FW: hist-brewing: Real Ale -- OT, OOP

Kirsty Pollock kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com
Thu Sep 30 01:16:38 PDT 1999


I have definitely read that use of oak was (probably) due to a
misconception. I have something somewhere on treatment of barrels which I
hope has not been chucked out by my sporadically-tidy partner - I will try
to find.

Certainly no modern British beer has any oaking to my knowledge, and no home
brewers in the UK that I have met, nor books I have read, nor beers I have
drunk include any oak flavours, which whilst it may not be decisive, is
certainly to my mind persuasive - with all the mileage to be made out of
'tradition', somebody would have tried it.

Any UK experts (I just live there and make some beer sometimes, I'm not a
historian or a specialist) want to be definitive?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kel Rekuta [mailto:krekuta at netcom.ca]
> Sent: 30 September 1999 03:23
> To: Kirsty Pollock
> Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Real Ale -- OT, OOP
> Kirsty Pollock wrote:
> > Gary,
> >
> > Sounds good. Must try one next time it's cherry season. At 
> what point do you
> > add the fruit?
> >
> > As to the oak - there's no reason anybody should be using 
> it so far as I
> > know. Beer barrels were always sealed with pitch or 
> something and no oak
> > taste gets into the beer. I haven't got refs (I read the 
> articles a while
> > ago), but someone else is bound to. Modern british beer 
> certainly never
> > tastes of oak.
> >
> > You could, though, probably use young oak leaves as a 
> bittering agent, not
> > there's another idea that'll have to wait...
> >
> > Kirsty
> I'd like to see the references you mention about not using 
> oak. Not all barrels
> were lined with
> pitch, but many were depending on the local and the period. 
> The same reasons for
> using oak in
> wine apply to any ale or beer that might have been kegged for storage.
> Part of "modern" read industrial age brewer's pitch is montan 
> wax. It was not
> readily available in
> medieval Europe. Most "pitch" products used then were 
> resinous material drawn
> from vegetation.
> Strong smell, strong smell. Very little attraction to using 
> it on brew vessels.
> Please check your information. If I'm mistaken, please enlighten me.
> Kel

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