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Some cross fertilization with middle eastern tradition through Roman empire ... baking bread, cooking food, doing laundry etc. The biggest commercial ...

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lecture #5



Brewing around the western world before ~1400AD

Before ~800AD, Northern Europe largely a wilderness backwater

-many small, distantly separated settlements, some remnants of

Roman cities, but in disrepair

-Vikings roamed the rivers and coastlines, raiding towns

Independent origins of brewing in Northern Europe

Some cross fertilization with middle eastern tradition through Roman empire

Mesopotamian no kilning, clay pots

Celtic kilning, coopering


Brewing around the western world before ~1400AD

The Holy Roman Empire

-Charlemagne- Frankish king who conquered Italy in 774, crowned

Holy Roman Emperor in 800

-unified Europe, spread Christianity and the Carolingian

Renaissance- development of Latin, art

-increased settlement of


-promoted proto-urban


-promoted “the rule of St.

Benedict” and the building

of monasteries

-beginning of modern European

brewing tradition


Brewing around the western world before ~1400AD

Benedictine monks:

-live as St.Benedict (~500AD) did, by the Rule of St.


-founder of monastic tradition?

-peace, work, and prayer

-live in a self sufficient community through

their own labor

-offer hospitality to travelers and needy

-beer was important as a food, a beverage,

a medicine


Brewing around the western world before ~1400AD


St.Gall monastery, founded 612AD in Constance

-expansion plans of 820 and

1092 survive

-820 earliest known example

of a “large” institutional

brewery in Europe

-connected to the bakehouse

-would produce roughly 350-

400 liters per day, 500

liters per person per year

-similar breweries spread

quickly throughout Europe, by

1100 in Bergen Norway, 1380

in Sweden



Brewing around the western world before ~1400AD

“here let the beer for the brothers be brewed”

820 plan for St.Gall


Brewing around the western world before ~1400AD

~1200, Monk tasting brew in the

cellar, note the keys

~1425, brewing at a small

Monastery, perhaps 20 gallons


Brewing around the western world before ~1400AD

Most monasteries, like St.Gall, were able to brew three beers at a

time with the equipment being of different capacity, brewery for

pilgrim and guests was half the size of brewery for monks

-beer for guests, noblemen, officials etc.

-the best beer made only of wheat and barley

-beer for the monks

-made mostly of oats

-beer for pilgrims and the poor

-weak beer, made from oats



Brewing 400 liters per day in 800 was a lot of beer

-100 gallons per day or about 3.3bbl (31 gallons/bbl) = 6.6

modern kegs per day, 1200bbl per year (2400 kegs)

Monasteries, great estates, military victualers, some of the bigger

urban brewers approached this size

-1333- Lady Clare’s estate brewed about 800bbl = 1600 modern


Otherwise people brewed in their homes to supply their family

-each person needed one quart per day (conservative, soldiers

got 1 gallon a day )

-family of 5 = 8 ¾ gallons per week

= 14.5bbl/year = 29 modern kegs per year



This type of brewing, even in the biggest monasteries, was really

a “domestic” activity

-no special equipment needed (although it helped)

-little special training needed (although it helped)

-just one more task that the household had to perform like

baking bread, cooking food, doing laundry etc.

The biggest commercial breweries before the 1400s were only in the

largest cities and brewed at most a few thousand bbls per year

-not a very specialized trade

-earliest linguistic record of professionalization came in the

1100s on the continent when special words for brewery became


-before this the brewery was just the kitchen


Hopped beer

First records of hops used for brewing, or at least associated with

brewing, come from 768 AD when there is a record of a brewing monastery

growing them in their garden

-hops were a common medicinal plant since the ancient Greeks,

Pliny the Elder, 79 AD

In 822 there is a record specifically describing brewing with hops

from a monastery near Tours France

By 1200 most beer brewed on the continent

was hopped



On the continent in 1400, breweries in Hamburg Germany were brewing

2500bbl/year of hopped beer



modern nomenclature:


yeast makes

the difference,

both are hopped



Nomenclature in England before ~1700:

ale (unhopped, common before ~1600)

(gruit on continent)

beer (hopped, common after




~1300- Bennett’s “by-industrial” brewers

-ale was commonly brewed for the family by women with few

full time dedicated breweries even in the cities, families

brewed 10-20 gallons at a time

-families would sell their extra ale or would brew extra

some weeks if they needed extra money, 1 out of 2 families

brewed for profit at least once a year in rural areas,

1 out of 15 in the cities

-profits were low, but higher in cities than in towns

~1600- beer was mostly brewed in purpose-built breweries by men

hundreds of gallons at a time, profitable business


1. What does Bennett mean by “alien trade”? Who were the aliens?

What did they bring and eventually brew? How were they

different from the brewsters in England and how did this affect

the brewsters? (p.79-83)

2. How was beer different from ale? Why? How did this effect the

businesses of ale and beer brewing? (p. 84-88)

3. How did changes in the business of brewing affect brewsters?



1. What does Bennett mean by “alien trade”? Who were the aliens? What did they bring and brew? How were they

different from the brewsters in England and how did this affect the brewsters?


