hist-brewing: weight bet (just a side issue)
hdavis at ix.netcom.com
hdavis at ix.netcom.com
Fri Feb 13 18:37:48 PST 1998
On 02/13/98 12:59:54 you wrote:
>Well, no -- he's betting that they won't both weigh 256 pounds. And they
>won't. They'll weigh 3#8oz.
Or 25 pounds, or 28 pounds, or many other numbers including 256 pounds.
>This is quite an interesting discussion -- I'll be pleased to see where
>this recipe winds up.
To me the key point of weights and measures is that once we move away from
the primary source, we are dealing with a translator's assessment of what
the measure was and what it meant. In this case, Bryan has used some sources
that indicate that a quarter was a volume measure. I have sources that
indicate that it was both at different times and different places. But, for
England of the 11th century, my dictionaries and primary sources indicate
that it was a weight. I'm very interested in the references Bryan gave
precisely because they are at odds with what I have for period sources. I
ahve no doubt that the weights and measures Bryan used are reported in the
references. The question is whether or not the dictioary gives a true and
Weights and measures were not my primary interest, and still don't intrigue
me that much - except as needed to understand the receipts that I have.
Scott Mills did some interesting math and selected one unit of measure as
that which made sense. We could start with the GB definition of a quarter -
8.26 bu which is an English Statute value. Or it could refer to 1/4 of a tun
(252 gallons depending on whose tun you use). Each quarter would then be 1
gallon short of 8 bu versus the ~2 gallons over for the statute quarter.
For this specific receipt the actual measurements may not matter since they
are "in the ballpark" of each other when we consider modern brewing
knowledge. The variance in actual extraction rates, varieties of grains,
quality of malts etc probably introduces a wider spectum of possible
historically "correct" outcomes than the uncertainty over measures.
Henry Davis Consulting, Inc / new product consulting
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