Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

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Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Sat May 22, 2021 12:45 pm

As this thread is spawned off other threads, I'll kick off with some summarising of where I'd got to.

Brewing records for beers and ales before the 19th Century are a bit thin on the ground. Even Ron Pattinson's prolific scribblings are somewhat scarce for this period. The Durden Park Beer Circle (Old British Beers and How to Make Them) have a bit more from these times. But you must be cautious with those DPBC notes: They were written in the 1970s and things have changed a little since then (all credit to the diligence of that work that much is still useable today).

The DPBC's work could still be explored as much never made it to their booklet. As is apparent going through the CAMRA "Homebrew Classics" Stout and Porter book.

Despite the lack of brewing records, the actual ingredient lists and methodologies were equally sparse, so you can go a long way with only scraps of knowledge.

Starting with ingredients:

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Sat May 22, 2021 12:51 pm

Brief history lesson of pre-Victorian malting (remember, much of this is new to me, accumulated over the last few months):

There was only three basic kinds of malt, Pale, Amber and Brown. They were quite variable and were possible made to the brewer's specification? DPBC talk of one common variant; "Pale Amber Malt". They were all considered "base" malts, and brown was the cheapest and needed the least care to make (they were only to find it was less extractable, and therefore more expensive purely on an "extract" basis, when the hydrometer was invented*).

Things like "crystal malt" and "coloured malts" didn't exist until later in the 19th Century but these were "built-in" to the base malt as they were made.

Things like indirectly heated rotating malt kilns hadn't been invented until 1817 (and then only to create "black malt"). Heating was originally hardwood and although clean burning varieties were used (e.g. hornbeam) some smokie flavour will have made it to the malt. Later clean burning coke and "culm" (anthracite) was available, and later still some would add faggots of hardwood, like oak and beech, to increase and customise the smokie flavours.

The danger was to over-kiln the malt, where upon it would burst into flames and possibly burn down the malt house too! Making brown malt was particularly susceptible to these accidents. The cost of insurance ensured these malts began to die out during the 19th Century (some brown malt was still made in the early 20th Century).

*the hydrometer's principal possibly dates back to Archimedes in 3BC, but the brewers' "saccharometer" is dated as 1770.

B:O ... That's quite enough of that. Let me get to making some Brown Malt:

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Sat May 22, 2021 1:04 pm

This is how I go about making "Brown Malt". I'll leave actually creating and kilning green malt to the enthusiasts. And I will not use "modern" brown malt and seed it with enough prepared enzymes to do the conversion ... "modern" brown malt is completely different and unlikely to produce good results. What I do is blend other "modern" malts to a template based on what can be assumed happens during kilning.
Brown Malt X.jpg
Note I've used Munich malts and crystal malts in the emulation. The grains in the real process would be quite damp before kilning and would encourage "stewing" processes. As would the hasty drying green malt before kilning into brown malt. The inclusion of Munich and Crystal malts in the emulation (both undergo processing fairly damp) will provide the components created by "stewing".

I haven't added any "smoke" to this composition, but in the past have replaced some of the lighter base malt with Warminster Malting's malt smoked over beech wood. 15% didn't seem to overdo it. Smoke flavour wasn't welcome, especially in 17th and 18th Centuries, and will be one reason for long maturation times (the smokiness doesn't disappear, but mellows into what I find is a welcome background feature).

What I haven't done but would like to try:

Brown malts were often described as "blown" or "snapped" because the kilning could be so fast (4 hours total) the grains would pop. I've done nothing to emulate this, but this character has! viewtopic.php?f=2&t=83077&start=60#p857154. The method shown won't produce "stewing" components but if "snapping" is responsible for flavours it might get them. The process might help "blend" my emulated grain together? It might be used to introduce a scrap of smoke flavour? I've been told the extra bit of toasting adds fine flavours to the malt you can't otherwise get in bought malt? I'd probably leave the crystal malts out of this process (add in after).

