hist-brewing: English Ales Malt re:Paul

hdavis at ix.netcom.com hdavis at ix.netcom.com
Sat Dec 20 22:13:12 PST 1997

On 12/20/97 14:29:06 you wrote:
>At 07:21 PM 12/19/97 -0800, you wrote:
>>Ales & beer in England used barley malt (sometimes with added sugar be
>>that sucroce, cane or treacle) with a bittering agent or agents.  This
>Also wheat, also oats, also beans.  Sources:  "Complete Housewife" by
>Markham, an 18th century homebrewing(!) manual whose name escapes me at the
>moment, but which I have on reserve for me at Cornell's library while I
>make notes on it.  And other sources.

I think that you're referring to  Gervase Markham's book which was 
originally published in 1615 and updated by the author (and publisher in at 
least one case) in ~1623 and 1631. A number of Markham's chapters appear to 
be translations or "liberal rewordings" of French and other works from the 
late 16th century. A more cynical person would say that he copied large 
portions wholesale. The important point about Markham's use of earlier works 
is that most of his information can be traced to pre-1600, and some to the 
very early 16th century.

>>could be hops, bog myrtle or any other substances available.
>Sasparilla was mentioned as a hops substitute in the 18th-century work.
>>Taxes and what was taxed influenced what went into beer and ale more
>>than anything.  Taxes on barley caused added sugar or other grains to

Through the 17th century it appears that not only taxes played a role, but 
more importantly, local governments prescribed specific maximums and 
minimums for grain bills by grain type that were in part dependant upon the 
grain harvest. For the better part of the 15th and 16th centuries it seems 
that these laws were aimed at ensuring that there was enough grain to make 
the necessary bread for the populace. So, while I partly agree that taxation 
played a big part in grain bills across medieval and renaissance Europe, 
through large parts of the 14-16th centuries governments interceeded rather 
more directly than through simple taxation.

>After these taxes were imposed, but they weren't imposed throughout the
>entirety of English history.

Not only were they not consistently imposed, but different areas of England 
had different Asizes at the same time.

>>increase, taxes on gravity caused less malt to be used and a thinner,
>>weaker beer produced.  Hops at that time were imported from European

At what time did you find gravity being taxed? All of the taxation records 
that I've looked at through the 18th century relied on subjective analysis, 
none of it gravity based. Instead, taxes were collected by an asize and/or 
license with the selling price of strong ale, ale, and small ale defined at 
various times by the local government.

A hidden tax that most people don't consider related to brewing vessels. At 
different times, brewing vessels were taxed in different fashions. This 
influenced the size of brewing vessels and fermentation vats. Jurisdictions 
in which brewing vessels were taxed at a single rate independent of the 
vessel size promoted larger batch sizes.

>At what time was this?  Hops were recorded as being grown in England as
>early as the late 16th century (A fellow named "Scot" wrote a treatise on
>hops-growing in England at the time).  By the 18th and 19th centuries, when
>the gravity taxes were imposed, England grew its own hops.

Hops in England had an earlier history in general. The Romans in England 
employed hops as a medicinal well before the 16th century. I've traced 
Markham's piece on hops back to the early 1500's, and found several refences 
to hopped ale in the late 15th century. While it was not popular in general 
in England at that time, it was at least known in the late 1400's.


Henry Davis Consulting, Inc     / new product consulting
PO Box 1270                     / product readiness reviews
Soquel, Ca 95073                / IP reviews
ph: (408) 462-5199              / full service marketing
fax: (408) 462-5198

To unsubscribe from this list, send email to majordomo at pbm.com containing
the words "unsubscribe hist-brewing". To contact a human about problems, send
mail to owner-hist-brewing at pbm.com

More information about the hist-brewing mailing list