BARLEY AND ITS USES.
BY J.M. SHAFFER, FAIRFIELD, IOWA.
Barley was cultivated in Egypt as food fifteen hundred years before the
Christian era. The inspired historian records that hail was sent upon the land
of Egypt as one of the plagues, and by it “the flax and the barley were smitten, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was bolled.’ “Wheat was
sown in that country in November and December, as soon as the Nile receded,
and was reaped in May. Pliny says that barley is ready for the harvest six
months after planting, and other grains seven months. There can be no
doubt, from this early mention of barley in connexion with other cereals, that
it formed no inconsiderable portion of the food of the people. A “homer of
barley” is mentioned very frequently in the Bible, and contained seventy-five
gallons and three pints, while the “ephah of barley” was about one-tenth the
capacity of the homer.
The Israelites, under the leadership of Moses, in their forty years journeyings from Egypt to Canaan, were rebellious, and could only, if seems, be restrained from their lusts by a continuous display of signs and miracles. In
the last year of their sojourn, Jehovah recounted their acts and His own, and,
to incite them to faithfulness, He draws the following sublime picture of the
land which was promised them for an inheritance: “A good land; a land of
brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranites; a
land of oil, olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without
scarceness; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest
dig brass.” Barley is here found associated with all that delights the eye, ministers to the comfort, and tends to render a country healthful, plentiful, and
desirable. This, to the most unreflecting mind, is proof of its importance at
that early period in the history of the race.
Twelve hundred and forty-five years before Christ, distinct mention is made
of the “cake of barley.” Gideon overheard, in the camp of the enemy, a comrade tell a dream how a “cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of
Midian, and came unto a tent and smote it, that it fell.” Doubtless a dream
and its interpretation inspired of Deity to give assurance to Gideon that the Midianites should be delivered into his hands. But it teaches, also, the historical lesson that this grain formed part of the food of the people. And this is further illustrated in Ruth’s gleaning in the fields of her kinsman, and afterwards at night (because, doubtless, of the sea-breeze which sprang up at that
hour) of winnowing the grain and taking the first step necessary for its conversion into food.
In Solomon’s reign (B. C. 975) there is the first mention of barley being
used as food for the inferior animals. The officers who had in charge the
King’s revenue bought “barley, also, and straw, for the horses and dromedaries.” Solomon also agreed to pay Hyram, King of Tyre, among other
things, twenty thousand measures of barley for labor and material furnished by
his people towards the erection of the temple. When Jotham conquered the
Ammonites he laid tribute upon them in silver and wheat and barley. Thus
this grain was a “legal tender,” both for labor and revenue, and cannot fail to
illustrate the estimation in which it was held at that time.
These facts give abundant evidence that barley was most highly esteemed,
forming a prominent item in the wealth and prosperity of the people. It was,
1st, an article of food for man; 2d, for the inferior animals; 3d, a measure of
quantity; 4th, an element of worldly prosperity; 5th, a price for labor, and
stone, and lumber; 6th, a symbol of Divine interposition in-human affairs;
7th, the standard of wealth; and ever since those early times it has been cultivated among the nations of the earth, forming no small proportion of their
food, and, in some instances, affording an element of commerce.
There are several varieties of barley in cultivation. The most common are
Hordeum Vulgare, H. Hexasticon, H. Distichon, and H. Zeoitron. The first-
named is the spring barley; the second is the six-rowed barley; the third, the
two-rowed barley; the fourth, the sprat or Battledore barley. They are
found in commerce in several forms, depending upon the processes to which
the grain has been subjected. Scotch hulled, or pot barley, is the grain deprived of its husk in a mill. Pearl barley is so called when all the integuments of the grain are removed, and they are rounded and polished. When
pearl barley is ground into powder it is called patent barley.
Einhof’s analysis gives the following results:
|The ripe seeds.||Barley meal.|
|Husk..........||18.75||Fibrous matter (gluten, Lignin, &c.)|| 7.20|
|Phosphate of lime with albumen|| 0.24|
The subjoined table, compiled by M. Payen, shows the proportions of the proximate principles of the cereal grains:
|100 parts of—||Starch |||Gluten and other azotized matter|||Dextrin, glucose &c.|||Fatty matters |||Cellulose |||Silica, phosphates of lime, magnesia, and soluble salts of potash & soda|
Barley is cultivated and raised in greater or less quantities in every State of the Union. This vast area, representing very different climates and every variety of soil, seems almost equally adapted to its growth. The testimony, however, is in favor of a rich, loose soil, and a careful preparation of the land before seeding. Delaware and South Carolina produced an equal quantity in 1847; so New York and Pennsylvania; so Tennessee produced nearly as much as New Hampshire. This grain will yield an average crop of twenty-three bushels per acre in any part of the country. Some extraordinary crops are recorded. A person in Cheltenham, England, in 1846, drilled in, February 4, five pecks to the acre; on the 4th of July it was harvested, and yielded fifty-two bushels and two pecks per acre, weight fifty-five and a half pounds per bushel. A gentleman, from seventeen grains, obtained 17,235 as the first product; another, from fifteen, obtained 290 ears, which yielded 20,880 grains.
