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.
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