hist-brewing: measurments

Thu Apr 6 06:46:15 PDT 2000

>>The one reference I have seen calls
>>for a handful of malts to be roasted in an iron pot.

>Mind sharing the reference?

I believe Scott is reffering to a post I made to the SCA Brew list, here it is below:

"From: NATHAN T Moore  <NTMOORE at S...> 
Date: Fri Feb 18, 2000 12:06pm 
Subject: Dark malt and rambling research report 

              Lord Eadric and I had a short discussion about dark beers yesterday and I mentioned the only dark beer I had heard of that was period was a regional English beer where the malt was darkened in an iron skillet.  Well, he sent me to my books to back this up and I figured I would report it here. 

              In Curiosities of Ale and Beer (1889), a ale is mentioned called "grout ale".  This ale is said to be "of a brownish colour, and known only to the people about Newton Bussel"  This information was provided to the author by one Halliwell, who I have know idea who is beyond a reference to a "Dict. of Arch and Prov. Words" and a search on the internet fro "Halliwell" & "England"came up with 100's of sites about one of the Spice Girls.  Halliwell is said to get his information on the authority of Dean Milles' MS glossary.  A search for Dean Milles came up with a Miles, Dean " MSS (of a projected history of Devon)" (1755), I don't know if this was ever published so that appears to be a bit of a dead end.    There is also a footnote that provides a couple sources for the word grout, which "properly signifies ground meal or malt", but appears to be a name for either grain mixed with water before it become wort or the last runnings.  Other reference given are "Pegge says it is only drank by poor people, who are on that account called grouters."  Once again, I have no idea who this Pegge person is.  Finally a quote from the play "Tom Tyler and his Wife" (I think from 1551) says "This jolly growt is jolly and stout, I pray you stout it still-a" which is interpreted by the author as referring to a kind of ale.  Lastly, this ale was described by a physician from Newton Bussel (I cant even find where this town is) to be made of "a malt almost burnt in an iron pot, mixed with some of the barm which rises on the first workings in the keeve, a small quantity of which invigorates the whole mass and make it very heady" 

              The second source referring to this ale is Inns, Ales, and Drinking Customs of old England (1909), and is even less specific.  While speaking of the drinking customs of the Saxons the author gives reference to an "old rhyme" without giving an exact date our source that goes "King Hardicanute 'midst Danes and Saxons stout, Caroused in nut-brown ale and dined in grout" the author then goes on to state "grout being a heady kind of ale prepared from malt that had been slightly burnt in an iron pot." 

              There for to conclude, we know little more then when we started except: 

a) There was an ale produced sometime before at least 1755 that contained malt browned in an iron skillet or pot and was called grout. 

b) The term grout or growt appears to refer to a beverage that may be the same as the above at least as far back as 1551, and maybe back to the time of King Hardicanute, (reigned 1035 to 1042) 

c) Nathi should not claim something is period until he has done his research and proved it so, which I can not do here, although there is a possibility it is. 

So, can anyone expand on this mess. 


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