Thomas Jefferson's Ale

an All Grain Wood-Aged Beer by testingapril


medium char oak cubes or chips to mimic primary fermentation in a cask like Jefferson would have. Transfer oak cubes to secondary to dry hop. (I would leave this out next time since beer barrels were usually lined with neutral flavored brewers pitch.)

According to the Monticello archive, Jefferson liked to use 1 bushel (34 pounds) of malt for 8-10 gallons of beer. He also liked to use 3/4 pound of hops per bushel of malt. According to writings from others of the founding fathers, Jefferson's ale was outstanding. I take this to mean that the beer was probably very balanced, and converting from whole leaf hops to pellets, and considering hops have advanced over the last 200 years, I think 3 oz. produces a nice balance, and meets the original strength of the hops in the original beer. Jefferson grew his own hops and bought hops from others, but EKG's are one of the oldest hop varieties still used, and are mentioned frequently in Combrune's book. Jefferson likely used English hops as these would be easiest to obtain, and due to the origins of his brewing influences.

Jefferson wrote that he did not have a recipe, so I'm having to approximate. He also liked to brew in the spring and fall as the ambient temperatures were conducive to brewing then. It appears that he may have made different beers in the spring than in the fall. This would have been one of his fall beers, if not his primary or only fall beer.

It also appears that Jefferson probably brewed a Burton Ale, as that was a popular export style at the time. Burton Ales frequently used all pale malt, and since Jefferson malted and kilned his own grain, he could have easily imitated this style. It is also a prominent style listed in the brewing book Jefferson used (The Theory and Practice of Brewing - Micheal Combrune). According to Ray Daniels in Designing Great Beers, Burton Ales were frequently Dry hopped at a rate of 1 pound per barrel (31 gallons), so I'm using 1.5 oz dry hop.

I know it doesn't technically fit the American Barleywine style, but there's no way I could call the author of The Declaration's beer a British style. This one is American!


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