The Best of the worst award this time goes to the Small Ale experiment. In theory you can preserve an ale wort in a tightly sealed sterilized container, for a later brewing. We purchased a plaster bucket with a sealable lid, and duly sterilized it. Into it went the water from re-boiling one of the brewing barley bags, so we could make a weak ale (Small Ale) in the last week to approximate the daily drink. From our resident brewer:
The small ale however was a failure unfortunately when we opened the container to pour into the fermenter it was covered in slime and stank , I was not going to even attempt to strain or go any further with this.
No Small Ale for us!
And sometimes things are just beyond your control - the Inter-Library Loan of the Dame Alice Breyne's household accounts from the 14th century and all the good Barley action that entails arrived the day after the Pentathlon entry was due... and five weeks after the request was submitted, and four weeks after the other books requested at the same time. Still it was interesting, and there will be useful stuff for our wheat entry.
The vine tendril charcoal
The cyclamen root and barley chaff
And now for something a little less revolting for your medieval beauty regimen: a leave-in conditioner from Trotula. Remember that charcoalized vine tendril? Well, it's back, this time mixed with some barley chaff, the root of the sowbread (cylclamen for the modern gardener), and some ground liquorice root. This is boiled for 15-20 minutes, strained, and rinsed through your hair. Not sure how it would work for blondes, though.
Burnt barley bread...
...with a little salt...
... and a bear fat substitute (lard)...
Makes one seriously revolting (and stinky) cure for baldness. Thanks Trotula! Now all we need is a victim...
So when we said we would do malting, even our brewing phone-a-friend expert was impressed, as he'd only done it once himself, and it is a fairly long, drawn out process. But our intrepid incipient brewer and barley expert Muigheinn, was not put off. Here is her update for Day One:
Malting process begun so let's hold our collective and hope. I have soaked the grain twice, dried once, and it is drying again now will put back in to soak in the morning . Grain appears to be swelling which is what it's supposed to do prior to sending rootlets, so it seems to be doing the right thing... will keep you posted.