hist-brewing: Bottles ?

Melanie Wilson MelanieWilson at compuserve.com
Sun Jul 4 10:32:01 PDT 1999

>I've tried glazed stoneware and found it to be no deferent than bottles
(except for convenience and expense) Most period containers would be very
inconvenient for safe travel.  I figure what's important is the wine,
after all we don't eat the bottle. 

There we differ as the whole presentation of the time is important to me :)

> Containers can distinctly effect the
flavor (consider oak), and amphoras with there conical bottoms would 
effect the winemaking process exposing little surface area of the
sediment back to the wine.  This is probably important since wine was
sometimes made without racking.  Plastering ( the addition of gypsum)
would have actually sealed off the sediment from the wine.

Yes as you say which is why it is propaply good to use the correct
container subject to it being non toxic any how !

>I had a ceramic pot special made.  Someone had a source, which I have
never seen but was told about that described  lids set in groves filled
with water and the brewer listening to the sound of the lids as they
bubbled.  As it turns out I have since seen old glass canning jars with
lips around of a similar design but much smaller as well as some ceramic
ones of about quart or half gallon size.  The lips were filled with
sealing wax and thus the jars were sealed.  My vessel hole about 2.5
gallons.  It worked well except that when you put the lid in the water,
some of the water spills into the wine.  A better design would have been
to have the inner lip higher.  As I said above I have never seen the
source he referred to but the pot was functional and there are similes
things in existence.

What time was it meant to be ? I have ceramic old English ones that are OK

>I have worked out the surface area to volume ratios so I can simulate oak
barrels. (It just does not work to use smaller barrels.)

Good excuse for big barrels :)

> I have a source suggesting to line barrels with copper, tin or led. 
Very bad Idea.  Deadly that led.  No real proof it was ever dune.

Too true

> I know
led was used for cooking in roman times and iron and copper in 1659. 

Copper still used here & mainland Europe for cooking

>Iron kettles make beer taste funny/bad, and mead ferment like crazy and
taste horrible.  Digby said copper is better than iron. 

It is less reactive, but is often lined with tin for cooking for safety.
Copper & acid can be dangerous.

> Copper works for
cooking mead in.  I've tried it.  Professional sources say yeast take out
copper during fermentation but storage of wine in a tank with a brass
fitting can cause problems.

>  I have never tried leather.  Modern
processing of leather can have some super toxic stuff.

Yes indeed, but you can line with brewers pitch.

>  If you knew
exactly how the wineskin was processed...I have seen a picture of a
"hogshead" wineskin.  It was literally the hole hide (minus the head) 
What was that Biblical reference to new wine in old wineskins?

Dunno sorry !

I have a wooden bottle, a horn one, various leather covered wine bags (do
you know the type ?) these work well & are reusable, I also got a plastic ,
leather covered bola that is OK for modern standards & looks fairly period
and loads of ceramic !

It is a balance of safety v period correctness


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