Ale is the oldest known type of beer brewed by our party-loving ancestors. It’s versatility and characteristic clean and crisp taste is what made it so popular with many cultures in the world. With so many styles to choose from, you might be wondering how a few ingredients can result in such variety.
The best way to answer that is to make your own ale at home.
Medieval Weak Ale
Ingredients: 1 ½ pounds rolled oats, 13 quarts water, 4 2/3 pounds English pale malt, 1 packet Nottingham ale yeast, 1 packet Windsor ale yeast, and ¼ ounce light oak chips
Materials: Insulated tun, four-gallon fermentation vessel with lid (plastic will do), and strainer
Preparation: Boil the water and mix the crushed malt with the oats. Gradually pour the 2 quarts of the boiling water into the insulated tun then pour the dry grain. Do not stir anything. Pour 3 more quarts of boiling water then cover the tun and let stand for 10 minutes. Next, pour another quart of boiling water and cover and let sit for another 20 minutes.
Next, stir in the contents to make sure the liquid is thick. Cover it up again and let sit for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir in 3 quarts of boiling water, stir, and close and let sit for 25 minutes. Add the remaining boiling water next then stir. Strain out the wort from the grain, leaving the wort in the fermenter. Let wort cool overnight in the sealed fermenter.
When ready, rehydrate yeast according to packet instructions and pitch them into the wort. Stir and shake to aerate. Let it ferment for at least 24 hours. Next, boil oak chips in a cup of water and drain leaving only half a cup. Bring to a boil, let cool for a few minutes then add into the wort. Ferment for at least 5 days before serving.
Belgian Dark Ale
Ingredients: 4 pounds Belgian pale malt, 8 pounds pilsner malt, 2 pounds Maris Otter malt, 1 pound oats, 1 ounce hops, 1 pound turbinado sugar, 1 Whirlfloc tablet, ½ teaspoon yeast nutrient blend, Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity yeast, 1 pound each Dark Candi Inc. D and D2 Belgian candi syrup
Materials: Ten-gallon mash tun and eight–gallon kettle
Preparation: Heat 19 ½ quarts water up to 160°F then pour into mash tun. Gradually add the grains by stirring. In another container, heat 12 ½ quarts water to 202°F, then pour this into the mash tun. Let sit for 60 minutes, making sure the temperature is at 168°F. Leave at mash out for 15 minutes while boiling 2 quarts water to 172°F. Drain wort and add back to mash tun.
The drain mash tun, sparging with the boiled 2 quarts of water. Next, add hops. Remove all the mash runnings and add sugar. Bring to a boil for 60 to 90 minutes and gradually add yeast nutrients and Whirlfloc. When done, let cool and transfer to a sanitized bucket with airlock cover. You can use an oxygenation stone then add yeast. Ferment for 10 to 14 days at 66°F.