hist-brewing: Medieval brewing assistance needed!

Wade Hutchison whutchis at bucknell.edu
Tue Dec 7 10:19:13 PST 1999

Poor form to reply to my own post, but this sentence is not
as clear as I would like it to be.

At 10:16 AM 12/7/1999 , you wrote:
>The final evidence, as presented in the "Ale, Beer
>and Brewsters" book, is the economics of brewing as enforced by the
>Assize of Ale do not allow any profit if firewood is purchased to boil
>the ale post-mash.

To expand, the Assize of Ale, and it's cousin the Assize of Bread were
English laws that governed the prices for wheat, barley, oats, ale and
bread.  What you have is a system that set the prices for both the raw
materials of brewing, and the final product (the ale).  Given the
typical numbers and the amounts that were recorded for brewing (all
from Judith Bennett's book "Ale, Beer and Brewsters"), and accounting
for the cost of firewood to heat the mash water, the profits come out
to a couple of pennies a gallon, which is in line with some other
evidence that is presented in the book.  If you try to account for the
cost of fuel to boil the wort, you erase the profit, and then some, making
brewing a money-losing endeavor, which we know it was not.
Hope this is clearer.
         -----Wade Hutchison

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