Next: Amber and Pale malts.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Sat May 22, 2021 2:18 pm

Using the same methods for making Brown Malt, it should be possible to "assemble" Amber Malt and Pale Amber Malt. These malts were made more carefully than Brown Malt, kilning for 12-24 hours at moderate temperature rather than 4 at high temperatue. Less colouring and less stewing (I'll hold on to a small amount of Munich and crystal malts though):
Brown Malt Xa.jpg
I'll add Pale Malt too. It might seem un-necessary, but "modern" (rotating drum kilned) pale malt didn't occur until much later in the 19th Century.
Brown Malt Xb.jpg
There was "White malt" too, but for this it should be quite adequate to follow the DPBC's advice of 50:50 "lager" and pale malt.

The graphs here were prepared from the "brown malt" graph. Squeezing it up to shift the peak of the curve left ("A", lighter in colour) and also tucking in the "belly" of the curve ("B").

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Sun May 23, 2021 11:42 am

The "curve" I've used in those graphs has been interesting. You can skip past this unless you want to argue about what I've done (in which case I demand you read it before posting!), or want a bit more confidence in what I've done.

I knew it would be a positively skewed distribution curve (look it up) because I needed most of the grain to fall into the lighter (and diastatic) area; but the rest was out-and-out guessing? But it wasn't so. Keeping the mix diastatic actually dictated much of the shape of the curve and it was far from a free-for-all. This was all mostly important when designing a brown malt emulation, which stretches the options the furthest.

Moving the peak ("A") left or right (the "mode" mark on the curve, where most grain fell in the colour, EBC, distribution) had to keep the peak within the diastatic zone. For brown malt dialling it to between 20 and 25 EBC was really pushing it. The belly of the curve ("B") dictated where the "median" (half the amount) and more importantly the "mean" (average) will fall on the curve downside. These will also dictate how diastatic the resulting mix will be, hence the curve must fall fairly steeply after the peak. The belly also dictates how far along the baseline the curve stretches (or how far it stretches before measuring insignificant amounts); looking at pictures of real brown malt lets you estimate where this would be (dark flecks being the giveaway).

Another constraint was the curve needed to be smooth and flowing. Bumps and angles just wouldn't exist in reality!

The curve needed to be similar to an analysis of the real stuff (a "real" statistical distribution curve). Even though I had no such curves available to me, I was surprised how limited I was to "inventing" one. In real life, you wouldn't be concerned about such curves, if the real stuff fell far outside the "curve" it just wouldn't produce beer, or burnt the malt-house to the ground.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Sun May 23, 2021 5:42 pm

I avoid adding all the separate grains of an "emulation", instead I create a single grain ingredient that represents the emulation. I'm using Beersmith for this, but you can do it with pen and paper. Having the emulation as a single stand-alone ingredient means you can reuse the formula whenever you want.
Brown Malt Test - a.JPG
These are the individual components of 1Kg of the emulation. The components each have a "Diastatic Power" (DP) value which gives an idea how much grain starch you can convert with it. The figures I'm using are of dubious accuracy (they're the ones provided by Beersmith "add-ons" for Crisp malts) but provide guidelines. The "Vienna" malt (Mild Ale Malt) has a DP of 55°Lintner, as has the light Munich malt, and the dark Munich malt is 31. All the rest are zero (no enzyme activity). Beersmith calculates the combined DP which is just over 30°Lintner. The emulation is making an imaginary 5L batch; note its OG and colour.

Make up a similar sized imaginary batch but with 1Kg of just one ingredient. Alter that ingredient's colour and extract so the imaginary batch has the same colour and OG as the emulated brown malt batch. Make other changes such as the DP value that was calculated and a descriptive name, and save it as a future ingredient.
Brown Malt Test - b.JPG
Or ... if you can't be bothered with all this, just wing it. :D

You may see it written that a DP of 35-40°Lintner or less will not self-convert. It is not entirely true, but do not expect a good extract after the usual hour's mashing! I'd give this emulation 2 hours mashing, perhaps 3, and probably not too hot (say 66°C max.?). I've seen some suggests that "real" brown malt results in 20% less extract than if using pale malt (it is a reason for abandoning brown malt). My worry is if making the emulation more efficient, the mash is using less and flavour is thinner than it should be? This needs some practical experimenting. And what is "should be"?


<EDIT: Only worry about the "DP" waffle if using the emulation at a very high percentage of the total fermentables; like 100% for some recipes!>

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Mon May 24, 2021 1:43 pm

No comments?

