Basic Colonial Brewing -Mashing and Decoction

The first major step in brewing beer is to extract the fermentable sugars and starches from the malt kernels.  This process is called mashing (from the German maisch: to mix).  The basic idea is to harness the enzymes already present in the grain in order to digest the complex inert starches into fermentable simple sugars.  …

Colonial Scientist Visits Fort Mifflin — Transit of Venus Saturday; June 20, 2020

We’re going to try to come back! All events will be outside, socially separated, and crowd size will be monitored and regulated but we are going to try to host an interpretive event at Fort Mifflin. The Transit of Venus from which the Royal Academy computed the Astronomical Unit occurred on June 3, 1769.  I …

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme… And you thought it was just Simon and Garfunkel lyric…

Stories of the Four Thieves may not be true but like all myths there is more to the tale than meets the eye.  Since the time of Hippocrates, miasma or “bad airs” were blamed for the spread of petulance and disease, particularly cholera, typhus, and the bubonic plague.  The Miasma theory held that a poisonous vapor or …

Who Cares What King George Thinks about the Declaration of Independence!

I know most Americans don’t understand this, but the Declaration of Independence was never written for King George nor for Parliament.  Sure, it was sent to them, but they were not the target audience:  The American People were! On Saturday June 28th at Fort Mifflin and again on Friday July 3rd at Thornbury Farms near …

What do you do when you can’t run events?

Fix your gear… About three years ago, I broke the wrist on my Brown Bess Musket while doing a demonstration as a Volunteer in the Park at Valley Forge. I tried to epoxy the pieces but that proved to be a temporary fix. I bought a new stock but never got around to getting the …

WMD — Weapons of Musical Destruction

From 1745 to 1996, the Kingdom of Great Britain considered the bagpipes weapons of war, not instruments played in battle, like the fife and drum that is used to direct troops, but an actual physical weapon, like a sword or a musket. Those of you who have heard bagpipes may not be completely shocked, but …