Twice Brewed Ale: An Experiment in Worts…

“Twice Brewed Ale and Other Anglo-Saxon Concoctions” at Kalamazoo 48th Medieval Congress
Stephen C. Law, U of Central Oklahoma

Ale_Bitter by Clemensfranz WC CCgod ealu “good ale” (good yallow)

suran ealu “sour ale” (means it has not turned out as well, cedovactor? destroys ale, sanitation is important, many a homebrew has ended up being sour)
Flanders has sour ale (Flemish browns); puckering…
Medieval sour ale on tap at Bell’s right now.

strangen ealu “strong ale” alcoholic preservation is also important, besides hops
make life in the mead hall more pleasant

strang hluttor ealu “strong clear ale”
Silver Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth was a strong clear ale

ealdus ealu “old ale” and in the Leechbooks, major curative quality
“if beer survived, I can survive too.”

Real_Ale_by Ranveig WC CC3niwe ealu “new ale” with a freshness
ale wives, 3.5 days, interesting, beers can be drunk young… swiftness if done properly leads to a refreshing drink

twybrownum ealu “twice-brewed ale”
Twice Brewed Inn at Hadrian’s Wall… has no twice-brewed ale

All of this came to my attention through Peter Horn’s discussions of Anglo-Saxon ale.
Lecturing on AS brewing in Oslo today.
He thinks it is a curious term.

Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England Judith Bennett did not cover
Brewing Mead did not cover
A History of Beer and Brewing ($78 for paperback), no mention of twice brewed ale
Max Nelson’s The Barbarian’s Beverage, no mention

Who does talk?
Richard Under Been in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Ann Hagen A second Handbook of AS Food and Drink

Unger “possible medicinal advantages, presumably made from a second or third mashing” (24)

Hagen “technique of double brewing was evidently known… The wort would be used instead of water in a second mixture with more malt, and this second wort would be left to ferment, making a strong brew” (209)

Pale_Ale by silk tork WC CC3opposing descriptions

Dr. Law decided Hagen could not possibly be right.

“Ann Hagen (1995) speculates (I think erroneously) that this would have been a mash that used wort instead of water; this makes little sense, scientifically or chemically, as the conversion of startches to sugars would be adversely affected by a wort that had already utilized the available water needed to bring about the required enzymatic reactions.” (Law, footnote 6)

Everyone concurred. (Law is a nationally ranked beer judge.)

So he brewed, in one day, 60 pounds of grain in three different configurations, one as a control.

This is what he ended up with:

Twicebrewed = 163 (dark, very sweet, malt syrup)
once-brewed =129
small-brewed = 1.068

side by side the three ales
22 days later
6.943% abv (that is bad)

once brewed 1.041

small-brewed= 1.011

Copper_kettle_flickr by Che Franden WC CC2Footnote to “footnote 6”
Anne Hagen is partially right, a wort can indeed be used to make another mash.

But Richard Unger is probably right: the term probably means a “small beer.”

FASCINATING. An experiment in medieval brewing.

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