SV: hist-brewing: period sparging

pwp at cs.cmu.edu pwp at cs.cmu.edu
Thu Apr 8 10:57:20 PDT 1999


Badger writes:

< Now in my reserach i have never found a reference to sparging.  My reasons
< for believing that no sparging was is mostly theoretical (just like
< everyone else, neh?)..

The earliest attribution to sparging I've personally seen is in the
Oxford English Dictionary.  The OED lists the first use of the term
"sparge", when referring to brewing, at 1839, and then again at 1885
[OED, 2nd ed (1989), v. 16, p. 117].  Greg Noonan, in his "Beer
Styles" book on Scotch Ale, quotes W. H. Roberts, a Scottish brewer,
writing in 1847: "The process of sparging is, in my opinion, decidedly
preferable to a second mash for ale worts, and has ever been
considered in this light by the whole of Scottish brewers."  [Noonan
Scotch Ale, pp. 90]

Now this is fine for nailing down the use of sparging in the British
Isles.  As for continental European use (particularly in German,
Flemish, etc.), I don't have any information.  I wouldn't be a bit
surprised if it turns out that they invented the technique quite a bit
earlier.

It is also fine for justifying the use of sparging in some recreations
of 19th century beers, particularly old Scotch ales.

< - in Corran (history of brewing)? i think? there is a non dated article
< about french brewing (purported medieval) in which they do a semi sparge,
< by pour the collected wort thru again.  first specific reference i have
< found to anything even close to sparge like.

I'd love to see this, and where the information from this article came
from.

< - before the 112-13th century i am not sure they even boiled the wort.
< Tofi wrote an excellent article based on references in Bennets book that
< he theorized that they didn't boil the collected wort, but rather pitched
< yeast right away.  (from memory here, don't crucify me if i am wrong.. :)

That's about the up-shot of what I found out.  At least, that not
boiling the wort seems to produce a result that fits the evidence
(that I have at the moment).

That said, I bet the Germans were doing something different; possibly
very different.  We know that Hildegard von Bingen had a hop garden at
her abbey, and wrote about the use of hops in her herbal.  And in
Bennett there is a reference to the import of "Flemish Ale" in the
13th C., which Bennett presumes to be beer (i.e. with hops).  We also
know that to get most of the bitterness usefully out of hops, we have
to boil them in the wort.  (Though recently some home-brewers have
been experimenting with throwing hops into the wort run-off as it is
being run-off, so this *might* work somewhat as well.  It would be at
least an interesting thing to try once.)

	--Paul / Tofi

(BTW, does anyone have St. Hildegard's herbal text on-line?)

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