hist-brewing: Levels of authenticity

bjm10 at cornell.edu bjm10 at cornell.edu
Thu Oct 16 06:42:06 PDT 1997



On Wed, 15 Oct 1997, Wylie A. & Gail D. Smith wrote:

> I am not really recreating the hop schedule on purpose. Authenticity is
> near impossible anyway. I just like experimenting with this as a base
> recipe.

Actually, this leads into some ideas I've been mulling with on expanding 
the various levels of authenticity of reproduction--that is, expanding on 
their classification, to reduce the confusion that arises when one 
person's "period" brew is another person's "feeble attempt".


Going from greatest to least authentic:


Replica:  A replica is made using no modern substitutions of materials 
nor methods, from original descriptions of manufacture or as solid 
scholarly reconstruction as possible.  In addition, a replica *must* be 
made by someone in the direct craft tradition of the original makers.  
Thus, Bass could make a replica 1847 Bass IPA, but you or I could not, 
unless we were also trained by the brewers at Bass.

Strict Reproduction:  This fulfills all requirements of a replica except 
that the maker is not in the direct craft tradition.  If you or I manage 
to get hold of 10 quarters of malt, 2 quarters of wheat, and 120lbs of 
hops, all of the 1847 varieties and brew up an IPA, for example.

Substantive Reproduction:  This uses only historically accurate materials 
with no modern substitutions but uses some modern methods.  It still 
attempts to reproduce a specific item that is known to have existed.

Methodical Reproduction:  This uses historically accurate methods but has 
substitutions of modern parts or ingredients.  It still attempts to 
reproduce a specific item that is known to have existed.

Loose Reproduction:  This permits modern materials and methods, but only
sparingly--only when necessity demands, and the craftsman makes every
reasonable effort to not use the modernities.  It still attempts to
reproduce a specific item that is known to have existed. 

Strict Contrafait:  This uses only historically accurate ingredients and 
methods to produce something that is speculatively possible, given those 
ingredients and methods, but that is not specifically documented.

Substantive Contrafait:  This uses only historically accurate materials 
with no modern substitutions but uses some modern methods to produce 
something that is speculatively possible.

Methodic Contrafait:  This uses only historically accurate methods with 
no substitutions but uses some modern materials to produce something that 
is speculatively possible.

Loose Contrafait:  This is a speculative product that has used both 
modern materials and methods in its manufacture--but the craftsman has 
taken every reasonable effort to minimize the modernities.

Historically-Inspired:  This takes historical elements as its basis but is
very free with the use of modern methods and materials.

Tributary:  This is something made with a "nod to history", with little 
regard for authentic methods nor models.  One could consider at least 
some of these things to be a "tribute" to earlier products.

Fantasy:  This is something made to confirm to popular prejudices about 
history or a purely modern thing packaged in an "old-timey" fashion.




Thus, the beer I brewed from the Arnold Chronicle Recipe, which used a 
mixture of modern malts to simulate 16th-century malts (but NO CRYSTAL 
MALT, only brown, pale, and a hint of smoked), used a two-mashing system 
instead of sparging, but used a gas stove and plastic buckets was a Loose 
Reproduction that verges upon being Historically-Inspired.


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