Brewing – Small Ale – After Markham (1615)

Now for your second or small drink which are left upon the grains, you shall suffer it there to stay for an hour or a little better and drain it off also; which done, put it into the lead with the former and boil the other also, then clear it from the hops and cover it very close till your first beer be tunned, and then as before put is also to a barm and so tun it up in smaller vessels, and of this second beer you shall draw above one hogshead to three the better. Now there be divers other ways and observations for the brewing of ordinary beer, but none so good, so easy, so ready, and quickly performed as this before showed: neither will any beer last longer or ripen sooner, for it may be drunk at a fortnight’s age, and will last as long and lively.

The English Housewife, by Gervase Markham, London, W. 1615

This is our second small ale, made from the second run through our mash and bottled after a fortnight (the first run was used for a mead ale). Technique again as per Mrs Harrison, Kent Goldings hops and an ale yeast were again used. About 0.8% alcohol.

Markham talks about the equipment and method in this short recipe, I have problems where he appears to be mixing the first and second run in the “lead” but then refers to them separately again. I’ll try untangling it.

Having already done the first run through the mash and put that on to boil, steep the mash again with another lot of water for an hour or more. Take the first wort off the boil and chill it (a lead is a large flat lead pan which helps rapidly cool the wort and precipitate the proteins – we use a sink full of ice water). Boil the second wort with hops for the requisite time and while that’s happening, transfer the first wort to the fermenter and add the yeast. Repeat with the second wort into another fermenter with yeast – we use some taken from the first vessel once it’s started to bubble. After about a fortnight, bottle it or rack into a clean barrel and after another two weeks, it should be ready to drink.


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