Zythophile has just posted on the shortcomings of Wikipedia beer articles. It shouldn't come as a great surprise. When so many books use only third-hand sources, what do you expect?
I used to actively contribute to wikipedia. For a while. Then I started getting my edits "corrected" by other contributors. Mostly they were using things like the BJCP guidelines and ratings sites as their sources. After a couple of quite nasty arguments, like Zythophile, I decided it was a complete waste of my time. If you look you can probably spot my contributions. There are still a couple sizeable sections of my text.
It was the Märzen article that made me renounce wikipedia and its evil ways. Take time to look at the wikipedia Märzen article now . . . . . .
What do you think of it? That's right, it's almost total bollocks. Scarcely a word of what little content it has is true. The shit that was thrown my way when I tried to correct some of its glaring inaccuracies would have blocked the Incredible Hulk's toilet.
Why do I bring this up now? Apart from the fact that I hate losing arguments. Just something I stumbled upon this morning when I was searching for a description of mashing in an ancient German book. (I get up early enough to leave an hour for doing this stuff before setting off for work. Dilligent, aren't I?) One section listed the main types of Bavarian "Byer" (I told you it was ancient). The very first was Merzen or Sommer Byer. According to the Wikipedia article, Märzen was "invented" by Anton Dreher in Vienna in the 1830's. My new source pushes that date back just a tad. Any guesses as to how much further back? 1800? 1750? 1700? No, much further. The book was published in 1581.
Thanks to Kristen for sending the link to the 1581 book. It's full of fascinating stuff. For people like me. Now all I have to do is read it. In addition to the usual obstacle of gothic typeface, it also uses idiosyncratic spellings. And weird grammar. Be patient.
And, for those who think yeast was unknown before Pasteur, it also mentions "Heffe".
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