Brewing Ale and Making Wine

Ale was made with grain, mainly barley. The barley was “malted”, that is, left to germinate or start growing in water. The grain was then roasted slowly to stop the seed from growing further. This malt was crushed and boiled in water. After the liquid had cooled, yeast was added. As the yeast reacted with the sugars in the malt, it changed them into alcohol. The ale was stored in wooden barrels. As ale went sour quickly, it had to be made regularly. In the later Middle Ages, a type of herb called hops was added, which helped preserve the ale for a longer time. Ale with hops is called beer.

Wine was used as a substitute for water and in cooking meals for feasts. Wine that had become sour was used as vinegar. Wine was made by first crushing the grapes, which required lots of people to tread on them with their feet in large stone or wooden tubs to press the juice out. The skins from the crushed grapes then floated to the top. Usually, if white wine was to be made, the skins were removed from the liquid. If red wine was being made, the skins were left to give the wine a dark red color. The skins of the grapes had yeast on them, and so the liquid started fermenting. The wine was stored in large wooden barrels usually made from oak.

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