In the Middle Ages (or medieval period) from the 5th to 15th century, most people had to make their own alcohol from the hard wrought production of their small farm. Small barley plots were meticulously kept, while wild hops were gathered and dried for flavoring. Once all raw ingredients were harvested, home malting and brewing became family ceremonies, demanding the focused attention of all.
To give homage to this ancient brewing tradition with my first all-grain attempt, I bought a 50 lb bag of Crisp Pale Ale malt, a small amount of amber malt, and 2 oz of Falconer’s Flight hops to grind, mash, boil, ferment, and serve a simple medieval beer worthy of a hard day’s reward.
My first problem was using the mill properly. There was too great a gap, resulting in a less than ideal extract. However, things finished fine, and the beer had a nice bright foam upon first uncapping. The predominant flavor I perceived was burnt English muffin, which persevered throughout the batch’s aging. There was an odd juicy earth brightness from the somewhat high alpha %, but that’s since faded. No matter, an unoffensive tasting, 5% ABV medieval ale was made available to all honored guests. (But, most ended up with me.)