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Cock Ale

Classification: cock ale, historical, 1500s, chicken, meat

Source: Chris Sutherland (, 6/20/93

The recipe for authentic Cock Ale has finally arrived. Boy it sure is scary:

COCK ALE (circa the 1500's) A real recipe from some obscure text found in the Scottish Highlands... Enjoy....


"Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better; parboil the cock, flay him, and stamp him in a stone mortar until his bones are broken (you must gut him when you flaw him). Then, put the cock into two quarts of sack, and put to it five pounds of raisins of the sun - stoned; some blades of mace, and a few cloves. Put all these into a canvas bag, and a little before you find the ale has been working, put the bag and ale together in vessel.

In a week or nine days bottle it up, fill the bottle just above the neck and give it the same time to ripen as other ale."

Alternate recipe:

Brutal, eh? I was also given a modern recipe written by some guy named C.J.J. Berry.... Here goes this one...

"Take a few pieces of _cooked_ chicken and a few chicken bones (approx one tenth of the edible portion of the bird) well crushed or minced.

Also take half of pound of raisins, a very little mace, and one or maybe two cloves. Add all these ingrediants to half a bottle of string country white wine. Soak for 24 hrs. Then make on gallon of beer as follows:

1 lb Malt extract
1 Oz Hops
1/2 lb demerarra sugar
1 gallon water
Yeast and nutrient

Add the whole of the chicken mixture to the beer at the end of the second day. Fermentation will last six or seven days longer than usual and the ale should be matured at least one month in the bottle. This cock ale is of the barley wine type.