How was beer invented

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Fish-man

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Been thinking about this for a while.

Cider and wine are pretty simple to make .. in fact it was in inevitable that in the times before sterilization somebody would drink some juice which had "gone off" and realized what great fun it was.

But producing beer is a different matter I think it would be very difficult to make a beer by accident. Even a very bad one.

So any thoughts ?
 

Bob

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[historian hat = ON]

Depends on what you mean by 'beer'. If you mean the hopped beverage we enjoy in 2008, not long at all, relatively speaking. If you mean grain-based fermented beverage alcohol, beer has been around since the 6th Millenium BCE in Mesopotamia - and that's just as far back as we've got reliable documentation!

It's a bone of some contention amongst historians and anthropologists which came first - beer or bread. Both require the domestication of cereal-grain plants in large quantities, which is, regardless of your side in the beer vs. bread debate, the precursor to human civilization. Both involve rudimentary fermentation. In fact, the Sumerian beer had bread in it. There will never be a definitive answer, alas, until the late, lamented Mr Crichton's estate coughs up the plans for the Timeline machine.

I don't think it's difficult to make barley beer by accident at all. You leave an earthenware vessel full of grain in the rain; a few days later it gets foamy. You don't have enough to eat to even consider discarding it - remember, this is when civilization is just starting out - so you eat the grain and drink the fluid. Your head begins to feel funny; next thing you know, you're at the center of a new religion. Just ask Ninkasi.

Would it taste foul? To our modern palates, probably perfectly beastly. Ever try chicha? [shudder]

I could go on all evening, but a laughable television show on the Dark Ages is drawing me like a train wreck. ;)

[historian hat = still ON, though only to snark at The History Channel]

Bob
 

lapaglia

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The art of brewing is as old as civilization. Between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, some humans discontinued their nomadic hunting and gathering and settled down to farm. Grain was the first domesticated crop that started that farming process.

Through hieroglyphics, cuneiform characters and written accounts, historians have traced the roots of brewing back to ancient African, Egyptian and Sumerian tribes. The oldest proven records of brewing are about 6,000 years old and refer to the Sumerians. Sumeria lay between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers including Southern Mesopotamia and the ancient cities of Babylon and Ur. It is said that the Sumerians discovered the fermentation process by chance. A seal around 4,000 years old is a Sumerian "Hymn to Ninkasi", the goddess of brewing. This "hymn" is also a recipe for making beer. No one knows today exactly how this occurred, but it could be that a piece of bread or grain became wet and a short time later, it began to ferment and a inebriating pulp resulted. These early accounts, with pictograms of what is recognizably barley, show bread being baked then crumbled into water to make a mash, which is then made into a drink that is recorded as having made people feel "exhilarated, wonderful and blissful!" It could be that baked bread was a convenient method of storing and transporting a resource for making beer. The Sumerians were able to repeat this process and are assumed to be he first civilized culture to brew beer. They had discovered a "divine drink" which certainly was a gift from the gods.
A history of beer
 
OP
F

Fish-man

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I don't think it's difficult to make barley beer by accident at all. You leave an earthenware vessel full of grain in the rain; a few days later it gets foamy.
So does that mean we all put way too much effort in ? :D

Wasn't expecting an answer quite as definite as that , Many thanks
 

Shonuff

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So who was the first Egyptian to ask the Pharoh: "Is my beer ruined?"
That's great! Or who was the first Egyptian to ask the Pharoh "Should I transfer my beer to a secondary?"
 

Donner

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Since it is Sunday, the real answer is Moses got the recipe from God along with the Ten Commandments.:D
so you're saying Mosses kept the really important information and broke the tablets with the rest of the stuff God said?
 

david_42

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so you're saying Mosses kept the really important information and broke the tablets with the rest of the stuff God said?

If you can find some of the older texts, there were actually 17 commandments.
 

raceskier

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(Mel Brooks as Moses in "History of the World)

Moses proclaims “The Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen...” (his proclamation is interrupted by his dropping and shattering of one of three tablets) “Wait...Ten! Ten Commandments! For all to obey!”
 

john from dc

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one other connection between beer and bread is that they both need yeast. there is evidence that suggests ancient brewers supplied the yeast needed by ancient bakers to make bread, and it continued that way up until very recently.

randy mosher suggests that bread in and of itself was not enough to coerce ancient nomadic tribes away from tracking and hunting meat to the backbreaking labor that was ancient agriculture. beer, even foul tasting beer, might've sweetened the deal considerably. some historans extend that to say beer is responsible for all civilization on earth, although most of those historians are also beer lovers ;)
 

GilaMinumBeer

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And the seventh day the Lord did rest (and brew) and he was refreshed.

And Adam said unto Eve "A pint of Lager my dear"

And Moses said unto the Pharoh "Give my people Beer". And they did rejoice.

All edited out through the centuries. ;)
 

Gordie

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Beer was not invented.

Beer has always been with us.

Beer waited for us to evolve to a point where we would appreciate Beer and then Beer chose to reveal itself to us.
 

Beerbeque

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Why ask why? Just praise the Lord for grain and yeast and the bounty they provide. Oh yeah, and tasty critters too!
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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Mod Edit: Comment deleted. We have a debate forum for this.
Let's keep Religious commentary out of this.
 

MrNate

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I don't think it's difficult to make barley beer by accident at all. You leave an earthenware vessel full of grain in the rain; a few days later it gets foamy. You don't have enough to eat to even consider discarding it - remember, this is when civilization is just starting out - so you eat the grain and drink the fluid. Your head begins to feel funny; next thing you know, you're at the center of a new religion. Just ask Ninkasi.
That's more or less what I suspect. Ever been in the base of a corn silo? Pigs have probably been drinking beer longer than we have.
 

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