hist-brewing: RE: heather ale

Cindy Renfrow renfrow at skylands.net
Tue Jun 30 18:12:32 PDT 1998

I found this in an endnote (pp. 283-4) in "The English Housewife" by
Gervase Markham, ed. by Michael R. Best. The [*] notes are mine.

[*speaking of malt]
"For those who could not even afford "sand barley" [*see below] William
Vaughan has some advice: '[Q] What shall poor men drink when malt is
extreme dear? [*too expensive] [A] They must gather the tops of heath,
whereof the usual brushes are made, and dry them, and keep them from
moulding.  Then they may at all times brew a cheap drink for themselves
therewith.  Which kind of drink is very wholesome as well for the liver as
the spleen, but much the more pleasant if they put a little liquorice unto
it.  There is another sort of drink of water and vinegar proportionately
mingled together, which in summer they may use.'"  William Vaughan,
Naturall and Artificial Directions for Health (1600), pp. 8-9.

[*"The last and worst grain for this purpose is the sand barley... it is
much subject to weeds of divers kinds, as tares, vetches, and such like,
which drink up the liquor in the brewing... the grain naturally of itself
hath a yellow, withered, empty husk, thick and unfurnished of meal, so that
the drink drawn from it can neither be so much, so strong, so good, nor so
pleasant...  Markham, p.181]


Cindy Renfrow
renfrow at skylands.net
Author & Publisher of "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, A Collection of 15th
Century Recipes" and "A Sip Through Time, A Collection of Old Brewing

>sure....go right ahead and send it!!
>Cindy Renfrow wrote:
>> Was someone here looking for documentation of heather used in ale?
>> Cindy Renfrow
>> renfrow at skylands.net

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