[Sca-cooks] Brown Ale - was, Re: newbee cook attempting feast for the first timeindecember
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sun Jun 7 07:15:42 PDT 2009
On Jun 7, 2009, at 8:51 AM, Volker Bach wrote:
> von Blanckenburg (Die Hanse und ihr Bier, Cologne 2001) also
> mentions archeological evidence for later medieval malt kilns in
> Hanseatic cities where brewing was an export industry. Contemporary
> sources distinguish between 'red' and 'white' beer, the former
> probably made from kiln-roasted malts, the latter from mildly dried
> (Hamburg, a major exporter of 'white' beer, did not use the usual
> style of kiln).
It appears that some form of assistance in drying is desired, in order
to prevent spontaneous fermentation of the moistened, fresh malt. It's
also possible that different colors of infusion or decoction could be
achieved based on oxidation or some other chemical reaction, during
mashing or fermentation, not to mention any gruit or flavoring
ingredients, or other adjunct substances, such as unmalted grains,
beans, or whatever.
> Being no brewer, I'm still trying to figure this out in detail, but
> it sounds like a variety of roasting to me. How close to the fire
> does it hae to be to qualify?
At this point it's more or less a semantic issue. I just have a bit of
a personal bugaboo about making certain historical assumptions on the
line of, "Sausages are period, and pepperoni is a sausage, therefore
pepperoni is period. Chocolate is period, and Hershey Bars are
chocolate, therefore Hershey Bars are period. Ale is period, and so
are chocolate and raspberries, so my Chocolate Raspberry Stout is
obviously period, too..."
So, as someone who has participated in and judged some brewing
competitions, I've become fairly conservative in my assessments of
anything like a dark beer, at least in those situations where
periodicity and documentation are issues.
So yes, it does appear malt was usually dried in a kiln of some sort
in most places, and in theory, it would be easy enough to create malt
that would produce a fairly dark beer without actively trying too
hard. I'm just a little curious to see the references to brown ale
(which, like roast beef and the once-ubiquitous Honey and Saffron
Quiche -- that's darioles or doucetys to you and me -- is one of the
mainstays of SCA folk culture), go back to a certain date, and
appearing, on the surface, to stop.
"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's
-- Rabbi Israel Salanter
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