Originally Posted by riromero
I'm looking for some recipes for beers from history. I read that one of the staple foods for transatlantic trips to colonial America was beer because it didn't spoil and was nutritious. Evidently this beer was unhopped. I was thinking it might be fun to make some beers from history and it would be nice to have a recipe rather than just guesswork. Any ideas?
You've just hit on my favorite subject.
The Pilgrims didn't land at Plymouth because it was nice. They were aiming for Virginia. They landed at Plymouth because "...our victualls, being much spente, especially our Beere[...]" In fact, the Royal Navy experimented with malt extract in the 17th century; wort boiled to a paste consistency, meant to be reconstituted with fresh water in the West Indies and fermented aboard ship. Didn't work out, thankfully, otherwise they'd never have invented grog.
Trust me - that beer was hopped. Beer - that is, malt beverage brewed wit hops - was the dominant malt beverage in Europe at that time, and had been since the 14th century. There were pockets of ale - unbittered malt beverage - being brewed in backwater areas of the United Kingdom well into the 19th century, but that was a very, very isolated incidence.
I have a wide range of ideas for you. What are you looking to do? Redact a period recipe to see how it stacks up against what we think of as beer today? I can help you, but you've got to narrow it down, man!