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Recipe: Dublin Castle Ale 1574

Want to take a stab at a 16th century ale brewed with malted oats? This recipe is closely based on the one that historians recently re-created using Dublin Castle records that date to 1574.

Susan Flavin Jun 4, 2024 - 3 min read

Recipe: Dublin Castle Ale 1574 Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves/

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Here’s a homebrew-scale recipe for the beer that Susan Flavin, Marc Meltonville, and their team brewed based on the 1574 records from Dublin Castle. In the Brewer’s Notes below—because a few of the ingredients they used are almost impossible to source—we include practical suggestions for substitutions.


Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.048
FG: 1.010
IBUs: 17
ABV: 4.9%

5.7 lb (2.6 kg) Warminster flaked malted oats
4.7 lb (2.1 kg) malted Bere barley

2.3 oz (65 g) Tolhurst at 90 minutes [17 IBUs]

NCYC 1026

Mill the grains and mash at about 149°F (65°C) for about 60 minutes. Recirculate until the runnings are free of particles, then slowly run off into the kettle. Do a batch sparge: Add more hot mash water (about 158°F/70°C), mix, and rest 90 minutes, then recirculate and lauter again to get about 6 gallons (23 liters) total. Boil 90 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. Allow to cool overnight to ambient temperature, then pitch the yeast. Pour into an upright wooden barrel and stir vigorously. Ferment at ambient temperatures (or around 70°F/21°C) until complete, about 5–7 days. Transfer to casks for storage and condition for 3 weeks before drinking.

Malt: It’s not clear what sort of oats they used at Dublin Castle; it could be worth experimenting with cooked (gelatinized) oats as well as oat malt. Bere was a six-row malt variety also used by whiskey distillers; a good substitute may be a six-row distiller’s malt with high diastatic power (sometimes labeled HDP). Because of the high proportion of oats, using some rice hulls to aid the lauter is probably a good idea.

Hops: There are few Tolhurst plants left. USDA records of British-grown Tolhurst (collected in 1982) mention alpha acids of 2.2%, beta acids of 2.9%. The original Dublin Castle records mention Flemish hops; low-alpha Fuggles or Goldings should get you close.

Yeast: NCYC 1026 is a strain from the U.K. National Collection of Yeast Cultures collected from an unnamed British brewery. Go for an old-fashioned British strain, such as Wyeast 1026 British Cask Ale—the number may be a coincidence, or perhaps there is a connection.

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