hist-brewing: Brewing herbs

Curtis Carrington curto at nc.rr.com
Fri Apr 13 03:55:35 PDT 2007


My wife travels to Sweden frequently. She has lots of Swedish friends who
would be willing to help translate pages.

So... send them on, soon we will have a translated work!

Curtis Carrington

-----Original Message-----
From: hist-brewing-bounces at pbm.com [mailto:hist-brewing-bounces at pbm.com] On
Behalf Of Martyn Cornell
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2007 6:44 AM
To: Historic brewing
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Brewing herbs

By far the best book on the history of herbed beers appears to be Pors och
andra humleersättningar och ölkryddor i äldre tider (Bog Myrtle and Other
Substitutes for Hops in Former Times), by Nils von Hofsten, published
University of Uppsala, 1960 - unfortunately, while I have a copy of this,
it's almost entirely in Swedish, which I don't speak. However, if anybody
reading this does speak Swedish, I would be very happy to send them pdfs of
pages for translation.

In his one(summary)  chapter in the book in English, von Hofsten comments
that "most more or less modern books and papers dealing with hop-substitutes
and spiced beer are unsatisfactory and often unreliable", though he says
"[John] Arnold is better but uneven".

On Hofsten says Placotomus in 1543 said that "he who drinks much of" beer
made with Ledum palustre "becomes almost mad", and he quotes Linnaeus on
Ledum Palustre: "poisonous; gives a frightful headache, even more so than
Myrica gale." He also discusses, elsewhere in the book, the confusion
between  Myrica gale and ledum Palustre in Germany - alas, this bit is in

The English summary also mentions the making of small beer in French and
British North America in the 18th century from sprouts of American firs,
Picea nigra = mariana and P. alba = glauca, which was called sapinette in
French and spruce beer in English. Von Hofsten says "this spruce beer seems
to be of American origin, its use having been learnt from the Indians (J.
Cartier's expedition of 1536, which is said to have been saved by the Indian

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