Seldom, in fact never have I sampled a brew and thought; I know what this needs, a few extra egg whites and some bean flour! That is until now. The above-mentioned food stuffs were standard ingredients in beer that was made, probably in the very village I brew in, towards the end of the 18th century. The suggestion for West Country White came from the walking encyclopaedia of beer Martyn Cornell. If you want the full story with references and everything I would recommend clicking here.
There is nothing normal about West Country White but perhaps its most crazy aspect is that it is consumed as it is still fermenting. I can only conclude that the West Country folk of the time had lazy horses and therefore were forced to propel their carts through the power of the flatus. The fart-generating potential of a fermenting mixture of beans and eggs must be of the very highest level known to man.
Another interesting twist on the recipe is that some West Country Whites were fermented spontaneously using whatever microflora was resident in the flour, air or semi-clean brewing vessels. The chances are that some of these bugs would be enteric and/or pathogenic so I can’t imagine that constipation or the wearing of pants for two days was very common in Cornwall back then. Add to this the fact that mining was a common occupation at the time and you have an image of subterranean hell second only to the downstairs toilets in a one star all-inclusive hotel in Egypt.
This brew will not only be a experiment in brewing but also a test of my constitution. Sampling this beer will be nearly on a par with Goldberger’s filth parties. Nearly but not quite!
Malt: Pale ale malt
Yeast: Old English
Spices: free range egg whites and gram flour