hist-brewing: More eggs in brewing. -Reply

John Purdy John_Purdy at Jabil.com
Wed Mar 17 09:23:17 PST 1999


Nathan Moore wrote : 

	IMHO limiting your historic brewing to only duplicating historic
recipes would be stifling not only to the brewer but to the craft.

I'll second that!  Reading modern books which refer to the origins of a
style or simply ancient brewing techniques the point is brought up again and
again that brewing secrets were very much just that, secrets.  Secrets held
precious, closely guarded and never written down so as not to let them fall
into someone else's hands.  Following a recipe that you stole would be like
trying to recreate a McGuiver trick...some crucial ingredient or process
purposefully omitted.  One even reads of a brewer who moved from one city to
another and was thereby considered a traitor to his town.

Copied from "Classic Beer Style Series : Bock" without permission : 

Over the century, Einbeck became a renowned brewing center, outstripping the
fame of its larger neighbors in the League.  By 1385, there were 600 private
houses brewing Einbecker beer within the city.  The city's mayor was also
its chief brewmaster.  The citizen-brewers worked in a cooperative fashion,
with the brewmaster producing a wort for each of them, and they in turn
tending to the fermentation.  The city subsequently purchased the output
from the private houses, blended the beer, and then warehoused and brokered
the beer.  The trademark crowned-E device was owned by the city; none of the
private brewers were allowed to use it separately. (Mongo's note : doesn't
sound like that recipe was shared.)

A writer of the time, Jacubus Theodurus Tabernaemontanus, in
1613...described Einbeck's beer: "thin, subtle, clear of bitter taste, has a
pleasant acidity on the tongue, and many other good qualities."  (Mongo's
note : had to get back to that clear thing, right?)

In 1612, Duke Maximillian I persuaded the brewmaster of Einbeck, Elias
Pichler, to come to Munich.  Once in Munich, the brewmaster was not allowed
to leave town, so valuable were his skills considered. (Mongo's note :
doesn't sound like he shared recipes either.)

We must further consider our own situation...presented with modern brewing
equipment, procedures, technology, ingredients, et al, we still choose to
recreate early brews, at least those out of the 'period' in which we live.
Because the information still exists we can do this.  Brewers in the period
we emulate must well have known that brewing was around longer than their
father, or his father, and that some small piece of information got handed
down again and again so that even earlier techniques and ingredients found
their way into the beers of that time.  The classic 'secret ingredient'
still exists.  In Sierra Nevada's Christmas ale it is said to be sweet gyle.
<G>

So seeing as how technology does not simply cease to exist, that information
is passed down through the generations, that flora and fauna remain
indigenous until they become extinct, that man will adapt, create and
experiment whether he be brewer, painter or candlemaker, that we continue to
strive for excellence and uniqueness, I cannot assume that a process or
ingredient once in use would ever cease to be so.  Surely, even as I write
this, a company in Texas is packaging up my pine resin so I can brew with
that.  Maybe a nice, dry rets-meada. (from the Greek wine retsina.)  Common
sense is our best ally, we must learn to trust it.

Mongo




	-----Original Message-----
	From:	NATHAN T MOORE [SMTP:NTMOORE at SMTPGATE.DPHE.STATE.CO.US]
	Sent:	Tuesday, March 16, 1999 10:31 AM
	To:	hist-brewing at pbm.com
	Subject:	Re: hist-brewing: More eggs in brewing. -Reply

	Beth Ann (Lady Peyton) wrote:
		>>Unfortunately
	without a time machine we'll never know for certain what period
beverages were supposed to be like because primary documentation doesn't
exist in our craft.  This is why duplication of the period recipe as closely
as possible is so crucial.
	IMHO limiting your historic brewing to only duplicating historic
recipes would be stifling not only to the brewer but to the craft.  Here is
my philosophy (in a list because after all, I am an engineer)
	1)	We can use historic recipes to discover what methods and
ingredients were available
2)	It is safe to assume that people were just as creative and capable
of developing unique recipes (or more so) in the past as they are today.
And brewers are damn creative (just observe some of the fruit, spice, and
other beer and mead categories at a competition).  
	3)  Therefore: If we use ingredients and methods that were
historically available, with some attention to assure that
these methods and ingredient would have been available to any one particular
brewer (not mixing Australian Aborigine and Celtic 13th century...), we
should have a historic beverage that still shows the skill AND creativity
of the brewer.

	To work on an example given.  Maybe there were some recipes that
were historically cloudy.  However, it is very likely that a different
historic brewer (than the one who recorded the recipe) would have preferred
his beverage clear, known about egg whites, and used them when following the
recipe or brewing one similar.
	All right, I am done and will shut up now.
	Nathan Moore
	PS (are there any other Outlands (SCA) brewers on this list? If so I
would be interested to here from you via private E-mail)

	
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