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Colonial Ale
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,106
    My son has been involved with a group that does living history reenacting of the French and Indian War era. I have always ben fascinated with this period of history, so it didn’t take a whole lot of arm twisting to get me to join up with the Rutherford’s Rangers myself. Besides, it gave me some justification to purchase a .66 caliber fusil. I need to get “kitted out” with period clothing before I can participate, but I at least want to get a beer started.
    Beer in frontier Virginia during the 1750s was a strange beast. Cider was much more common, and when available, rum was consumed in large quantities. However, there was some barley being grown by a few intrepid settlers that had beer on their minds. Hops were also grown, especially in the Shenandoah Valley. This statement is made based on some “primary source” material, mostly journals and letters written during that time period. I haven’t been able to find an exact recipe of what these brave brewers made locally, but there is a good deal of general information out there. I looked long and hard at George Washington’s Porter recipe and one of Thomas Jefferson’s as well. Sadly, both of these came along a bit later. The recipe that I am still tweaking should make for an interesting beer. I have no idea what the parsnips will do for it, and am just a little bit skeptical of them, but it is well documented that they were used. I considered using pea shells as part of the fermentables, but that seemed to be more popular farther north.

    Here is what I have so far:

    For a five gallon batch.

    7-pounds cheap 2-row barley malt
    4-pounds wheat malt
    0.5 pounds chocolate wheat
    1-pound dried sweet corn
    2-pounds rice hulls (hopefully to keep the mash from being too “gummy”)
    0.25 pounds molasses
    1-large butternut squash
    4- parsnips

    I will cut the squash in half, and roast it at 350 degrees until it starts to turn black around the edges. The parsnips I will peel, and roast with the squash. After roasting, I will scoop out the squash pulp, and cut up the parsnips, put them in a blender, and puree. I may have to add a little water to the blender, but I will keep it minimal.
    The dried sweet corn will need to be prepared as well. I’ll simply boil it for a few minutes.
    All of this mess will go into the mash. I’m thinking of mashing at about 156 degrees. I’ll probably mash a little thinner than I normally would, say at about a ratio of 1.6 quarts per pound of grain, to account for the veggies.
    The molasses will be added with fifteen minutes left in the boil. Hops will be a 60 minute bittering addition only, and I’m thinking of shooting for an IBU of about 35. Hop variety shouldn’t matter, no flavor should come through.
    I’m still going back and forth on yeast. Part of me just wants to use S-04, but there should probably be a little “funk” in there. I may actually consider harvesting some wild yeast from an apple orchard... maybe. I guess I could just use a cider yeast; we shall see.


    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • CurlyFatCurlyFat
    Posts: 60,718
    I would think a Belgian yeast would be the easiest way to get a little funk. But harvesting local airborne yeast would be more authentic, but risky. Maybe split it?

    "Balls."
    - Thym's 100,000th post

  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,630
    bread yeast.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,106
    DrCurly said:

    I would think a Belgian yeast would be the easiest way to get a little funk. But harvesting local airborne yeast would be more authentic, but risky. Maybe split it?


    Actually been kicking around the idea of S-33
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,106

    bread yeast.



    Not just no.... but hell no.
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • jeepinjeepinjeepinjeepin
    Posts: 17,028
    Saison? Brett trois vrai? US-04 and Brett B?
    Sign here______________________________
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,106
    If was going to let it age a while, I would consider Brett.
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 74,461
    Leave out the rice hulls and do an upside down spagre. Batch sparge by decanting off the top. Add hot water, mix, let it settle, pour off top repeat until you hit about 75% efficiency.

    Bottle in a wood cask.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,106
    I would do an upside down mash... but they are a pain. I used to mash like that all the time, all my first crude partial mashes, and all grain batches were done this way. Even pouring through a strainer, bits of grain still end up in the beer... a lot of them. Then the bits clog up the bottling wand, and mess up the siphon. So no.
    As for the wood...
    Never on the frontier. In the cities on the coast this would have been common. Primary sources, and archeological evidence shows that ceramic crocks were used to both mash, and ferment in. The finished beer was put in ceramic jugs... the growlers of the day. Batches were small, between 10 and 20 gallons.
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,630
    ceannt said:

    I would do an upside down mash... but they are a pain. I used to mash like that all the time, all my first crude partial mashes, and all grain batches were done this way. Even pouring through a strainer, bits of grain still end up in the beer... a lot of them. Then the bits clog up the bottling wand, and mess up the siphon. So no.
    As for the wood...
    Never on the frontier. In the cities on the coast this would have been common. Primary sources, and archeological evidence shows that ceramic crocks were used to both mash, and ferment in. The finished beer was put in ceramic jugs... the growlers of the day. Batches were small, between 10 and 20 gallons.



    so you gonna do that?
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 74,461
    ceannt said:

    I would do an upside down mash... but they are a pain. I used to mash like that all the time, all my first crude partial mashes, and all grain batches were done this way. Even pouring through a strainer, bits of grain still end up in the beer... a lot of them. Then the bits clog up the bottling wand, and mess up the siphon. So no.
    As for the wood...
    Never on the frontier. In the cities on the coast this would have been common. Primary sources, and archeological evidence shows that ceramic crocks were used to both mash, and ferment in. The finished beer was put in ceramic jugs... the growlers of the day. Batches were small, between 10 and 20 gallons.



    Archeologist evidence often favors ceramics over things that rot.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post