Debatable Brewers' Recipes: 16th. C. style Beer

(brewed April 28th, 1999; bottled June 23, 1999)

(preliminary version -- check this again in a week or two.)

Our modest guild had been wondering what to make when one of Tofi's synapses fired: "What would beer taste like if one used the ale-making process to make the wort?" So we tried it. This is the result.


Start the water boiling. Crush the malts. Mix all the malts together well.

If your tun has a false bottom or other similar device (Tofi's does), pour in enough boiling water to cover it. If your tun doesn't have such a strainer, put in a large grain bag. Then pour in all of the grain. Finally, slowly ladle the remaining water over the grain, pouring from some height.

Cover the mash tun and let sit 30 mins. Open and stir well, then close and let sit another hour at least. This is a hot mash, so it will need this long period of time to mash (convert the starches into sugars).

Open the drain-cock, start collecting the runnings, and sparge with 4 1/2 gallons of water. (No, sparging isn't "period". Yes, we are doing it this way as a short-cut instead of collecting together both the first and second mashes.)

Boil the wort for about an hour, adding the hops soon after hot-break has been reached.

Close the boiling pot, take it off the heat, and let it cool over night. Start the yeast packet according to its directions (unless you have made a starter culture, which is even better).

(In the morning:) Strain the wort into a fermentation bucket, and pitch the yeast.

After it is done fermenting, bottle it. We primed our beer with a small amount of dry malt extract, boiled in some water for half an hour. (Clean out a bottling bucket, add the boiled malt extract, siphon the beer over this, mix well, then siphon the primed beer into cleaned bottles.) This small amount of priming was to simulate the amount of carbonation that one would have gotten by plugging closed a barrel of the stuff when it was almost, but not quite, done fermenting.

Our batch had a starting specific gravity of 1.056, and a final gravity of 1.020, for 4.6% alcohol by volume. It was a bit harsh when "fresh", but 6 months after making developed a really nice, complex taste.

Tofi Kerthjalfadsson, guildmaster, BMDL Brewers' Guild.
pwp+ (AT) cs dot cmu dot edu