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How was the ancient beer brewing done?

frutilady's picture

I love Beer, for me it is not just any other drink but elixir of life, and I don’t just like drinking it but keep reading about its history, different types, brewing methods, etc. So when I tell my friends that beer is almost as old as the human civilization, many wonder, “How was the ancient beer brewing done?” I am going share my knowledge on the evolution of beer brewing as we know it today. 

A Babylonian tablet inscribed with the directions for brewing beer The beer, historians believe, was invented by chance when bread got wet and began to ferment, resulting in an inebriating brew. "Hymn to Ninkasi", a 4000 yrs old Sumerian hymn is considered as the oldest known record of how to make beer. According to this hymn and early Sumerian pictograms, bread from barley grains were crumbled and mixed with water to make a mash. The pulp was then left for several days, the wild yeast present in the air would ferment the mash and beer was thus produced. 


The Babylonians took over Mesopotamia in 2000B.C and mastered the art of brewing beer from the Sumerians. The Babylonians further developed the method of beer brewing and invented at least 20 different varieties of beer. Beer played an important role in the daily life of Babylonians. According to some accounts beer was rationed and used as barter by the royals of Babylon. 


After the Babylonians came the Egyptians and carried on the tradition of brewing beer. TheEgyptians and other older civilizations drank beer using "drinking straws" to avoid the bitter residue of unfiltered beer. Egyptians developed the techniques of brewing beer from unbaked dough and added dates to the mash. Throughout the history, every ancient civilization considered beer as ambrosia or Devine drink. The ancient brewing techniques created beer that was cloudy, unfiltered, and didn’t foam. Beer was sipped using “drinking straws” to avoid the bitter residue. 


The Romans brought the knowledge of brewing beer to Europe. However, beer was considered a barbaric drink by the Romans and consumed only by the tribal population living in the outer areas of Rome. Germans are one of the oldest beer brewers in Europe. Tacitus in his account of ancient Germans wrote “To drink, the Teutons (ancient Germans) have a horrible brew fermented from barley or wheat”. After the fall of Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church took a notice of the growing popularity of beer and refined the beer brewing technique similar to what is used today. 


Post this era what followed was a series of developments, discoveries, and inventions that lead to the modern beer brewing techniques.

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How Was The Ancient Beer Brewing Done?