Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Oat Ale II

I've still not finished with Oat Ale. Here are a few more quotes on the topic.

"Oats yield, on an average, eight pounds of meal for fourteen pounds of the grain. Oats have been used to some extent for the purpose of making malt, and oat ale is commended by Mr Mowbray as a pleasant summer drink. In former days, a drink called mum was manufactured for sale, in the preparation of which oatmeal was employed. English Geneva, or gin, is made of spirit obtained from oats and barley or malt, rectified or distilled, with the addition of juniper berries, oil of turpentine, &c. One hundred pounds of oatmeal will yield by distillation thirty-six pounds of spirits."
"A Treatise on Food and Diet: With Observations on the Dietetical Regimen suited for Disordered States of the Digestive Organs" by Jonathan Pereira, 1843, page 156.

Here's a German beer - it sounds a bit like a type of Broyhan - which is likened to British Oat Ale.

"MINDEN is noted for a peculiar Sort of Beer, greatly esteemed in other Parts of Germany: I cannot however say, it had very much my Approbation. It is a Sort of small pale Beer, something like our Oat-Ale, not unpleasant in the Taste 5 a Kind of dulce -piccante (between Sweet and Sour -,) But what disgusted me was, that being drawn and brought us in transparent Bottles, I soon discover'd a muddy Settlement, above an Inch thick, at the Bottom."
"The German Spy: Or, Familiar Letters from a Gentleman on His Travels Thro' Germany, to his Friend in England" by Thomas Lediard, 1740, page 45.

It seems it was Oat Ale was also popular in Russia.

"The Muscovites make an ale or drink of oats, which is of so hot a nature, and so strong, that it intoxicates sooner than the richest wine."
"History of Cultivated Vegetables: Comprising Their Botanical, Medicinal, Edible, and Chemical Qualities; Natural History; and Relation to Art, Science and Commerce" by Henry Phillips, 1822, page 13.

By the mid-1800's it seems Oats were no longer used in brewing.

"The principal demand for oats in Great Britain is for horses. Its use for bread is chiefly confined to the northern districts. Meal is employed also for various domestic purposes, feeding pigs, dogs, &c.; and it has been used in brewing ale, and in the malt distilleries ; but for this purpose its value is much inferior to that of barley."
"The Farmer's Encyclopædia, and Dictionary of Rural Affairs" by Cuthbert William Johnson, 1844, page 856.

In the Middle Ages, it appears that oats were the main brewing grain in Scotland.

"Oats, wheat, barley, pease and beans, were all raised in tolerable abundance. Of these by far the most prevalent crop was oats. It furnished the bread of the lower classes; and the ale which they drank was brewed from malt made of this grain. In the innumerable mills which are mentioned in the Cartularies, great quantities of oats were ground into meal; and at the various malt-kilns and breweries, which we find attached throughout the same records to the hamlets and villages, equally large proportions of oats were reduced into malt and brewed into ale. In the Wardrobe Accounts of Edward the First for the years 1299 and 1300, large quantities of oat malt, furnished to his different garrisons in Scotland, form some of the principal items of expenditure. In the same interesting and authentic record we find that Edward's cavalry, in their return from Galloway, in September 1300, destroyed, in their march through the fields, eighty acres of oats upon the property of William de Carlisle, at Dornock, in compensation for which the king allowed him two butts of wine. It appears in the same series of accounts that Edward bought his oats, and oat malt to be brewed for the army, at various rates, extending from twentypence to three shillings per quarter. From the multitudes of brew-houses with which every division of the kingdom appears to have been studded, from the royal manufactories of ale down to those in the towns, burghs, baronies, and villages, it is evident that this beverage must have been consumed in great quantities."
"History of Scotland 1149-1603" by Patrick Fraser Tytler, 1841, page 181
by Patrick Fraser Tytler, 1841.

In Lancashire - where the climate wasn't great for wheat or barley - oat malt was also commonly used for brewing.

"The quantity of "ote malte" used in Lord Derby's household in 1563 was larger than that of barley, although of an inferior quality and price, which is not favourable to the agricultural progress of Lancashire. Oat malt was rather more than a guinea a quarter (£1. 1s. 4d.), which was exactly the price of wheat in Craven in 1572, when malt made from oats was stated to be only eight shillings a quarter. This oat beer was obviously of an ordinary description, and probably for the use of the lower servants and boys; but in the best ale a certain proportion of oat malt and ground wheat was added to the barley malt, as the general rule, and the quantity of hops seems to have been very different to the modern usage, so that it would not be described as " bitter from envy, and, from weakness, pale." The dry and chilly constitutions of the servants, few of whom, it may be presumed, were born under the influence of Aquarius, that watery sign, were carefully protected against any deterioration in the quality of the beer, and the favourite beverage brewed in the time of Earl Edward was remembered with evident satisfaction by the toping Capulets of the household long after his death."
"Remains, Historical and Literary, Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester" by Chetham Society, 1853, page x.

Ireland, too, must at one time have used its fair share of oats in brewing. This is part of an Act of Parliament regulating brewiong in Ireland.

"XI. And be it further enacted, That from and after Ten Days after the passing of this Act, every Person or Рersons licensed to brew as aforesaid, shall in like Manner enter and register in the Excise Office of the District, every Store Room and Place in which Oats shall or may at any Time be deposited, and that no such Store Room or Place shall be adjoining to or connected with, or be open by means of any Door or Doorway immediately to the Place where any Malt shall be wetted or mashed, or any Worts shall he boiled, cooled, or hopped; and any Oats which shall be found in the Possession of any such Person or Persons, in any other Place than a Store or Place so registered, shall be forfeited and may be seized; and such Person or Persons in whose Custody, Store or Possession, such Oats shall be found, shall for every such Offence forfeit the Sum of One hundred Pounds."
“Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 49 George III. 1809” page 123. An Act for improving the Quality of Beer in Ireland, by further preventing the Use of unmalted Corn, or of any deleterious or unwholesome Ingredients therein, and for the better securing the Collection of the Malt Duties in Ireland. [3d June 1809.]

I've kicked oats and Oat Ale just about unconscious. Perhaps it's time to find a new victim. What about Berliner Weisse?

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