Brewsters to brewers

population growth (from Immigrants and the Industries of London 1500-1700 by Lien Bich Luu 2005)


1500- 50,000

1550- 80,000

1580- 100,000

1600- 200,000

1650- 400,000

1700- 575,000

large numbers of immigrants in 1600s


Brewsters to brewers

Hops come with some of the earliest immigrants to England from the

“low countries”, i.e. present day Belgium, Netherlands, Northern

Germany, Northern France, Luxembourg


Brewsters to brewers

Hopped beer came first, imported in the late 1300s

Earliest known beer brewers in England were early 1400s and were


-1409 Shrewsbury

-1416 York

-1436 London brewers file official complaint to government

about “aliens nigh to the city dwelling [who] brew beer and

sell it to retail within the same city” (p.80)

Up to this time, the vast majority of the ale brewing in England was

done by women as a domestic task


Brewsters to brewers

It was men who brought beer brewing to England

-very few women immigrants at all, let alone brewsters

-early beer brewing was done by aliens who were all men

-beer brewing was new technology, it was not a domestic or

craft skill in England as ale brewing was

-it was something that needed to be taught and the alien

beer brewers were not about to teach their new technology

to women

-beer breweries were much larger...


Hopped beer

Why did hops come to replace gruit on the continent and eventually

ale in England?

-driven by economical forces

-while hops weren’t cheaper than other spices, and in

fact cost more to brew with because of longer boiling

times and higher labor costs, hopped beer was more

viable as a commercial product

-hops helped preserve beer; this meant two things


Hopped beer

(1) Could brew weaker beer

-the principal thing that kept ale from souring was the alcohol content, but didn’t keep it from souring for that long, a couple days to a couple weeks for most ale

-because grain was the most expensive part of brewing, if

you could brew more beer with the same amount of grain, you

could make more profit

-hops kept even the weakest beers from going bad so

you could brew more beer that would last longer and

you could make more money

Reginald Scot wrote the first known book on hops in England in the late 1500s (also a famous book on witchcraft)

“whereas you cannot make above 8 or 9 gallons of

indifferent ale out of one bushel of malt, you may

draw 18 or 20 gallons of very good beer” (p.85)


Hopped beer

(2) Could keep beer longer than ale

-if you didn’t sell your beer one week, you could sell it the

next, couldn’t do that with ale because it would sour

-so you could brew much larger batches to take advantage of

good raw material prices, economy of scale

-could ship the beer longer distances, not only would it keep

longer, but it stood up to shipping better

-India Pale Ale is an extreme example


Hopped beer

So it was hopped beer that led to an increase in the size of breweries

In London in 1574 there were 90 breweries, 58 making ale and 32 making

beer (p.88)

20 ALE breweries used only 4-9 quarters of malt a week

34 used 10-19

3 used 20-29

1 used 30-39

2 BEER brewers used 20-29

8 used 30-39

6 used 40-49

5 used 50-59

6 used 60-69

3 used 70-79

1 used 80-89

1 used 90-99

assuming 6.5 gallons per bushel or

52 gallons per quarter, the biggest

ALE brewery made 3400bbl/year

the biggest BEER brewery made 8600 but

probably more because they probably got

more than 6.5 gallons per bushel


Brewsters to brewers

Bennett argues that when anything was professionalized, it became a

man’s domain, as soon as brewing became a profession and not a

domestic chore, men took over

-as we’ve noted, the continental breweries were already

professional businesses, perhaps as early as the 1100s

-they were run by men

“Dutch and German beerbrewers already managed large,

expensive, and profitable industrial complexes…it is

scarcely surprising that German and Dutch beerbrewers

were wealthy, respected, powerful, and male.” (p.82)


Brewsters to brewers

Beer brewing was big business

-women “lacked the necessary capital, they lacked ready access

to foreign markets, and they lacked managerial authority.”


-they were precluded from entering into large scale business

because of cultural assumptions:

-not as smart as men

-bad with money

-a single woman who fraternized with men was probably a

prostitute or maybe even a witch

-moreover, women couldn’t enter into contractual agreements as

a matter of law: they were forbidden from doing so because

they were women!


Introduction of hopped beer led to growth of brewing industry in

England and thus to professionalization of it which led then

to displacement of women from that industry


Brewsters to brewers

The military needed a lot of drink

In 1340, English soldiers in the war against Flanders (Belgium) were

rationed 1 gallon of beer per day, 1,510 sailors for 40 days = 60,000


-beer cost less than ale, kept longer than ale, transported

better than ale- beer replaced ale for the military very early

-women didn’t brew beer and even if they did they couldn’t

arrange the monetary and logistical resources necessary to

brew and ship that much of it, they didn’t have those

resources available to them as women

-also, the general thinking was that soldiers should not be

in contact with women during war time, particularly women

selling drink, “women and drink were a disorderly combination”


-and the military’s brewers were often soldiers too- in 1522

it was noted that “brewers could also serve as gunners”