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

Henry Davis henry at henry-davis.com
Mon Jun 30 17:55:28 PDT 2003

At 02:24 PM 6/30/03 -0700, Mike Bennett wrote:
>"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 

If you read Markham closer you'll notice that the liquor is supposed to be 
ladled onto the grist. SCA Master Geoffrey Dwiggins and I have taught the 
Markham mashing technique at Pennsic for several years, including one year 
where the temperature was hovering around 100F.

The hands-on classes have always had mash temperature end up right around 

Here's in brief how we do it:

1. boil about 6 gallons of water
2. remove from fire (turn it off)
3. using a 4 oz ladle to transfer the hot liquor to the mash tun. For the 
mash tun we used a gott cooler
4. for each ladle of liquor that you add stir the mash four times at a 
moderate stroke speed
5. continue until the liquor is completely used
6. let stand for the mash time

We've always had good (maybe not great but still ok to drink) ale result - 
even using the heavily sulphered Pennsic water.

The four stirs of the ladle is really a time keeping mechanism to simulate 
the period ladling process (we don't use a very long handled dipper to move 
liquor to the mash tun).

Scotti attended one of our all day brew-a-thons a few years back and may 
have some other perspectives on the technique.

It works under pretty much any conditions that we've tried (well all 
conditions that we've tried).


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