hist-brewing: ancient ale

Merryn Dineley merryn at dineley.com
Fri Mar 5 01:53:16 PST 2010

In the Western Isles of Scotland, they stirred the wort with a hazel 
stick or wand; it had dried yeast on it, the result of being used to 
stir previous brews. I think there was a tradition to hang the 
'wand'over the front door, to tell everyone that a brew in on, but not 
entirely sure on this.

In our house, where brewing went on for over twenty years, orange juice 
would start to ferment overnight from the wild yeasts 'in the air' I guess.

Egyptian pots used for brewing had traces of yeast on the inside 
surfaces - making it a 'magic pot' - when you put the wort into it, it 

On a recent demonstration, where we mashed using hot rocks in a wooden 
tub, again, the mash had begun to ferment by the morning.

Greg Lindahl wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 04, 2010 at 07:59:29AM +0000, John P. Looney wrote:
>> Where do you get wild yeasts that will ferment beer better
> Google tells me that you can brew beer using sourdough as a starter.
> You've got to figure that our ancient brewer has a way of propagating
> his yeast -- and then the problem reduces to another unsolved problem:
> How did the first sourdough yeast get developed?
> -- greg
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