Daily Archives: June 10, 2014

Food and Drink in Dogsland Part 2: A Recipe Unlike Any Other for NEVER KNEW ANOTHER

When I think of the first Dogsland novel, I think of leading a long life in hiding, in fear, questioning everything, and wondering always when the cloud of dread will fall at last upon my head. Then, there is an encounter with someone like me, and the colors of the sky turn for a little while.

I think of beers that could be made in Dogsland, with ingredients they might have around.

In the south, we can’t grow white wheat very well. We do better with hard winter wheats, grown off-season. Barley is difficult, and would be expensive, and would probably be imported. Roasted grains would be useful, as well, to mask many of the difficulties that one would face fermenting warm, and warm fermenting yeasts would be necessary.

As the first of the trilogy, I think, as well, it’s an overwhelming thing, an experience like no other, and a strong introduction to a world that is dark, complex and dangerous, and unlike any other experience on the shelf.

So, here we go, with the brew of NEVER KNEW ANOTHER… Let’s say we call it

DARK MEMORIES STRIPPED FROM A DEMON CHILD’S SKULL
Target 5 gallons, boil 6.
Original Gravity 1.062,
Final Gravity 1.015,
ABV 6%

Ingredients:
Red Wheat Malt – 8 pounds
Dark Munich Malt (20l) – 2 pounds
Flaked Maize – 1 pound
Chocolate Malt – 6 ounces
Crystal 120L – 6 ounces
(optional) Rice Hulls – 2 pounds
1/2 an ounce of Perle Hops
1 package of Danstar Munich Yeast

If you are a brew-in-a-bag brewer, like me, bring ye ol’ water (6 gallons) to warm in a very large kettle with crushed grains on hand, ready to be brewed. Other brewing systems will need to figure out their mash water separately, but it looks like 4.375 of the total water will be used in the mash, if my numbers look right. All-grain brewers should understand what I mean and be able to adjust to their systems.

Dough in at 112 degrees for fifteen minutes for a nice protein rest, and gently step the mash up to 149/150 for half an hour, and follow that with a mash at 158 for half an hour. From there, mash out at 168 and do whatever it is you do to get the spent grain out of the way of the wort. (I brew-in-a-bag, so I lift the bag out gently, and set it aside in a separate kettle with a colander in it to continue draining sweet wort. (The rice hulls will help brewers who collect vorlauf in their brewing rig to prevent a stuck mash with all that red wheat in the mash. You’ll know if you need it.)

After mashout, do a nice, long 90 minute boil, and add the 1/2 ounce of Pearle hops at 60 minutes for an estimated IBU around 18-19.

Cool the wort after the boil, down to a pitching temperature of 75 degrees.

Ferment warm, just over 80 degrees, to really get funky with that yeast. It will be clovey, but will contrast pretty well with the many fruit and candied notes from the dark crystals and dark munich malt. Also, do you think temperature control is even possible in a place like Dogsland? Do you think it is even possible to get the wort cooled down and held below 75 degrees for a full fermentation cycle?

Carbonate it relatively frothy with about 5 ounces of demerera sugar for extra oomph in the bottle, if you aren’t going to keg.

I don’t think so.

Lemme see if I got a picture of this bad boy floating around. I brewed it a few weeks back, and I’m drinking it know.  If I don’t see one handy, I’ll post one up later.

Doesn’t look like I see one handy. I’ll snap a pic when I get home.
[edit to add: Look, I got home and popped one open and took a picture!]

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Food and Drink and Dogsland Part 1: a brief introduction to the idea.

With this humble blog entry, I will describe, as I am able, the food economy of my invented city, and propose a couple recipes.
What do people eat in your fantasy world? What do they drink? In our society, we have really lost touch with the seasons, and with availability of different crops in different regions. In pre-industrial societies, this was one of the most important questions, if not the driving thing that drives everything. Civilization, as we know it, is built upon a single thing: Agricultural Surplus. Everything in economics, everything in culture and society, is a direct product of the excess produce sold by farmers.

In pre-industrial societies, clean water wasn’t just difficult, it could be nearly impossible. Think of it like this: Boiling water could purify your water, but how much fuel does it take to boil that water? Where did the fuel come from? How long did it take to acquire that fuel?

Ergo, the most important question is food and drink.

Ergo, and with a fantasy world demarcated deeply by the drugs and drinks and cheap eats of a very dirty, semi-pre-industrial landscape, in Dogsland, I thought I would talk a little bit about climate and food, and propose a couple recipes to get started living in the city, as it is, so to speak.

Dogsland is rice country, with a bay and a swamp ringed with hills and low mountains. It is a swampy landscape, with monsoon-like rains. It is hot and wet and sticky. It is where cattle sink into the swamps. Apple trees would likely die, here. Cherries wouldn’t exist. Plums would be a challenge. Pears would succumb to fireblight and mold. Grapes, as we think of them, would likely die. Muscadines are more likely, or something like a muscadine.  Possumhaws, Mayhaws, and things like that are more likely.

Acorns are in the hills, and that’s an excellent food crop that we’ve mostly forgotten as a society, to our great detriment. Figs would probably like it. Citrus would do all right, maybe, but the heavy winter rains would make sure varieties that ripen in the winter would struggle. Valencias would probably be okay, so let’s stick with those. The heat also means that many conventional brewer’s yeasts wouldn’t work. We’d need something that can thrive in the heat to brew. Lagers are out of the question – with one exception that I will mention below – and even most ales can’t take the heat, and with a high water table, cellars are mostly out of the question.

Peppers can take it, too. Lotus greens, and okra would probably be all right. Beans, definitely, because beans are everywhere, all over the world, and an important food crop it is indeed.

Sheep would be present, as fullers are present, but these sheep were imported, and are kept north of the city where, presumably, the hills lift the delicate herd animals up above the worst of the sea level heat. They are also often shipped in from noble lands around the city. There’s enough trade going on that the wool could be shipped in to the fuller’s little district.

In the books, there is mention of meat and rice dishes, and many descriptions of meated breads. There’s “piss gin” which is rocket fuel, and little else, likely made with imported, dried juniper berries from the docks and local spices. There’s brandy, and I presume it is imported. There is sugar, because rice country also produces sugar cane and sorghum.

Right, so let’s do something with this knowledge. I homebrew. I have made homebrew with Dogsland in mind…

Let’s put together some recipes, shall we?

One recipe for each book, with the unique vision and perspective of each Dogsland book in mind.

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