hist-brewing: Re: [EKBrewers] Pease in Beer

Mike Bennett mjb at efn.org
Fri May 30 12:51:06 PDT 2003

PBLoomis at aol.com wrote:

> True, wheat aids head retention, but Markham is talking about a
> beer that is to be kegged for a year or more.  I would expect it to
> be thoroughly flat by that time, in which case head retention is moot.

It's amazing how much pressure a wooden cask can withstand when properly 
sealed.  Wahl and Henius (1902) give examples of highly-carbonated 
styles being kegged in wooden kegs of the era.  Wooden kegs didn't fall 
out of favor until around WW2.  Starting with a highly carbonated beer, 
you're bound to still have a fair degree of carbonation, even after a 
year.  Unfortunately, the knowledge and skill required to build and 
maintain casks of sufficient quality to maintain carbonation in beer is 
an almost lost art.  Outside of a few people in England who still make 
firkins and such for cask-conditioned ales, they have largely been 
replaced by SS kegs.

> Markham does not specify whether the wheat and oats are malted
> or not, but before 1600 AD most brewing grains seem to have been. 

My own studies haven't borne this out in all cases.  I could be reading 
this wrong.  But most of my readings mention malt when talking of malted 
products and call the grains in question by their true name when talking 
of them in their raw state.  Granted I haven't had much luck finding 1st 
hand accounts for brewing outside of England.  My interest lies mostly 
in the brewing practices of the low countries.

> It has been my experience that malted oats do not build mouthfeel, as
> rolled oats do, but instead contribute to smoothness.

I haven't had the pleasure(?) of working with malted oats yet.  But I 
think the ability of the malted oats to contribute to mouthfeel would be 
inversely proportional to the degree of conversion in the malt.  Highly 
modified malt might not contribute much, but chit malt would contribute 
quite a bit.

> Natheless, these portions seem very small, to the point where I
> wonder whether they would have the desired effect.  Owen is also a
> professional brewer, and I think that is what he was asking.

You only need very small amounts when using them in this aspect.  I use 
on average between 0.5-1.0% (by extract) in my various recipes.  In my 
Cream Ale recipe, I use only 8# of rolled oats in a 7 bbl batch, and it 
contributes to a very rocky head and a smooth, silky mouthfeel.

Mike Bennett
Brewer for Hire
Recognized BJCP Beer Judge
[1958, 287.1] Apparent Rennerian

....Give a man a beer, he'll waste an hour.  
Teach a man to brew and he'll waste a lifetime....

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