I'll take that as agreement amongst the readers that I'm honing this topic into something close to the historical reality? If so I'll eventually (it'll take a while) write it all up as a document that I can link into my "signature" to keep my "treatise" that's already there company. First off I'll get a post out concerning hopping Ales, and then look for some suitable recipes to give it a spin on (who's for "Stitch"? And my previous attempt to brew "Amber Small Beer - 1823 - Brewing Books, Cobb & Co, Margate" out of "Old British Beers" was a disaster, undoubtable because of using "modern", highly astringent, amber malt).

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Mon May 24, 2021 2:16 pm

The difference between Ale and Beer is that Ale didn't contain any hops?

Cobblers!

The reason Ale didn't contain hops was because us Brits hadn't thought of adding them (they did grow wild in the UK) until the Dutch came along and convinced the Brits it was a good thing. Where upon us Brits started making Beer ... and also adding hops to Ale!

But Ale always had considerably less "vegetables" in the make ups than Beer, and therefore used less hops because Ale was all about the cereals (small digressions with loads of beans in "Mum", and the odd cockerel or two!). And it became obvious that Beer didn't need the care taken with Ale, like not brewing Ale in Summer months or in large, more economical, batches (prone to over-heating, and Ale was less stable when fermented in the warm).

So when grubbing about ancient recipes I find it best to decide if it is ale or beer by the amount of hops in the recipe. If the recipe is translated and has an estimated IBU value, anything under 24 is suspicious (i.e. possibly Ale), or perhaps a IBU/SG ratio less than 0.5 (strong, keeping, ales, over 6.5-7% ABV, used more hops because it was understood that hops allowed ale/beer to store better ... to us, they tasted better too?).

Because the lower risk of storing hopped ale/beer took time to be appreciated, the spectre of under-aged strong ales would continue. "Imperial Mild Ale" anyone? (A favourite imaginary brew for Ron Pattinson to mention in his beer history blog).

A means of identifying Ales suggested by some folk is that Beer will contain 3-4x the hops (and more!) than the equivalent strength Ale.

Earlier enthusiasts that have dug up old recipes may not readily identify the difference and may call ale, beer, and visa versa. It's just because from the 20th Century onwards we use ale and beer interchangeably, and still do.

Most Ales didn't continue much into the 19th Century (the Amber Ales and Brown Ales all died out) with the exception of "mild" (unaged) Pale Ales, which were to become "Mild Ales". Other Pale Ales transmuted into Beers (but kept the "Pale Ale" name). Amber and Brown Ales weren't to reappear for 100-150 years or so and then only as something quite different, so only the name survived.
Last edited by PeeBee on Tue May 25, 2021 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by Eric » Mon May 24, 2021 2:21 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Mon May 24, 2021 1:43 pm
No comments?

Not from me, I don't wish to interfere with the flow, even though I have pieces in my mind. Keep going on this subject that is otherwise void or guesswork.
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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Tue May 25, 2021 12:51 pm

Couple of small points to clarify before throwing a recipe at it all.

In those graphs: Why haven't I run the overlaid histogram bars all the way to the peaks of the curves? The histogram bars are obviously rectangular, the curve obviously isn't! Yet in both graphs the areas enclosed represent the relative amount of grain being used. The rectangular bars ("bins") allow us to approximately judge what proportion of the grain that the bin represents (percentage) in the total mix. So the area of "bin" outside the curve should approximately equal the area within the curve not covered by the bin. Get it? Judged roughly by eye; since when was building an open open fire a precise job?

On the subject of building fires ... The kilns used during this period needn't have been heated by a damn great bonfire! Later the kiln's could use more controllable arrangements like "gasifiers" (for late 19th Century; look 'em up) for burning the wood cleanly. Not controllable enough to prevent burning down the odd malt-house.

I've decided to use 15% smoked malt for brown malt ('cos I've used that much okay before) and 5%-10% for Amber and Pale malts. The smoked malt directly replaces the lighter coloured malts in the emulation (weight-for-weight). Using the beech smoked Warminster malt sold by BrewUK as it's quite mild and I've used it before in "brown malt". Why less for the Amber/Pale malts? Both would have been dried quite well before kilning. Brown malt will involve "shortcuts" and was probably much damper going into the kiln. Damp grain absorbs much more smoke flavour than dry.

