hist-brewing: Ground ivy

JazzboBob at aol.com JazzboBob at aol.com
Fri May 7 20:50:53 PDT 1999

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

 Does anyone know if this plant used as a brewing additive in Europe or is it
 strictly a colonial brewing herb?   >>

The 3 great herbalists of England - Gerarde (1597), Culpepper (1651), and 
Grieve (1931) - all comment on its use in ale.  Culpepper insists that "It is 
good to tun up with new drink, for it will  clarify it in a night that it 
will be fitter to drink the next morning."  Grieve refers to it as one of the 
principle plants used by the early Saxons to clarify their beers, before hops 
had been introduced, the leaves being steeped in the hot liquor.   It not 
only improved the flavour and the keeping qualities of the beer, but renderd 
it clearer.  Untill the reign of Henry the VIII it was in general use for 
this purpose.

I think that these comments indicate that the "ground ivy" was used for many 
of the same qualities that we modern day brewers associate with hops.  
Perhaps the colonial brewers continued the use of it here because of the 
difficulty and expense in procuring hops.  Or they may have liked the taste 
too.  I have been experimenting with some colonial loaf sugar and molasses 
type ales that use various herbs.  They are very pleasant to drink even 
though they certainly can't be compared to modern day beer.  It wasn't so 
easy to get supplies in the old days and so they brewed with many different 
ingredients.  Many were used for the medicinal and healing efffects too.  
Herbs were very popular and well known before we became accustomed to the 
modern drug store.
cheers,  jazzbobob

To unsubscribe from this list, send email to majordomo at pbm.com containing
the words "unsubscribe hist-brewing" (or unsubscribe hist-brewing-digest, if
you get the digest.) To contact a human about problems, send mail to
owner-hist-brewing at pbm.com

More information about the hist-brewing mailing list