[Fwd: hist-brewing: Re: Domesday Ale]

hdavis at ix.netcom.com hdavis at ix.netcom.com
Fri Feb 13 21:54:33 PST 1998

On 02/14/98 19:22:58 you wrote:
>bjm10 at cornell.edu wrote:
>> "Hops were used 'in period'"...
>> A 17th-century reference is not valid to make a claim about a
>> 13th-century practice.  Digby can show us that hops were used in England
>> during the early 17th and late 16th centuries.  Now, how do you extend
>> that to the 13th century?  While one can claim that hops existed in
>> England by the 16th century, the trick is extending them backwards three
>> centuries.

>earlier documentation than that is needed I am glad to provide!
>First off let me say very clearly that the English would not have used Hops 
in an
>ale as early as the Domesday Ale in question, My point, (and I may have 
>The earliest mention for England I have is 1524 When it was said:
>"Hops, Reformation, Bays and Beer
>all came to England in one bad year."

Hopped beer is mentioned in the London City Letter-books in 1391 according 
to Unger in "Technical Change in the Brewing Industry in Germany, The Low 
Countries, and England in the Late Middle Ages." From 1 May 1398 to 1 MAy 
1399 860 barrels of hoped beer were imported into England through the port 
of Great Yarmouth. By 1410 the imports had started to reduce as local 
production offset the need for imports. In 1436 the sheriffs of London 
issued a writ advising all brewers to go on about their business even though 
aliens from Holland and Zeeland were brewing with hops (it was poisonous, 
unfit to dronk, and caused drunkeness). Evidently hopped beer was produced 
as beer brewers were not controlled like ale brewers. Henry the 6th 
appointed 2 surveyors for beer in 1441. In 1493, beer brewers became a 
definite guild [H.S. Corran, A History of Brewing]. (as a side note, gruit 
was phased out in Delft and Gouda by 1409 - there was no excise income from 
it. Leiden continued brewing with gruit through 1420.)

Unger's figures on ale/beer production indicate a wide scale mastery of 
hopped beer in phases: 1300 North Germany, 1390 Holland, 1470 Southern 
Netherlands, and about 1550 in England.

>Following the Hundred Years war hops were sporadically used by by brits, 
>so that There came to be a law against the use of hops in England, (this 
>primarily so that the church could keep it's control on brewing, but that 
is a
>whole different kettle of fish.)

I haven't found a Kingdom wide prohibition against hopped beer. Rather, 
cities enacted a series of regulations, often changing their mind at least 
once per year. In addition, the assizes suggest that the prohibition against 
hopped beer was yet another means of gathering "taxes" on malt beverages. It 
was equally "against regulation" at some times to produce ale.

It's true that various churches held the patent on gruit and made 
significant income from it. But, that was also on a regional basis. 

>Germans have used hops as early as 768, And realized very quickly the
>preservative power of hops, There are several german treatises on the uses 

Hops were earlier used by the Romans in the region. I don't have sources 
handy (these are still packed from our move) but as I recall the Romans ate 
hop shoots as a vegetable, and used the flowers as medicinals.


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