I have chosen to call my latest effort and "early ale." I did this because the term "old ale" has, for better or worse become a "style" and I did not want to confuse my readers and have them thinking that I brewed something I had not.
So, what is this "early ale?" It is something have wanted to try for some time. I adapted this recipe from the published recipes of the Durden Park Beer Circle, whose mission it is to recreate as closely as possible the recipes of the early British ales. Readers may remember that I reviewed their book of history and recipes in a previous post. Each recipe, formulated using archived notes and descriptions, is and attempt to recreate an actual beer that was brewed long ago. Long I have wanted to brew one of their recipes, but for various reasons had not.
Two things I like about the Durden Park recipes is they are all historical and simple. Brewing their recipes is like using a beer time machine, and one need not muck-about with protease rests and octuple decoctions. This is brewing at its raw best, when brewers brewed based on their experience, not on what they were told; each recipe being the distillation of centuries of experience.
The basis for this latest brew was a pale ale recipe from the 1820's. A very basic recipe, it called only for the use of pale malt and hops; one malt and one hop. I modified it slightly by adding some sugar to the boil in an effort to ensure a nice dry finish.
So how did things work out? I cannot say for sure, but I bottled today and the early result is encouraging. The raw beer has a good hop flavor and aroma with a strong malt base and a dry finish. I can't wait to pop open a bottle in a few weeks. Ah yes, the wait.