hist-brewing: Historical "non-sanitization"--any experience?

Jack C. Thompson tcl at teleport.com
Thu May 6 20:37:03 PDT 1999

>In a message dated 5/5/99 3:45:05 PM Central Daylight Time, bjm10 at cornell.edu


>Has anyone come across descriptions or instructions for cleaning in
>18th, 17th, 16th, or earlier sources?

This is cleaning information contained in three pamphlets I've published
(and still in print...:)

From: _A Booke of Secrets: Instructions for [making] wine_, London, 1596:

Those vessels that are hoarie are cured in this maner, put a quantitie of
sleacked lime, into a butt of twelve baskets, and put into the same butt
being stopped, either boiled water or wine, & let it bee so well stopped
that no aire issue forth.  Let it stand a little space, then roule it up
and downe divers times: that done, open it, and let the liquor that is in
it issue forth, & wash the butt againe with cold water.  Or otherwise, put
gineper (being sodden in a chaldron of wine, and that is seething hote)
into the vessels, & do as I said before, and it will be better, if both the
remedies be used one after the other, that is, the second after the first.
In the same maner, the fats are remedied, but because they cannot bee
stopped in such sort as the buts may be, they are covered with clothes, so
that they cannot send foorth any aire: the buts are preserved from
mouldinesse, if when they are to be emptied, they stand open untill there
bee but a smal quantitie of wine in them, and that they bee very well
dried, and after that well washed with salt water, or wine, or else not
emptieng foorth that little quantitie of Wine that is in them, the butt
being wel stopped, that the smell or sent may not issue forth.

From:  _Brewing Science: The Early Days_, London, 1846:

     In cleaning them before being put away, avoid the use of soap, or any
greasy material, and use only a brush and scalding water, being
particularly careful not to leave any yeast or fur on the sides, then place
them away in a clean, and moderately dry situation. Should they become
tainted or mouldy, take a strong lye of pearlash, which spread over the
bottoms of the vessels scalding hot, and then with the broom scrub the
sides and other parts.
     Or, take common salt and spread it over the coolers, &c., and strew
some on their wet sides, turn in scalding water and scrub them with a broom.
     Or, throw some quicklime into water in the vessel, and scrub over the
bottom and sides with it; in each case well washing afterwards with clean
water. Or, wash well first with oil of vitriol diluted with 8 times its
weight of water, and afterwards with clean water.
     Remarks. Brewing utensils with care will last for many years: Mr.
Cobbett says: "I am now in a farm-house where the same utensils have been
used for forty years; and the owner tells me that they may last for forty
years longer."  The place where these vessels are kept, and the operations
carried on, is called the "Brewhouse."

From: _Brewing, and Management of Malt Liquors_, Edinburgh, 1838:

To Season New Casks
   Boil two pecks of malt dust in a copper, with a sufficient quantity of
water to fill a thirty gallon cask; put it boiling hot into the cask, stop
it close and let it stand two nights; then wash the barrel, and when dry it
is fit for use.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


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