hist-brewing: Colonial era brewing recipes

jch at doctorbeer.com jch at doctorbeer.com
Mon Dec 3 13:19:05 PST 2012

 And I have degrees in Botany and Plant Breeding. The problem is that 
 most people aren't as careful as you and I are, and don't properly 
 research which plant is which (from a genus species perspective).  They 
 merely go by the common name, believing that these are immutable and 
 constant. But the plant in England that the English called "alehoof" in 
 the Middle Ages might be completely different from what is called 
 "alehoof" here in the U.S. today. I believe that this was probably the 
 case with my friend's homebrew (misidentification).

 Another problem is the alcohol extraction, which can exacerbate the ill 
 effects of some unusual ingredients. I'm also a judge in the BJCP, and 
 I've judged many a homebrew competition. Several times I've encountered 
 brews with non-standard ingredients (such as valerian) that made the 
 judging panel ill.

 A third problem is that some of these plants have active ingredients, 
 and the dosing levels have never been worked out. I've done a bit of 
 research (including practical research on myself) on common medicinal 
 plants. Based on my own experience, I will never, EVER use herbal 
 medicines (again). It's just too dangerous.

 I therefore stand by my advice to make old recipes with modern, 
 commonly-accepted brewing ingredients.

 -- Joyce

 On Mon, 3 Dec 2012 15:21:54 -0500, Ramesh <sramesh.sramesh at gmail.com> 
> I have to disagree with you Joyce. I have brewed many herbs in my
> brewing, mostly with great success. For instance people love my 
> yarrow
> beer and mint and ginger beer.
> Of course if you are brewing with herbs, you have to do your research
> and know what you are putting in your beer. It doesn't hurt that I
> studies biochemistry in University.
> But a blanket statement like "stick with hops" is just wrong.
> Cheers,
> Ramesh
> On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 3:15 PM,  wrote:
>   Whatever you do, stick with hops.  Don't "hop" your beer with
> strange
>   herbs.
>   I once had a brew made by a friend working from a medieval recipe.
> She
>   included "alehoof", or something that she thought was alehoof.  I
> was
>   sick as a dog the whole next day.
>   -- Joyce Hersh

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