hist-brewing: ancient ale

John P. Looney valen at tuatha.org
Wed Mar 3 23:59:29 PST 2010

 After kicking off some really good discussions... can I move it on to a
possible recreation of authentic 3000BC brewing ? I actually tried my second
all-grain brew with modern methods over the weekend and it worked well.
Maybe I'm just getting a little more confident.

 There seems to be a few debates around finding some sort of 'organic'
container to hold the beer. I think a fulacht
fiadh<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulacht_fiadh>does seem to be a
decent option; wooden trough, stone lined to keep the wood
under pressure and stop any unwanted leaks. As I mentioned in my original
mail when heating rocks to heat the water - go for volcanic rocks, rather
than sedimentary, or they'll explode/turn to lime.

 I've a few concerns...how do you know you have the right temperature, in a
prehistoric setting? At a guess, I'd say "When the water his too hot to put
your hand in for more than 2 seconds", but I've a feeling that'll change
over time.

 If you'd an open pit of barley in a pit - would you likely get animals or
insects investigating ? Could these pits originally have had a hazel+hide
covering over them ?

 Are there areas that these would have worked better ? Where do you get wild
yeasts that will ferment beer better - swamps ? Near fruit trees ? Near
rotting trees ? Would they have built a put, gotten a crappy yeast/bacteria
mix, and decided "screw that, we aren't using that pit again!".

 The reason I'm asking is that I'd love to try make a beer in this way. But
I think the yeasts are the real stickler. Could I even prep an area in
advance...by scattering malted barley in an area for a few weeks ?


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