hist-brewing: aging old beers

JazzboBob at aol.com JazzboBob at aol.com
Fri May 7 20:24:56 PDT 1999

In a message dated 99-05-07 12:05:22 EDT, you write:

<< ner-hist-brewing at pbm.com
 From: Wade Hutchison <whutchis at bucknell.edu>
 Date: Fri, 07 May 1999 10:26:17 -0400
 Subject: Re: hist-brewing: barrels
  I would suggest this is the difference - Ale was probably not shipped,
 since it lasted at most 4-5 days from the date of brewing.  Beer,
 on the other hand, could last up to a year (e.g. Markham's March
 Beer), so it could be shipped about.  Indeed, what else would they
 use but wooden casks?  I believe amphorae are out of the question.
Why do you suggest that Ale lasted at most 4-5 days from the date of brewing? 
 Prior to 1700 the term Ale  referred specifically to a malt beverage made 
without hops.  Beer meant a hopped malt beverage distinct from Ale.  I have 
several recipes for unhopped Gruit Ales c.1300 that suggest maturing them for 
3 and 4 months.  In a ale with an OG of 50 or 80 this appears quite 
reasonable.  I also have a recipe for Welsh Ale c.1400 with a OG of 70 that 
needs to mature for 6 months.  Last year, I made an  Ebulum (Unhopped 
Elderberry Ale, 1744) with an OG of 85.  It's still quite pleasant to drink 
after a year.  I would imagine the finist old ales/barley wines were aged 
quite some time in the old days hence the name "olde ale"
Cheers, JazzboBob

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