[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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