About two months ago, I detailed my rather ambitious plan to recreate an authentic early 19th century porter style beer. This was going to use an actual period recipe, with reasonably legitimate ingredients to brew something that would be as authentic to 1825 as I could get. This is Jane Austen era beer, and given the numbe of people I know who love Ms. Austen’s work, I figured that I’d have a ready-made audience. I was pretty excited about the whole thing, in fact, and even anticipated that I could get the ball rolling before the month of June ended.
Well . . .
I did, in fact, start the ball moving, but it didn’t roll far. Shortly after writing that post, I went to Northern Brewer to get what was needed. I was rather explicit in my desire to produce just one gallon of beer, because this was just a simple experiment. The gentleman with whom I spoke seemed to understand my desire and, after reviewing my list of ingredients and sympathizing with my plans to be authentic, he agreed to set me up with the right equipment.
He did, to an extent. While I was able to purchase a two-gallon fermenting cask (the extra space is necessary), I was unable to get much of anything else for that size. See, the standard basic quantity of beer is five gallons, and I just wasn’t prepared to spend what was needed for that. I did get some basic items: the yeast, for example, is for an English style porter (good), but is enough for a five gallon barrel (not good). Instead of preparing my own grain, I was talked into working with a malt extract (good) that should do what I want it to do (also good), but what I have may or may not be enough for five gallons (not good). The sales guy said it was good for a gallon, but since everything else is mega-sized, I’m assuming this is too. I did not find the correct sugar I needed (not good), but I was given a Belgian sugar that should work just as well (good).
In short, the project is still on (I’ve already invested some $45 into it), but it’s moving at a far slower pace than I’d hoped. At some point, I’ll need to get the five gallon cask and verify that I have enough ingredients, but I think that after another $30 worth of “stuff,” I should be ready to go.