hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing digest, Vol 1 #201 - 3 msgs

Randy Mosher randymosher at rcn.com
Fri Feb 6 06:11:37 PST 2004


I would make a couple of suggestions:

Maris Otter is indeed low in diastatic power. 40-50, compared to 120 for a
US 2-row lager, or 140-160 for a US 6-row. I don't think in a beer with a
good deal of brown and/or amber that a pound or two of more enzyme-active
malt would affect the flavor in any way.

It would be simple enough to do a teacup-sized test, and check a little of
the mash with iodine to see if it converts after an hour. You may also find
that a slightly longer time at lower temperatures (say 145 F) might treat
the enzymes a little more gently, although this will tend to produce a drier

My understanding of amber/biscuit is that it is supposed to convert itself.
In the old days, brown malt did as well, after a fashion, but it's clear we
can't count on this these days.

Amber/biscuit is made in more than one shade of roast, so you might search
out the palest, the thought being that that will be the most enzyme-active
as well.

Either amber or brown can be made at home, so you might add to your recipe
some paler grade of brown or amber. Be sure to let it rest for two weeks
after toasting to let the harshness waft away.

As Scotti notes, crystal malts are an altogether different beast,, and
weren't invented until 1880 or so (does anyone know the story?). IMO, they
are completely inappropriate in historical ales prior to that time.

Good luck!

--Randy Mosher

> --__--__--
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 12:39:14 -0900
> From: Christopher Swingley <cswingle at iarc.uaf.edu>
> To: hist-brewing at pbm.com
> Subject: hist-brewing: Brown malt equivalent?
> Greetings,
> I've recently been trying my hand at brewing beers from historical
> recipes.  Dr. John Harrison's _Old British Beers_ has been a great
> resource for recipes, as well as for hints when trying to generate
> modern equivalents from old books.
> One problem I've been having, however, is dealing with the low diastatic
> power of British pale malt since amber and brown malts (at least those
> made in my oven, according to Harrison) don't have many useful enzymes
> left.  Comments on rec.crafts.brewing regarding Maris Otter seem to
> indicate I can expect it to convert itself, plus maybe 20% more by
> weight of a non-enzymatic malt.
> Harrison has a couple recipes in _Old British Beers_ that have higher
> than 5:1 pale:brown/amber malt ratios, but in most cases he states that
> you'll need powdered enzymes, or he provides a modern equivalent using
> crystal and other malts.
> Has anyone found reference, or done experiments to determine what an
> appropriate, mashable replacement might be for brown (or amber) malt?
> Do you suppose this can be a simple as reducing the home-roasted malts
> to the requisite 20% of the grist, and then adding enough crystal to get
> the color (and presumably some of the roasted flavor too) up to the
> level you expect from the original recipe?
> Any thoughts or experiences along these lines?
> Thanks,
> Chris




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