hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing digest, Vol 1 #151 - 9 msgs

Mike Bennett mjb at efn.org
Mon Jun 30 14:24:00 PDT 2003

"Owen Hutchins" <owenbrau at earthlink.net> wrote in hist-brewing digest, Vol 1 #151:

>We brewed up a batch of Markham's ordinary ale last weekend, and ran into a
>few issues.
>It's been some time since we've done much period work, so we're kind of
>starting over here. Our mash was far too hot; we mashed in the water we knew
>we needed in order to get out the right amount, but Markham says to add
>"water near to boiling", so our mash wound up at 180F+, and we wound up
>having to add more malt to it after it has cooled some in order to get any
>conversion. Help!
I think you're biggest problem is that you're brewing in the wrong time 
of year.  Historically, brewing was done from October to May.  This 
means lower ambient and malt temperatures that serve to attenuate the 
high water temperatures.

I've found that Greg Noonan's book "Scotch Ale" gives a very good 
description of historic (18-19th C.) brewing practices, which hadn't 
changed much in centuries.  If you don't already have that book, I 
highly recommend it.  IIRC, in it he quotes sources as saying the mash 
water is the right temperature when it becomes glassy and steam dances 
across the surface.  Other sources in the book gives mash water 
temperature of 190F being added to a cold mash tun.  When the 
temperature falls to 180F the malt is added to the tun.  Ambient and 
malt temperatures are around 45-50F, I think.  I just ran this through 
ProMash and it says it'll give me a mash temp of about 156F.  Depending 
on how insulating the mash tun is, the mash temp could fall as low as 
145F over the course of the mash.  At these temperatures, you should 
have no problem getting conversion, albeit slowly.

Hope this helps.

Mike Bennett
Head Brewer, Southside Speakeasy, Salem OR
Recognized BJCP Beer Judge

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

More information about the hist-brewing mailing list