History

Information about the history of brewing.

The written documentation on certain beverages that I have used in competitions is under “My Historical Documentation”.

Medieval Brewing Recipes: Find the Sources

Medieval Brewing Recipes: Find the Sources

It’s amazing to me how many brewers ask me where to find medieval brewing recipes for beer, mead, whatever . Let’s start with some basics. When you’re looking for documentable historical sources for medieval brewing recipes, it’s important to know which ones to quote. What is a primary source? The […]

Bochet Mead (Ever Try Caramelized Honey?)

Bochet Mead (Ever Try Caramelized Honey?)

You can imagine my extreme hesitation at the idea of making a bochet mead. I am a cold-method meadmaker.  I heat water as little as possible to mix with the must, and heat the honey not at all.  the days of pasteurizing my own honey are long past.     Heat drives […]

What's In A Beer Name?

What’s In A Beer Name?

Clever beer puns are all the rage, and bonus points if you can get the word “hop” sandwiched in there – Hops of Wrath, Hopsecutioner, Hoptimus Prime, Hoppy Ending, Tricerahops, Hopocalypse, Smooth Hoperator, etc etc etc.  Beer names tend to be  playful and punny: What kind of beer they are […]

Semper Fi. Why isn't the Tun Tavern in this year's Homebrewer conference?

Semper Fi. Why isn’t the Tun Tavern in this year’s Homebrewer conference?

First thing, let me put in a plug for the American Homebrewers Association conference June 27-29 in Philadelphia this summer.  The theme is “Brewing Up a Revolution.”   Just ’cause I can’t go (my other hobby has a command performance) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  It’ll be amazing, and there will […]

Before the Reinheitsgebot, the Statuta Thaberna

Before the Reinheitsgebot, the Statuta Thaberna

Contrary to what you may believe, the Reinheitsgebot, the famous German beer purity law, was no trailblazer.  Almost thirty years earlier there was the Statuta Thaberna in Thuringia (see map).  I’ve had a lot more trouble finding the exact text for the Statuta than I did for the Reinheitsgebot (though […]

Malt: Everything a Homebrewer Wants To Know

Malt: Everything a Homebrewer Wants To Know

In my BJCP class the teacher, Les White, assigned a presentation on malt and malting to me.  We each signed up for our preferred topics, then Les assigned one topic to each student and set the date for their presentation.  Mine was the very first. I was beyond nervous, and of course had work […]

Martyn Cornell on Anglo-Saxon Ale and Beer (Part II, mostly Beer)

Martyn Cornell on Anglo-Saxon Ale and Beer (Part II, mostly Beer)

In my last two posts:  the Anglo-Saxon words beor, ealu, medu and wyn may not be what they seem.  British beer blogger Martyn Cornell takes a crack at sorting out the word histories and what we actually know about any of them. I am reprinting this with Mr. Cornell’s permission.  his Zythophile blog […]

Martyn Cornell on Anglo-Saxon Ale and Beer (part I, mostly Ale)

Martyn Cornell on Anglo-Saxon Ale and Beer (part I, mostly Ale)

As I started to say in my last post, the Anglo-Saxon words beor, ealu, medu and wyn may not be what they seem.  It may be that we’ve been telling the wrong story about Anglo-Saxon feasts for long time.  Martyn Cornell takes a crack at sorting out the word histories and what we actually […]

Maybe, maybe not:  Beer, Ale, Mead and Wine in Anglo-Saxon England

Maybe, maybe not: Beer, Ale, Mead and Wine in Anglo-Saxon England

Beowulf, Bede, Aelfric’s Colloquy – in Anglo-Saxon, there are four words for fermented beverages, and lots and lots of descriptions of what happens when one drinks too much.  The four words look so much like modern English that they’ve been translated into the apparently parallel words for over a hundred […]

Taliesin on Mead

Taliesin on Mead

The Book of Taliesin is a late Middle Welsh version of the ales of Gwion Bach and Taliesin, mostly around the court of Maelgyn Gynedd.  It was written in the 1550s, the same time Henry VIII was on the throne (or maybe collected then? Middle Welsh is 12th-14th c, and Taliesin was tenth c).  […]

Brother Adams' Lalvin D-21: what is terroir yeast?

Brother Adams’ Lalvin D-21: what is terroir yeast?

The inestimable Brother Adam, standard-setting meadmaker, preferred Montpellier Lalvin d-21 yeast, and was unhappy when it became unavailable in smaller-than-commercial lots for a while.  I’ve never used D-21, and wondered what it had that any of my regulars don’t.  (I use Brother Adam’s fallback, Montpellier/K1V-1116, quite a lot, and Lalvin […]

Historical fermented beverages

Historical fermented beverages

 JoAnna Carrozzino asked me to write a post about the kinds of period beer.  Historical fermented beverage types…funny you should ask…I just whipped off a couple of very quick paper topics to the AHA for their grand convocation next summer.  I am torn between thinking I had to get my ideas in soonest and […]