On This Day 27 March 1711

Today we have an insight into the private life of Captain Thomas Bowrey. On this day in 1711, he paid his account with the maltster, Alex Marshall.

The account covered the period from 21 October 1710 to 13 February 1711 and was for malt, hops and browns indicating the Bowrey household in Wapping brewed their own beer. Small (or weak) beer was commonly drunk in place of water because there was no safe water supply. It was also common for households to brew their own small beer rather than rely on outside suppliers for such an essential element of their diet.

Browns may have been brown hops or old hops as opposed to pale, new, hops. Beer recipes today often use a mix of brown and pale hops. However, as the browns was sold in bushels, like the malt, it was more likely brown malt. Bowrey also purchased pale malt. A mix of malts was also often used in beer making.

Intotal over the  Bowrey purchase 7.5 pounds of hops and 25 bushels of malt. Looking at recipes on the Internet, this quantity of hops would make at least 160 gallons of beer. I imagine that it would be more of small beer. The household probably made more than 1,000 litres of small beer over four months. At this time, the household is known you have been made up of Bowrey, his wife and mother-in-law, Bowrey’s servant and his wife. There was probably at least two more servants making, perhaps seven people. That would be about 1 litre of small beer each per day.

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