Books for Brewers: Historical Brewing Secondary Sources

Most recently updated Aug. 18. 2015

Here is my list of historical brewing secondary sources; the references I reach for regularly.  I’ve already posted my personal list of primary sources on this site.  I’m planning three or four of these.   I think my next one will be modern how-to brewing sources I routinely use, and I may do one about bees.  Corrections and suggestions for additions are welcome!

What’s a secondary source?  If I write my recipe down, my writing is a primary source.  If I give my recipe to you, and you put it in your book with a note about who wrote it and maybe a little commentary about how you like it better this other way, your book becomes a secondary source to my recipe.

6/25/2012: I just received a good list from one Lord Donal O’Brien, a worthy scholar from the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) world, and have added his sources to my list.

Note I haven’t linked these to Amazon or any other source.  That’s on purpose.  Many of them are available on Amazon and if I linked them and you used the link I’d get a small kickback, but check Google Books, Google Scholar, the Gutenberg Project and your local library first.

Elspeth’s Historical Brewing Secondary Sources:

“A Comprehensive History of Beer Brewing”.  Muesdoerffer, Franz G. Scholarly paper based on The Handbook of Brewing Processes, Technology, Markets, 2009. 

A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food: Processing and Consumption.   Hagen, Ann.  Anglo-Saxon Books, 1992; ISBN10 0951620983, ISBN13

A History of Beer and Brewing   Hornsey, Ian. The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2003; ISBN10 0854046305, ISBN13 9780854046300

A History of Food    Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne (trans. Anthea Bell) (1987).  Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA.

A History of Vodka.   Pokhlebkin, Willian and Renfrey Clarke, tr. Verson, 1991, 1992; ISBN10 0860913597, ISBN13 9780860913597

A History of the World in Six Glasses  Standage, Tom. 2005. New York: Walker Publishing Co. (surprisingly insightful)

 A Second Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food and Drink: Production and Distribution.   Hagen, Ann. Hockwold cum Wilton, Norfolk, UK: Anglo-Saxon Books. 1995.

A Sip Through Time: A collection of old brewing recipes.  Cindy Renfrow. 1994, 1997. Published by the author, Sussex, New Jersey, 1994.” ISBN 0-9628598-3-4

A Soup For The Qan: Chinese Dietary Medicine of the Mongol Era As Seen In Hu Szu-Hui’s Yin-Shan Cheng-Yao.  Anderson, Paul D. Buell and Eugene N. 2000. 1 vols. London and New York: Kegan Paul International.

Alcohol, Sex, and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe.  Martin, A. Lynn.   Palgrave Macmillan, 2001; ISBN10 0312234147, ISBN13

“Alcoholic Drinks of the Middle Ages “  Shapiro, Mark.  Compleat Anachronist #60.    Society for Creative Anachronism, March 1992.

Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World 1300-1600  Bennet, Judith M. Bennett. Oxford University Press, 1996; ISBN10 0195126505, ISBN13 9780195126501

“Ancient Beekeeping.”  Georghiou, G.P. 1980. The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture (Root, A.I., editors.) A.I. Root Company. Medina, Ohio. pp. 17-21.

Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture   McGovern, Patrick (2007).  Princeton University Press, New Jersey.

“Ancient Persians and Wine.”    Tirdad,  Accessed January 19, 2008.

Apicius, A Critical Edition with an Introduction and English Translation  Grainger, Sally and Christopher Grocock.  Prospect Books (UK), June 30, 2006.  ISBN 1903018137
ISBN-13  978-1903018132
Also available in English via Project Gutenberg translated by Joseph Dommers Vehling and commented by Prof. Frederick Starr, released August 19, 2009 [EBook #29728]

The Archaeology of Beekeeping.  Crane, Eva.  1984-01.    ISBN: 0801416094 / Cornell Univ Pr / Hardcover
ISBN: 0715616811 / Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd / Hardcover / 1983-10

The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages.   Scully, Terence.  Boydell & Brewer, Limited, 1995; ISBN10 0851154301, ISBN13 9780851154305

The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe.  Nelson, Max.  Routledge, 2008; ISBN10 0415486920, ISBN13 9780415486927

Beer: The Story of the Pint.  Cornell, Martyn.  Headline Book Publishing, London, 2003.

Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.   Unger, Richard W. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004; ISBN10 0812237951, ISBN13

“Brewing an Ancient Beer”, Archaeology  Solomon H. Katz and Fritz Maytag. Issue 44:4 (July/August 1991), pp. 24-33.

