hist-brewing: ancient ale
merryn at dineley.com
Tue Feb 23 04:50:24 PST 2010
Hello all, I am still reading through the excellent posts that came as a
reply to my initial query about this! Thank you all very much indeed - I
have been delighted by the response. I aim to reply to individual points
raised. However, I am still spending far too much time tussling with
computers to get my papers and research on line and meeting other
I agree with most of what has been said - except for the chewing grain
bit. My investigations indicate that in South America, when they make
chicha, they cook the corn to a mush, then they roll it into little
balls and 'chew' it, ie roll it round their mouths, then spit it out. I
could be wrong, of course. Corn is too hard to chew when raw, so is
barley, or wheat for that matter. Teeth would break, let's not go there!
I work at a Visitor Centre to a Neolithic tomb on Orkney, Scotland - the
Tomb of the Eagles. The tour guides there would tell tales of Granny
chewing at the barley, then spitting it out into a pot to make the beer.
It would have tourists shuddering in horror (some of the tour guides
there tell a very good tale). I do not advise chewing raw barley.....
the grains are tough as little stones! I did not damage my teeth but
imagine it could happen. As one contributor pointed out - there is far
more amylase released during germination, so that is the more likely
Finally, for this email anyway, I have recently had a response from my
ex Professor - who, ten years ago, refused to support my funding bid to
investigate the possible biomarkers/archaeobotanical evidence for
brewing ale in prehistory. Now he says they might have been drinking
'some kind of alcohol' There are some archaeologists out there who
reckon 'cider not ale' in the British neolithic. Cider made from
.... what is it they say? One step forwards, two steps backwards!
Thanks again for your informed, intelligent, erudite and sometimes
amusing comments on ancient malt and ale. I shall write more to you
later, bye for now, and Cheers!
More information about the hist-brewing