hist-brewing: strength of small beer

Will w_hanrott at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Dec 4 02:36:03 PST 2012

What was the strength of small beer?

I was watching an /entertaining/ tv programme (The Supersizers 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Supersizers...>) which repeated the 
claim that small beer was about 3.5%abv. This seems rather high, more 
like a table beer.

recipe for Oxford Ale (1868) uses a triple infusion mash and party-gyle 
mix. The 3rd mash made small beer. My impression is that this method was 
in use over quite a long period until sparging became popular. Obviously 
the definition of 'small beer' is going to be a range of OGs.

Perhaps restrain the information to the UK in the early modern period 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_modern_period>. The claim about 3.5% 
was made in a programme about Restoration England.

This question is for personal rather than scholarly interest. I've had a 
look at the Hist-Brewing archives but couldn't find anything which 
answered my question.

Many thanks

More information about the hist-brewing mailing list