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

Charley Atchley Charley at lcc.net
Tue Dec 18 03:53:35 PST 2001

>>  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?

This is a prickly subject, so let me rephrase my original statement.
"...however I would like to point out that historically the hop was rather
late in becoming a part of every single brew in some parts the world. Gruits
were very common historically.

As late as the mid 1800's brew masters in England kept track of the amount
of "beer" (Hopped) they made, and the amount of "ale" (Unhopped). I hate
adding the terms beer and ale into the fray, because someone will become
offended and start going on about top fermenting and bottom fermenting
yeasts. I am simply using the terms that the brewers used in their record
keeping. Records of most of the estate breweries in the 1700's showed that
in England, the ratio was about 3:1 Ale to Beer.

Charley Atchley

You got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you
might not get there. --Yogi Berra

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