Ancestral ale made with Italian rye and my own ale yeast! . I’m so excited to get back to traditional ale-making. I’ve used quite a few starters in the eighteen months I’ve been playing with this – sourdough, mead, boza…yet I knew I wanted to have a go at making my own dedicated starter from scratch. . What I needed was a yeast (not bacteria) dominant starter. Reading about Norwegian techniques I knew I could use flour and water, but that I also needed something to suppress potential bacteria. I didn’t want to use hops – they only came into ale/beer in the 1500s. I plumped for the locally-abundant anti-bacterial rosemary and boiled the herb in the water I used for every refresh. . Along with rosemary, I also use bacteria-inhibiting salt and yeast-encouraging sugar. After 10 days I had a strong yeasty starter (pic in my story) which I then used with grain I’d malted myself to make this ale. . Pictured here are three bottles about to go into a second ferment, one flavoured with cloves, another fennel seeds and the last elderflower and rosehip. . I’m reading all about how women dominated brewing in England until the commercialisation that happened after the Black Death. Every page I read and every experiment I do connects me to those who came before me, whose DNA is in my own. . I’ll put more details and pictures in my story today. There is an ‘ancestral ale’ highlight if you want to follow along in my journey.