Brewing in Seattle.  Stream, Kurt. Arcadia Press, 2012;  ISBN 978-0-7385-9523-8 (1851 to present)

“The cask age:  the technology  and history of wooden barrels”.    Twede, Diana (September 2005).  Packaging Technology and Science (18, 5) pp. 253-264.  John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Country House Brewing in England, 1500-1900.  Sambrook, Pamela. The Hambledon Press, 1996; ISBN10 1852851279, ISBN13 9781852851279

The Description of England: The Classic Contemporary Account of Tudor Social Life   Harrison, William.  Dover Publications, 1994; ISBN10 0486282759, ISBN13 9780486282756

Drinking In America : A History. Lender, Mark Edward and Martin, James Kirby.  New York: The Free Press, 1982, 1987. ISBN 0-02-918570

The Drunken Botanist  Stuart, Amy. Algonquin Books, 2013.

“The Economics of Medieval English Brewing”    Karl Hagen  Website: Polysyllabic  accessed 6/18/2012

The Economics of Beer.  Swinnen, Johan F.M. and Eline Poelmans, ed.  Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2011.

A collection of essays, many by people whose books are cited here.

 Economy and Exchange in the East Mediterranean during Late Antiquity.   Kingsley, Sean, & Decker, Michael (Eds.) (2001).  The David Brown Book Company, Oakville, CT.

The English Alehouse: A Social History, 1200-1830.  Clark, Peter A.  Longman Publishing Group, 1983; ISBN10 0582508355, ISBN13 9780582508354

“Fermented Beverages of Pre- and Proto-Historic China”    McGovern, Patrick E.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0407921102, 2004.

Food & Drink in Britain From the Stone Age to the 19th Century.Wilson, C. Ann.   Academy Chicago Publishers, 1973, 1991; ISBN10 0897334876, ISBN13 9780897334877

Food and Drink in Medieval Poland.   Dembinska, Maria and William Woys Weaver. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1963, 1999; ISBN10 0812232240, ISBN13 9780812232240

Food and Feast in Tudor England.  Sim, Alison.  Sutton Publishing, 1997; ISBN10 0750914769, ISBN13 9780750914765

Food in the Ancient World From A-Z. Dalby, Andrew. 2003. New York: Routledge.

“The Foreign Grain Trade in England, 1250-1350”  Hybel, Nils. 2002.. In Cogs, Cargoes, and Commerce: Maritime Bulk Trade in Northern Europe 1150-1400, edited by L. B. e. al. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.

“A Funerary Feast Fit for King Midas”.  1999. Nature 402 (Dec. 23):863-64. McGovern, P.E., U. Hartung, V.R. Badler, D.L. Glusker, and L.J. Exner

Galen on Food and Diet  Grant, M. (trans.)    Routledge Press, New York. 2000.

Galen: On the Properties of Foodstuffs.   Powell, Owen.  Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Gods, Men, and Wine  Younger, William (1966).  The Wine and Food Society Ltd, London

Grape vs. Grain: A Historical, Technological, and Social Comparison of Wine and Beer.  Bamforth, Charles W.  Cambridge University Press, 2008; ISBN10 0521849373, ISBN13 9780521849371

Handbook of Brewing   Compleat Anachronist #5:  by Lady Arwen Evaine fert Rhys ap Gwynedd.  Society for Creative Anachronism, 1983.

The Historical Companion to House-Brewing   La Pensée, Clive. Beverley, UK: Montag. 1990.

“The History of English Cookery: A Glossary of Cookery and Other Terms.’  Compiled by Prospect Books from all the historical cooking books they publish. Devon, U.K., accessed February 24, 2008.

The Homebrewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer.  Pattinson, Ron.  Quarry Books, 2014.  ISBN 978-1-59253-882-9  This is later than most of my sources, dealing with eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but there is some good basic history and lovingly researched recipes of beers no longer in production.

“How Sweet It Was:  Sugar Cane From the Ancient World to the Elizabethan Period”   Brandy and Courtney Powers, 2002.   (, accessed most recently March 28, 2008):

Jancis Robinson’s Guide to Wine Grapes. Robinson, Jancis.  Oxford University Press, 1996; ISBN10 0198600984, ISBN13 9780198600985

Lady With a Mead Cup: Ritual Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age. Enright, Michael J.   Dublin: Four Courts Press. 1996.

“Le vin de l’Italie romaine:  Essai d’histoire economique d’apres les amphores”  Tchernia, A.  Paris:  Ecole Francais de Rome. 1986.

 Letters from the Hive: An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind.
Buchmann, Steven and  Benning Reppelier.  2006.  ISBN: 0553382667; 0553803751

Libre del Coch, by Ruperto de Nola, 1529:  English translation by Lady Brighid ni Chiarain, on Stefan’s Florilegium:

Llyfr Iorwerth:  A Critical Text of the Venedotian Code of Welsh Medieval Law   Aled, Rhys (Ed) (2004). University of Wales Press and Law Series, Cardiff, Wales, UK.

