hist-brewing: Hops -- was "ageing mead"

PBLoomis at aol.com PBLoomis at aol.com
Mon Dec 17 20:49:31 PST 2001

In a message dated 12/17/01 7:46:47 PM Central Standard Time, Charley at lcc.net 

>  however I would like
>  to point out that historically the hop was rather late in coming to parts 
>  the world. Gruits were much more common historically.
    Y'know, it's funny.  Somebody, I think on this list, recently commented
that in southern Germany, hops were in continuous use from Roman times, 
and we know that Hildegard von Bingen in 1172 mentions their use in beer 
in Germany.
    In England, they recently excavated a sunken riverboat from the 10th 
century, and found that part of the cargo was a bale of hops.  Were they
English grown or imported?  Were they intended for use in beer?  If not, 
what?  What other product in that time and place could use up a bale of 
hops before they lost their effectiveness?
    10th century is pre-Conquest.  Were the Saxons brewing hopped beers?
Were the hops imported?  Were the Normans exclusively wine and cider 
drinkers?  Did they forbid the import of hops, and encourage the use of 
gruit?  Why did hops drop out of the English brewing vocabulary for five 
hundred years?
    How's that for a dissertation topic?
    Knowledge is never wasted, nor is the time to acquire it.

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