Hi everyone, I'm beginning to write/research an article on homebrewing an ancient Mesopotamian ale (that I have affectionately called "Siduri's Advice"; based on the advice the Babylonian ale-wife Siduri gives to Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh to "Fill your belly <with beer>. Day and night make merry"). I will be malting, crushing and using a large amount of my own 2-row barley (the same type as used in ancient Mesopotamia) to make a brewing bread (Bappir) that I will add to the brew (as discussed in the Hymn to Ninsaki) and will be using date syrup rather than sugar for bottling (again the same as the Mesopotamians). I plan, at least initially to make some compromises for practical reasons: 1) using Mr. Beer fermenter rather than a clay fermenter, 2) using Mr. Beer's yeast rather than adding wild yeast found on grapes (although I will crush and add some sterilized grapes to make a more authentic ancient ale) and 3) using the lowest hop HME extract. Number 3 is a big sacrifice on the authenticity front, as the Mesopotamians did not use hops, but without the antimicrobial hops, at least in this first experiment, I am worried the beer will spoil, and I don't know which "aromatic herbs" are being refered to in the Hymn to Ninsaki, so I am fine to start this experiment with hops, but plan to research Gruit ale based spices/herbs that were present in Mesopotamia 5000 years ago in the next batch.
My questions for all you experienced brewers are:
Has anyone here previously tried to re-create an ancient Mesopotamian ale, and if so what was their experience? And does anyone have any other suggestions as to how to make this a more authentic Mesopotamian ale?