Lore of the Honey Bee – Natural History and Bee-Keeping.  Edwardes, Tickner.  2006-01-01ISBN: 1406799637 / Home Farm Books / Paperback / 2006-01-01

“Making Medieval Mead or, Mead Before Digby”   Krupp, Christina M. and Gillen, Bill.   Compleat Anachronist #120:  Society for Creative Anachronism, 2003.

“Mead and the Ancient Celts”  Sisson, Michael.   Meadmakers’ Journal, 1988.

 Medieval Frontier Culture and Ecology in Rijnland   TeBrake, William H.  College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1985. Print.

Medicine Before Science  French, R.   Cambridge University Press, England. 2003.

Medieval Law.  Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press and Law Series, 2004.

Medieval/Renaissance Brewing Homepage  website  accessed 6/18/2012 (SCA resource; most link to SCA authors)

Passions and Tempers:  A History of the Humours.   Arikha, Noga.  Ecco Press, New York.  2007.

Physiological Theory and the Doctrine of the Mean in Plato and Aristotle   Tracy, Theodore James.   The Hague and Paris. 1969.

Portable Medieval Reader.   Ross, James Bruce, and McLaughlin, Mary Martin, Eds. (1977).   Penguin (Non-Classics), New York.  “The Vision of Viands”, 12th century, found in The Portable Medieval Reader, p. 497

“Power drinking in Iron Age Europe.”  Arnold, Bettina.  Archaeology Issue 57, Feb: 01.

“Prices in the Medieval Near East and Europe.”  Soderberg, Johan. 2004. In Toward a Global History of Prices and Wages.

Prost!: The Story of German Beer   Dornbusch, Horst D.   Brewers Publications, 1997; ISBN10 0937381551, ISBN13 9780937381557

“Retsina, Mixed Fermented Beverages, and the Cuisine of Pre-Classical Greece.”  McGovern, P.E. 1999. In Minoans and Mycenaeans: Flavours of Their Time, ed. Y. Tzedakis and H. Martlew, pp. 206-09. Athens: Greek Ministry of Culture and National Archaeological Museum. McGovern, P.E., S.J. Fleming, and S.H. Katz, eds.

The Rise of Experimental Biology: An Illustrated HistoryLutz, Peter L. (2002), Humana Press, p. 60, ISBN 0896038351

Rum: A Social and Sociable History.  Williams, Ian.  Nation Books, 2006; ISBN10 1560258918, ISBN13 9781560258919

The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore   Ransome, Hilda (2004).   Dover Books on Anthropology and Folklore, New York.

Short History of the Art of Distillation from the Beginnings Up to the Death of Cellier BlumenthalForbes, Robert James.  Boston:  Brill, 1948.

Stefan’s Florilegium  Website:  (SCA resource)

 Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee   Ellis, Hattie.  2005-03-22  ISBN: 1400054052 / Harmony / Hardcover / 2005-03-22.
ISBN: 0340734523 / Sceptre / Paperback / 2005-04-11

Transport Costs in Medieval England.   Masschaele, James. 1993. Economic History Review New ser. 46 (2 (May)):266-279.

Uncorking the Past   McGovern, Patrick (2009).  The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

The Unknown Galen   Nutton, Vivian.   2002

Vinum: The Story of Roman Wine.  Fleming, Stuart. Art Flair Publications, 2001; ISBN10 0971274207, ISBN13 9780971274204

“War and Bees”  Bérubé, Conrad., accessed January 19, 2008

 The War of the Gods: The Social Code in Indo-European Mythology    Oosten, Jarich G.  International Library of Anthropology.  Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985. (Chapters 4 and 5 cover Indo-European mythic cycles centering around mead)

Water of Life:  A History of Wine-Distilling and Spirits 500 BC – AD 2000.  Wilson, C. Anne.  Wiltshire: Prospect Books, Cromwell Press, 2006.  Print.

Wine: The 8,000-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade.   Pellechia, Thomas. Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2006; ISBN10 1560258713, ISBN13 9781560258711

Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade.  Unwin, Tim.  Routledge, 1991; ISBN10 0415031206, ISBN13 9780415031202

“The Woman With The Drink” Koch, Eva.  Manuscript to an article published in a revised version in Skalk no. 6 1986.  < accessed July 6>, 2008.

the World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting   Crane, Eva. 1999-10-13.   ISBN: 0415924677 / Routledge / Hardcover

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