hist-brewing: Re: Old Ale

Pug Bainter pug at pug.net
Wed Jan 14 06:46:22 PST 1998

Paul Robertshaw said something that sounded like:
> There are any number of regulations specifying that ale be made only
> with water, yeast and malt. Yes, the frequency of these regulations
> suggests that they were frequently broken, but by the *minority* of
> brewers.  Why? Because the brewers themselves, through their guild,
> were instrumental in defining acceptable brewing practices
> (excepting the price charged for the final product!).

Do you have references for the practices of the guilds near this time
period? I'm very interested in reading more on it, especially the
guidelines they used for determining acceptable "brew" and membership
within the guild. As well as any charters or what not that gave
guidelines to follow in regards to what to do and not to do. For
example, is it okay to brew on Sunday or not? Any time restrictions?
(These are examples I read in a spurriers charter in _The Medieval

> Even where medieval English sources herbs/spices are described as being used,
> they are more for special occasions - for example in John Russell's 
> Boke of Nurture (15thC), Braggart is listed as being a suitable for a Franklin
> to drink rather than the Hippocras drunk by his social betters - and 
> household accounts only ever have records of hippocras being bought 
> for feasts.

I'm a bit confused at the logic. I'm not saying herbs/spices were heavily
used in beers and ales, just that the connection doesn't make sense.

Just because hippocras was only bought for feasts has no connection on
herbs/spices being used in beers and ales. Hippocras is a spiced and
usually sweetened wine; while braggart is a mead made with hops. This
would make them both in the "wine" category for the special occasion,
with the bitter flavor of beer in the Franklins' drink.

NOTE: I don't say it was a metheglyn since I don't see a pattern between
naming it mead and metheglyn in the recipes I have from near the 15th
Century. The braggart a friend of mine is making calls for a handful of
sage in addition to water, honey and hops. I don't remember the date nor
author of the recipe.


Phelim "Pug" Gervase  | "I want to be called. COTTONTIPS. There is something 
Barony of Bryn Gwlad  |  graceful about that lady. A young woman bursting with 
House Flaming Dog     |  vigor. She blinked at the sudden light. She writes
pug at pug.net           |  beautiful poems. When ever shall we meet again?"

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