hist-brewing: brewers and sanitation

BrewInfo brewinfo at xnet.com
Tue Jul 13 10:53:25 PDT 1999

Mel writes (quoting me):
>>I've mentioned this before... if you are trying to imitate historical
>beers, you had better include some lactic bacteria in there, because
>I'll bet anything that all beers from 300+ years ago had a noticeable
>lactic character.  Traditional Lambics (like Cantillon, Boon, Cuvee Rene)=
>probably taste like most beers did 300+ years ago.  They just didn't
>know enough about sanitation and the role of bacteria =

>But are you saying this cross contamination is dangerous, toxic, or
>anything ? or just undersirable to the modern palate ?

Just undesirable to the narrow-minded beer drinker.  Lambic lovers seek
out the most traditional beers, some of which can be intensely sour.
There was an article in Brewing Techniques a few years ago on Old Ales.
I believe it was written by Martin Lodahl.  It was so long ago, I suspect
it may already be out-of-print and therefore available for free on
Brewing Techniques website (www.brewtech.com ...?  something like that...
try a search engine if I've botched the URL).  Anyway, in this article,
Martin lists the acidity of some early 1900's Old Ales and even this recently,
they were very noticeably sour.

If you are unfamiliar with such sour beers, I suspect you may have a bit
of intestinal distress if you consume a LOT on your first try, but once
you get used to them, they should not be a problem.  There is no danger
or toxicity to be concerned about.  Oh, in the UK you might even be able
to find some others I didn't mention (because they arn't imported into
the US): Wets, Girardin, Oud Beersel... that's all I can think of off
the top of my head.

I have pictures of the Cantillon brewery and museum, but have been
putting off scanning them and putting them on my website.  Just too
busy with other things.  If you keep bugging me (via private email)
I'll eventually knuckle down and put them up.


Al Korzonas, Lockport, IL
korz at brewinfo.org

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