========

Okay, I've already been creating "brown malt" for some Victorian porter recipes, but they are the subject in another thread. Here I've got the "Stitch" recipe from the CAMRA book. "Stitch" will require 100% brown malt but, being an Ale, will be ready much earlier than an 18th Century (100% brown malt) porter. So I'll be going back on a much earlier promise: "I'm not going to be making 'Imperial Mild Ale'"! Before that. There's Durden Park Beer Circle (Old British Beers and How to Make Them) "Amber Small Beer - 1823 - Brewing Books, Cobb & Co, Margate". I think it probably is a beer (not an ale) but certainly used old-style malt in 1823. Whether it used a high proportion of pale malt or 100% amber malt is questionable; I'll need to drop DPBC a line to find out. Even a 100% emulated "Amber Malt" recipe would contain only 10% "modern" Amber Malt, less than 1/3rd the quantity that caused problems last time.
:-k

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Mon May 31, 2021 8:08 am

I'll take any excuse to post a colourful illustration …
Emulating Historical Malts.JPG
Translating those graphs to tables of ingredients. They also correct a couple of insignificant hiccups in previous tables and make the "Amber Malt" a shade darker. All the malt emulations are a touch lighter than I intended, but will make a good starting point. The exception is the "Pale Malt" which calculated somewhat darker than I expected and wouldn't be much lighter without serious hacking of the "formula". But then "historical" beers (but not Porter!) I've made so far do come out a bit anaemic (using straight modern pale malt and no roast, crystal, etc.) so perhaps the historic stuff did result in a bit more colour?

I'd like to make the "Brown Malt" darker but its already hitting the "not self-converting" mark for using 100% usage so should make a reasonable starter (the real deal had very poor extraction levels).

I've not tried any of these formulations just yet, but with those makeups its hard to imagine they would be unpleasant. Previously I put far less effort into the formulas and the results were far from not good!

Excuse the outrageous accuracy, but it's easier to detect mistakes. The last column provides the detail to make up the formulas and they can be rounder to the nearest whole number. I'll try to post the actual spreadsheet for anybody to adapt if they want to.
Last edited by PeeBee on Wed Jun 02, 2021 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Wed Jun 02, 2021 4:16 pm

I'm getting gloomy concerning my task to get back to the 17th Century (Stuarts). I thought I'd come up with something round-about English Civil War. But the 1736 London and Country Brewer seems to be the furthest back reliable quotes go. The world of "Brown Beers" and "Brown Ales". I've got a "Stitch" recipe (a strong brown ale, parallel to common brown beer which became "Porter" - "common" meaning not so strong alcohol-wise as "strong" or "stout" but stronger than "small") but no suggestion it was drunk in the 17th century, so scratch "17th" off the subject to this thread.

Unless anyone knows otherwise?

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by Eric » Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:49 pm

[A fascinating and excellent trilogy, PeeBee. You are to be commended for the efforts you have made to create much food for thought and discussion. I will indeed try your emulated Brown Malt some time. As a young student on a visit to Vaux Brewery, we were told, amongst much else, that "Sampson was made from malted barley and flaked corn (maize) with Fuggle hops". Their Double Maxim (bottled Brown Ale) was from the same ingredients plus some Crystal Malt and Caramel. In those days (1963) Sampson was Vaux's best beer, 1042/43, ~4.2% ABV served from the wood and could be termed today as a Mild. Ron P thought it so when he came across details of that beer from between the wars. The brewery was of the tower type where they malted their own barley on the top floor. I have long suspected it to have been a light version of Brown Malt in those times. In the following 35 years to the brewery's closure, the beer got paler in stages and at the end of its life was described as a Bitter. This is my attempt from Pale, Brown and Black malts. I'll make one using your method and will sometime report the result.
R0010771.JPG
I can't help with beer during the Civil War, in any case, I assume there would be few breweries other than in Taverns that catered to their own customers. How many towns would be large enough to support more than one brewery without tied outlets? What if someone turned up a document thought to be a brewing recipe of that period? Could we interpret it properly, can we be sure brewing terms were unchanged in the intervening period? Even if we could be certain of what it contained, it would likely be challenged by someone for some reason and be in doubt.

