Really Old Style (Ancient Sumerian Beer)

Really Old Style (Ancient Sumerian Beer)

(5 gallons/19 L)
OG = 1.062 FG = 1.009
ABV = 6.9%

4.5 lbs. (2.0 kg) Weyermann rauchmalz (smoked malt)
3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) bappir (“beer bread”)
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) rice hulls
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) honey
1 gallon (3.8 L) date wine

Step by Step
Make the date wine (see below), then bake the bappir (see below) one or two days later. Let bappir cool overnight. The next day, add crushed malt and crumbled bread to your kettle. Mash in to 131 °F (55 °C) with 3.0 gallons (11 L) of water. Immediately begin slowly heating the mash to 156 °F (69 °C), stirring constantly, then rest at 156 °F (69 °C) for 45 minutes. Heat mash to 170 °F (77 °C) and transfer it to your lauter tun. Stir in rice hulls. Let sit for 5 minutes, then recirculate briefly and run off wort to kettle. Collect 4.0 gallons (15 L) total. Boil for 15 minutes, then cool to 70 °F (21 °C).

Remove bag of date skins from fermenter. (If you can get a friend to hold the bag, you can use two cookie sheets to gently press the pulp and yield a bit more juice.) Combine fermenting date wine with your fresh wort, then stir in honey. Add water to make 5 gallons (19 L), aerate and let ferment at 70–80 °F (21–27 °C) until fermentation subsides.  Keg or bottle.

Date Wine:

(1.0 gallon/3.8 L, fruit wine)
OG = 1.092

3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) dates

Step by Step
Pit dates and place them in a large nylon grain bag. Put fruit bag in the bottom of a sanitized bucket fermenter and crush the fruit with a potato masher (or your feet). Add water to make 1 gallon (3.8 L). Let the wild yeast on the fruit begin to ferment the juice.

Bappir (Beer Bread):

3.0 lbs. (1.4 kg) Weyermann rauchmalz (smoked malt)
1.0 lb. (0.45 kg) unbleached (wheat) flour
1.25 lbs. (0.57 kg) honey

Step by Step
Grind barley malt into flour. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Fold in honey. Slowly add water and knead dough until it is roughly the consistency of cookie dough. Form dough into large, flat loaves about one inch (2.5 cm) thick. Bake at 350 °F (176 °C) on a pizza stone until outside browns. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut cooled bread into “logs” about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) thick (think biscotti). Rebake at 350 °F (176 °C) until bread just hardens. Let cool overnight.

Issue: September 2007