So, when I said back in February that part 3 was going to follow soon, what I meant was “it’ll sit in my drafts pile for months and months until I’m belatedly spurred into action”. But still, better late than never? Herein follows how the beer tasted, what we’d change up and whether or not you can tell if there’s chicken in it.(more…)
How to test a historic recipe (without falling foul of Safe Search), part 2
So, having settled on October 18th for the brewday, I had to actually think about boring things like recipes and how, exactly, we were going to add fruit, spice, sack and dead bird to the resultant ferment.
Recreating the beer exactly as it would have existed a few centuries ago would be, if not impossible, beyond my capabilities here. The varieties of barley grown, how they were malted, the qualities and freshness of the hops, the yeast cultures used, receptacles for fermentation and maturation – all would be different to some degree. Not to mention variance over time and between regions. From reading old copies of the Protz/La Pensée CAMRA Homebrew Classics range won at various beer festivals in my youth and the ongoing excavations of Ron Pattinson and Martyn Cornell‘s blogs, I was happy to draw a line through “historically accurate” and instead list hopefully towards “vaguely traditional-feeling”.(more…)
How to test a historic recipe (without falling foul of Safe Search), part 1
So, back in March 2021 a friend threw a message my way asking if I was au fait with the works of Sir Kenelm Digby? Given that Richard (that’s my friend – I haven’t slipped into referring to myself in the third-person quite yet) likes himself a bit of pre-industrial history, weird folklore and the grotesque, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect him to follow this with, but it certainly wasn’t a request to try and brew a batch of, uh, “cock ale”. After a certain amount of to-and-fro to work out what he was on about, Wikipedia reassured me that it wasn’t just a practical joke. Admittedly, that the source book was called The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Opened did seem of a piece with the general innuendo.
As far as I could work out, cock ale was a strong ale fortified with dried fruit, spices, fortified wine and the obligatory cockerel. The latter was boiled well, then smushed up – bones and all – and added to the non-beer ingredients to soak, before the lot was pitched into the ale as it finished fermenting. Have a look, courtesy of the Gutenberg Project‘s copy:(more…)
The Twelve Drinks of Christmas 2021!
So, here we are, December rolling into the last fortnight before Christmas rears its be-tinselled head. We (Miriam and I) thought we’d knock together a quick series of videos with pointers of nice things to drinks, from mocktails to whiskies. This is a little landing page to give all those crucially important links, so you can find whatever it is we’ve been elucidating/wittering about. All those precious details after the fold…(more…)
Das Harvest Fest!
Due to a fraught couple of days, the end of my Saturday shift had left me rather more in need of decompression than normal. Good people and good beer were at the top of my list, so it was a relief that I just had to drag my weary bones down the road to Deptford and find myself at Villages‘ Taproom, who were hosting what promised to be a delightful beer celebration.(more…)