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Old 02-13-2009, 06:59 PM   #21
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when you bottle - don't add any sugar. I've read they didn't carbonate the stuff back then; and drink it at room temperature for an authentic (= gross) experience
This will be drunk 'young', straight from the fermenter at the tail end of the ferment as NQ3X had suggested in the previously mentioned thread. I prefer to drink all my beer at cellar temps- it really allows them to open up flavorwise. I'll probably rack this to two growlers.

Remember, this ale would have been consumed quickly; definitely not suitable for aging. If moved to packaging before terminal gravity is reached, I can expect a very gentle carbonation much akin to real ale.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by flyangler18 View Post
This will be drunk 'young', straight from the fermenter at the tail end of the ferment as NQ3X had suggested in the previously mentioned thread. I prefer to drink all my beer at cellar temps- it really allows them to open up flavorwise. I'll probably rack this to two growlers.

Remember, this ale would have been consumed quickly; definitely not suitable for aging. If moved to packaging before terminal gravity is reached, I can expect a very gentle carbonation much akin to real ale.
cool. Let us know how it turns out obviously.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:17 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by CBBaron View Post
I always enjoy the last half pint in the bottling bucket or a taste when checking the hydrometer readings.
as do I, as part of the creation process. When it's time to serve though, I like it cold and bubbly...
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:54 PM   #24
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Just racked the medieval ale to two growlers, and I'm sampling it now:

Aroma: Very nutty with a slight yeastiness, not surprising with the high amount of oat malt in the grist.

Appearance: Golden-orange and surprisingly bright in the glass. Very slight carbonation, head is non-existent.

Flavor: Toasty and nutty, slightly sweet. Very pleasant and quite unique. A light sour note that is complementary and not at all distracting.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low.

Overall: I call this experiment a success! This ale is refreshing in both its historical relevance and as a unique quaffer.

Pic to follow.

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Old 02-17-2009, 11:14 PM   #25
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Jason, let us know how this turns out, I did an open fermentation recently without hops, I have yet to muster up the courage to taste however, it looks and smells aweful, but I may after a few primer beers.

I am going to be brewing a historic beer on a large scale in a few weeks, for an upcoming event ,about 15 bbls...more on that later

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Old 02-17-2009, 11:16 PM   #26
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I am going to be brewing a historic beer on a large scale in a few weeks, for an upcoming event ,about 15 bbls...more on that later
Details please! If I can make it, I'd love to help and/or observe.

Fermentation looked pretty awful on this one too; US-04 behaved very strangely indeed!
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:50 PM   #27
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The mandatory pic; I hope you enjoy the juxtaposition as much as I did:

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Old 02-18-2009, 02:15 AM   #28
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Wow. Step away from the computer for a few days, and see what you miss! Day-um!

Good on yer, J, for trying this.

There are about a jillion different ways to brew ale - which term used in the medieval sense. You can boil, you can not boil, you can ferment each running separately, you can combine one, two or all runnings in one big batch...the list goes on.

The grist described came from the inventories in the 1286 Domesday, listing the brewing grain used in that year by the canons of St Paul's Cathedral in London. We don't know if they brewed strong/stock ale and small/table ale or if they brewed but one length from the grist. We do know they brewed 100 batches in that year, each of 678 gallons (Winchester measure), each using 10.5 bushels of wheat and barley malt and 56 bushels of oat malt.

Redaction is simple. A bushel of wheat/barley is approximately 24.4 lbs. A bushel of oat malt is approximately 21.4 pounds. Thus:

10.5 * 24.4 = 256.2 pounds each of wheat and barley malt
56 * 21.4 = 1198.4 pounds of oat malt

256.2/678 = 0.377 pounds of wheat or barley malt per gallon
1198.4/678 = 1.767 pounds of oat malt per gallon

For five gallons:

1.885 pounds each wheat and barley malt - I round this up to 2 pounds
8.835 pounds of oat malt - I round this up to 9 pounds

According to ProMash, that means an OG of ~1.065. Not bad!

As for mash temperature...Harrison's Description of England, 1577, calls for the liquor to be boiling and 'let down softly' into the grist in the tun. This means dropping the liquor from a height, cooling the liquor as it falls. Also, having an assistant stir the grist will assist cooling. In my own experience, even boiling liquor used in this way will get a resting mash temperature of between 148 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

Anyway, that's the grist analysis. As to whether or not it should be boiled is interesting. Note that all manner of microbial nasties can do horrible things to fresh wort. It is possible that contamination would outpace the primary yeast ferment.

Also, boiling improves flavor and appearance. In 1449, the brewers who supplied Oxford University with ale promised "quod aquam tamdiu conquerent super ignem quamdiu emitteret spumam, et quod mundarent spumam ab aqua".* Moreover, that the canons of St Paul's owned several coppers and furnaces - bricked-up supports for the coppers to focus the heat - supports the notion that the wort was boiled.

Packaging and carbonation is interesting, also. The vast majority of ale and beer was shipped in the wood. Though bottling was known quite early, scarcity of bottles meant that very little beer and ale was bottled. As above noted, ale was generally consumed quickly enough that bottling was unnecessary; beer, on the other hand, was sometimes bottled. Margery Kempe, the 15th-century English mystic, was recorded as carrying a bottle of beer(!) along the road. There is a story of a monk who carried a corked bottle of beer with him when he went to the river to fish. He inadvertently left the bottle sitting when he went home. Coming back the next day, he opened the bottle and BANG! The cork popped with a mighty noise. I think this story inidcates that malt beverages were mostly carbonated to a much lesser extent than today; that the story was recorded at all speaks to its remarkability. Light carbonation, like in modern UK cask ales, is perfectly acceptable to my tastes.

Good luck with your medieval ale!

* ""that they would boil their wort over a flame until it emitted a froth, and that they would skim the froth from the wort." Munimenta Academica, or Documents Illustrative of Academical Life and Studies at Oxford. ed. Henry Anstley, 2 vols. Rolls Series, 50. London, 1868. (vol. 2, p. 541).

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Old 02-18-2009, 02:58 AM   #29
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This thread is just priceless....so much good info.

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Old 03-10-2009, 03:17 PM   #30
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Bump. For good reason.

Anyone else give this a whirl?

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