When I saw this for the first time, I thought that something got lost in this recipe’s time travel.
The malted oats are cold mashed, which is very unusual in brewing. Since I’m such a fan of the strange historical recipes, I figured I would give it a go, and see what happened. I cold mashed the oats, as instructed, for around 12 hours. The specific gravity for that batch was 1.02. For those of you less familiar with the specifics of brewing, that is crazy low. The whole batch smelled a bit like damp silage that a horse might turn its nose up at. So far, I was not impressed.
But I dutifully bottled it anyway, and set it aside for a while. Finally, on a warm day, I cracked one open with great trepidation. To my surprise, the result was a very drinkable, low alcohol sour drink that proved quite refreshing in the heat of summer. The long cold mash seems to result in a sort of lactic fermentation, which creates that sour twinge. Very cool, quite easy, and well worth a try!
Recipe for Yorkshire Oat Ale
“Grind a quart of oat malt, made with the white sort, and dried with coke, and mash with forty-four gallons of cold soft water, let it stand twelve hours; then allow it to spend in a fine small stream, and put two pounds of fine pale hops, well rubbed between the hands, into it; let it infuse, cold, for three hours, then strain and tun it; put yeast to it, and it will work briskly for about two days; then stop it up, and in ten days it will be fit to bottle. It drinks very smooth, brisk, and pleasant, and looks like white wine, but will not keep. -Mackenzies, 1829
- 1 heaping lb. malted oats
- 1 gallon water
- 3/4 oz. hops
- 1 packet ale yeast
Cover the oats with the water, and let stand for 12 hours. Add the hops and let those soak for an additional 3 hours. Strain the mixture into a carboy, add the yeast, and allow to work until it’s done. Rack into bottles, and let sit for around a month, but not longer than 6 months.