological
feasability until 1819, when the drum roaster was invented, allowing for
very quick roasting and very quick cooling, which made really dark malts
possible. Before that, the darkest malts were "brown" malts, which at 75-150
Lovibond, are about a third the color of chocolate (at 300-450). So,
chocolate and black malts should be off-limits to you medieval recreators!

I would suggest roasting you own, an easy, fun way to get some unique
flavors. Just be sure to let the malt rest for a couple of weeks afterwards,
in order to let the really noxious components of roasting waft away.

--Randy Mosher

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