hist-brewing: Blackberries

Martyn Cornell atrectus at blueyonder.co.uk
Thu Jun 14 16:41:56 PDT 2001

Just before this subject finally disappears into the mist, I thought it
might be worth recalling the recipe for blackberry ale given in John
Bickerdyke's Curiosities of Ale and Beer (1889 edition p386):

"Among the various beverages which good house-wives deemed it their duty to
brew were ... Blackberry Ale ...

"Blackberry Ale was composed of a strong wort made from two bushels of malt
[to the 36-gallon barrel, presumably] and 1/4lb of hops. To this was added
the juice of a peck [that is, two Imperial gallons by volume] of ripe
blackberries and a little yeast. After fermentation the cask was stopped up
close for six weeks, the ale was then bottled and was fit to drink at the
end of another fortnight."

This is a recipe probably too late in date for the purists, but blackberries
are famously an ancient food: blackberry pips were found in the stomach of a
Neolithic man whose remains were uncovered in Essex, England.

Martyn Cornell 

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