The Plymouth Ale Experiment
Last summer on my beer tour up the east coast we made a pit stop in Plymouth, Massachusetts for a little history. This stop included a trip to Plimoth Plantation, a historical park located just outside of the city. At Plimoth Plantation my wife picked up a brew kit from the gift shop. This kit was a one-gallon 17th century “English style ale.” I had wanted to try a gallon kit for a variety of reasons so this was a good find.
The kit itself was contained pretty much everything you needed to brew up a batch. It came with powdered malt, hop pellets, a bottle stopper, airlock, priming sugar and instructions. The only components that were missing was a fermenting bottle, brew pot and bottles. The brew pot was easy enough as any stockpot works for a one-gallon batch. The instructions suggested a glass cider bottle be used as a fermenting bottle and to use resealable (grolsh) style bottles. The only parts I changed were using regular bottles/caps and I had to buy a new bung as the one included in the kit didn’t fit the bottle I had.
The brewing process was the same as any other beer kit. The only quirks here were the dry malt and the dry yeast, neither of which I had never used. Those quirks were just bumps in the road though and the brew was easy and went well.
What really surprised me about this brew was how active the fermentation was. When I looked up the company, they seemed to have gone out for business so I assumed that the yeast would be weak and that fermentation would be slow. This was not the case, the fermentation was crazy to the point of overflow.
The bottling process was a little strange. It felt weird to transfer one gallon of beer into a bottling bucket, but it was a better solution than just funneling the beer into each bottle. I did probably lose a bottles worth of beer in the transfer process as I stirred up the sediment. That was a shame too because a gallon only yields 9-10 bottles.
The Plymouth Ale turned out to a pretty good drinker. I was very pleased at how clear and smooth it turned out. This kit was a fun experiment, yielded a few good bottles of an easy to drink beer and left me with all the gear I need to set up future small batch, side project beers. I could not find much out about the kit manufacturer but Plimoth Plantation still sells the kits as well as a cranberry wheat kit online.