Wednesday 20 May 2009

Mum or Mumme

Mumme is another of those old German beer styles which comes with a variety of spellings. Annoying, isn't it? Not quite as bad as Koyt or Broyhan.

Still more from David Booth. Though he admits at the start of this section that his knowledge of Mumme is second-hand. So not 100% reliable as a source.

"Mum is seldom mentioned in this country, except in the Excise Laws, where it appears loaded with an importation-duty, amounting to a prohibition. It is a German manufacture, and particularly of Brunswick. It seems also, from the same Excise Laws, that a sort of beer, by the name of Mum, had, at one time, been made in Ireland; but whether or riot any beverage now exists there under that denomination, we have not been able to learn. This must, however, have been an imitation, for the designation is undoubtedly German: and there, too, it must have been of early origin; for there they say, doubtfully, that Mumme is a sort of beer, so called after Christian Mummen, its inventor.

At Brunswick, where it is chiefly manufactured, and from whence it is exported to various parts of Europe and even Asia, they brew two kinds of Mum: the Stadtmumme, or common liquor for home consumption, being distinguished, by its inferior strength, from the Schiffmumme, which is fitted for exportation. From the German recipes for its manufacture, the Schiffmumme ought to be a very powerful liquid. It is described by Adelung as " thick, strong, and of a dark brown colour;" qualities which it must necessarily possess, if, as is said, a barrel of the worts contains the extract of more than a quarter of grain. It is probable, however, that the two qualities spoken of are drawn from the same goods; as is the case, in many parts of this country, with regard to strong and table beer. The proportions of the mash are stated thus:

7 bushels of wheaten malt;
1 bushel of oatmeal;
and 1 bushel of beans.

These quantities of grain, when ground, are brewed with a hogshead of hot water (?); anil the worts are directed to be boiled until a third of the liquid is evaporated.

The mass of ingredients which the Brunswick Receipt (said to be preserved in the Archives of the Town-house) proposes to be put into the cask, " after it is tunned and in a working state," is enormous: " the inner rind of fir, three pounds; tops of fir and birch, each one pound; carduus benedictus, three handfuls; flowers of rosa solis, one handful or two; burnet, betony, marjoram, avens, pennyroyal, wild thyme, of each a handful and a half; of elder-flowers, two handfuls, or more; seeds of cardamom, bruised, thirty ounces; barberries, bruised, one ounce.—Put the herbs and seeds into the vessel when the liquor has wrought a while; and, after they are added, let the liquor work over the vessel as little may be ; then fill it up. Lastly, when it is stopped, put into the hogshead ten new- laid eggs, unbroken or cracked; stop it up close, and drink it at two years' end."

It were useless to attempt any commentary upon such a farrago of materials. The Herb-ale of our ancestors was nothing to this. Doubtless the modern Brewers of Brunswick have improved in their trade, as well as those of this country; but still this absurd and almost libellous description of their method of brewing runs the round of the British Cyclopaedias ; and we have not, hitherto, been favoured with any other. Those scientific works generally subjoin (we know not on what authority) the following remark: " Our English Brewers use cardamom, ginger, and sassafras, instead of the inner rind of fir; and add also walnut-rinds, madder, red sanders, and elecampane."

This surely cannot be ! We are not acquainted with any manufactory, either in Great Britain or Ireland, where such a liquor is brewed. Indeed, it could never have been legally done, under the cognisance of the Excise."
"The Art of Brewing", by David Booth, 1834, Part IV pages 49-50.
I think that's enough of Booth. Unless I can't find anything else to write about in the next couple of days.


  1. Mumme apperently existed in DK in the 50'ties.

    And here the label is on the bottle as well.

    Carlsberg have recently revived mumme respectively under the "Jacobsen" brand and the "kongens bryghus" brand.

  2. Triballus, thanks for that. I wonder what the beer itself was like?

  3. You can still buy it: