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History written in beer. Part II

2023-06-27
History written in beer. Part II

The new empire used much more advanced equipment.  As a result, the art of brewing not only survived, but began to grow rapidly.  The Babylonians no longer used clay vessels for fermentation, but mash tuns, brew kettles and fermentation vats.  Interestingly, they were the ones who came up with the idea that the ingredients in the wort were easier to dissolve at higher temperatures.  They were the first to use hops, thanks to which beer started to take the form of the drink we know today, in various forms: light, dark and red.   They were also keen to use blended malts and additives such as fruit syrups.  

The Babylonian brewers were highly respected and trusted. Since they knew a lot about beer, and in the general opinion the soothing properties of this drink could suggest its healing potential, they often acted as medics and recommended their "patients" appropriate treatments. They also had numerous privileges, reserved exclusively for the favourites of the Babylonian elite. They were dismissed from military service, for example.

How serious topic of  beer was in those days is evidenced by the Code of Hammurabi, which contains as many as four (!) paragraphs devoted to the subject of beer: 

108. If an innkeeper does not accept grain as payment for beer, but accepts silver according to a weight (too) large, or reduces the value of beer in relation to the value of grain, and if it is proved to the innkeeper, she shall be thrown into water.

109. If the innkeeper in whose house the criminals have gathered has not apprehended them and brought them to the palace, the innkeeper shall be killed.

110. If a (priestess) naditum (or) (high priestess) entum, who does not live in a monastery, has opened an inn or has entered an inn for beer, that citizen shall be burned.

111. If an innkeeper gave 1 (60-litre) anthal of beer on credit, she will take back (herself) 50 grain strengths at harvest time.

In Babylonia, every citizen was entitled to three litres of beer a day, and even five litres for people of high rank. How fortunate that those days are long gone and we can set our own beer boundaries.... or lack thereof.

 

 

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