I feel any information that might be found wouldn't be in the form of brewing records, but more likely in a diary or historical record of the time that touched on beer or brewing. In the early years of the 17th century was Shakespeare's literature that included all the drinking by Falstaff, Pistol, Bardolph and even Prince Hal in the Boar's Head Tavern, but Sir John's favourite tipple was fortified wine. Apparently there's a reference to an alehouse in Henry V, when Hal was King, but I cannot find it. I read his son, Henty VI, did try to set standards for brewers to adhere, but I've got no further on that and perhaps if something of value to the brewer exists, an Historian would likely be better than a Brewer to extract that information.

Image

What chance finding Sally Birkett's brewing log?

Leaving Henry VI to his fate in the fifteenth century and moving to the end of the eighteenth century and the earlier years of the nineteenth, before Pasteur's influence began, the so called,"Romantic Period". Then was a period when many written accounts were published which at least record the vocabulary of that time.

Image
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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by PeeBee » Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:52 pm

Eric wrote:
Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:49 pm
A fascinating and excellent trilogy, …
Thanks again! I'd sort of concluded from you previous inputs that my efforts needed a more "holistic" approach. My reliance on brewery records (mainly dug up by Ron and Edd) was only going to keep me going so long, and by the latter part of the "Georgian era" that tactic was failing fast. Didn't pay enough attention to history at school, but I had heard of the "Industrial Revolution" and looking that up was given the dates 1760 to 1820/40. Now there's a "coincidence"? And bumping into the backend of that, the philosophies of the "Age of Enlightenment".

Crikey, no wonder my ears were deaf to this stuff first time around. But this time I've added the magic ingredient ... beer!

It's a big step from the relative certainties of "brewery records" to snippets of stories from the past that must be processed by some possibly dodgy PeeBee conjecture. Still, I can always skip that and go straight for the views of some American "craft beer" historian; like possibly those advising the BJCP? :-k

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Ales and Beers (17th, 18th and a bit of 19th Century)

Post by Eric » Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:14 pm

Brewing records uncovered and translated into recipes by Ron and Edd are true treasures, but there must also be a vast array of facts, disputed or unknown, lurking in other repositories for whomever to stumble across and reveal all to a waiting world.

BoakandBailey went down this route and uncovered some, but might have uncovered more. They include a couple of brief sections from Coleridge's 9 day "Circumcursion" the Western Lake District (well before Alfred Wainwright) when, in the first minutes of the first day he walked through the Hop-Field.
https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/mappingthelakes/STC.html
Now I've sometimes read that the English didn't really use hops then, but why have a Hop-Field in Keswick in 1801 if the local brewers didn't use them? Their final mention was of the tour of Scotland with the Wordsworth's in 1803. I have a 19th century print Dorothy Wordsworth's account. At Arrochar they fell out and Coleridge went his separate way, not speaking again for many years after. Coleridge recorded at the time and recalled times afterward how having -"dined at Tyndrum / walked a brisk pace under the inspiration of a Bottle of Burton Ale, from Tyndrum to Inveroran. A pub at Gretna with no beer, but Burton Ale just a brisk walk from remote Rannoch Moor nearly 220 years ago. I've certainly heard lots of stories of pubs without beer, but would you have expected the latter?

So back to the Mortal Man, once The White House, its name changed after the creation of the poem and Inn Sign replicate above. Painted by a guest while on a fishing trip (more detail can be found on the web). The artist, widowed, married a lady from Grasmere in 1801, so it likely dates slightly earlier, also dating Sally Birkett's Ale. Any knowing the location realise back then and for many years to follow, it would be a mammoth task to transport bulk beer to that venue. So Sally Birkett's Ale must have been brewed locally or on the premises, and beer like Porter, that needed maturing over many months, wouldn't work for that and vastly more locations even when it was said to be so popular. Indeed it likely was, but would that be also true outside of densely populated zones?

As for American Craft Breer historians PeeBee, their knowledge would be more than welcomed. We'd hope for some contemporary written evidence, not a "Hollywood" version or hearsay. With some snippets here from 1801/2/3, could it have been that Lewis and Clark called in at what would become the Anheuser-Busch Brewery after crossing the Mississippi and before setting off on their Circumcursion in 1804? Would be an interesting report I suppose.
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