The following table indicates the price of the cereals at Chicago at the times mentioned, and may serve as a commencement to the inquiry, “Is barley a profitable crop?”
|Sept., 1863-'4. |||$1.08 to $2.05 |||$0.76 to $1.30 |||$0.54 to $0.84 |||$0.82 to $1.50 |||$1.17 to $1.40|
This table records the highest and lowest prices of grain from September 26th
to July 1st, and only includes number one lots. The prices of number two are
somewhat lower than number one. Barley seems to be liable to less fluctuation
than wheat or rye. Edmund Burke, Commissioner of Patents in 1847, says:
"With the exception of New York, the quantity raised in the United States
would not be worth trying to ascertain. ts use is mainly for malt purposes,
and the claims of temperance seem to have contributed very much to lessen the
whole.” It will be developed, in the course of this paper, that barley has been
steadily increasing in favor as a field crop, and that the use of malt liquors has
advanced with gigantic strides among the people. Thus the following: statement indicates the product of barley for the several years.stated in the United
States: 1840, 4,038,315 bushels; 1847, 5,649,950 bushels; 1850, 5,109,054
bushels; 1860, 15,433,297 bushels; 1863, 17,754,351 bushels.
The wheat crop of 1850 was 100,485,944 bushels, and in 1860, 171,183,381
bushels, or an increase in ten years of about 70 per cent., while the increase of
barley in the same period was nearly 300 per cent. The yield in the State of
New York in 1847 was 3,931,000 bushels, or three-fifths of the entire product of the United States; while California produced, in 1863, 5,293,442 bushels.
And it should be remembered that the crop of 1847 included all the States and
Territories, while the estimate for 1863 mentions none of the Territories, and
omits all the southern States except Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. These
figures denote a wonderful increase of this grain, not surpassed, perhaps, by any
of the agricultural products of the country.
The principal use of barley is in the manufacture of malt liquors. In 1860 there were returned by the United States census 970 breweries in the northern States, or more than double the number in the whole Union in 1850. The entire quantity of malt liquors was 3,235,545 barrels, with a value of $17,977,135, being more than three times the value of the same product in 1850. Compare these figures with the fact that the whole number of establishments for distilling spirituous liquors in 1860 was 1,138, producing 88,002,988 gallons, and valued at $24,253,176, and the rapid increase can be more readily understood. Again, in 1850, there were of both classes—brewers and distillers—4,854; in 1860 these had increased to 9,058, of which number 6,307 were brewers and maltsters. There are in New York 175 breweries, in Pennsylvania 172, and in California 71. The balance is distributed mostly over the middle and western States. There are but few towns of any considerable population or trade that do not have a brewery as a permanent institution. A census taken at this time would reveal a remarkable increase of the manufacture of beer over the figures returned in 1860. For example, the internal revenue from fermented liquors in the city of Chicago alone, in 1865, reached the sum’ of $209,959 37. These figures represent over 100,000 barrels of beer and ale sold in that city during a single year. In many small villages there is a beer shop, and beer is becoming, if it has not already reached so prominent a position, the national beverage.
The increase of the use of beer may be illustrated by the following tables, giving the product of barley in 1850, compared with 1860 [in bushels -ASC]:
In the New England States.
In the middle States.
|District of Columbia||75||175|
In all the southern States.
|56,132 ||| 219,930|
In the western States.
|717,168 ||| 4,472,101|
In the Pacific States.
1850. | 1860.
11,516 | 4,462,376
These figures show that the “production of barley in all the States more than keeps up with the increase of population. In fact, the amount of barley raised to each person in 1860 was nearly twice as great as in 1850.” Such being the case, it will not be deemed unprofitable to collect in this place, from the best writers, a general synopsis of its
HABITS AND CULTIVATION.
Barley readily accommodates itself to any climate, as has already been intimated, bearing the heat of the torrid zone and the cold of the frigid, and maturing in both with equal certainty. It is a native of Syria, as there is the best authority for its having been cultivated there more than three thousand years ago. The several varieties of two-rowed barley are distinguished from each other by the quality of the grain and the habit of early or late ripening. These differences arise from the effect of climate and situation in the growth of the plant. It is an annual, and belongs to the natural botanical order gramine, but it may be sown in the fall, when it acquires the habit of late ripening and is called fall or winter barley. At different periods particular kinds of barley have gained a great reputation on account of their supposed superior qualities, following the same history that has been recorded of divers species of wheat, oats, &c. For instance, the Chevalier barley, named from the gentleman who first brought it into notice, almost caused a mania in countries where this grain was largely cultivated. Samples of it were sold at enormous prices, and the fortunate possessor of a few acres of it was the object of much consideration. It seems that Chevalier had. observed in his field an ear greatly superior to the rest. This he gathered with care and planted in his garden, until he succeeded in procuring sufficient seed to sow a field. Upon its diffusion, eminent maltsters and brewers declared that it possessed more saccharine matter than any other variety, and
agriculturists regarded it as heavier in the grain and more productive. An author writes of it thus: “It is one of the greatest improvements of modern times!”
Soon after this mania subsided the Annat barley was introduced and had its supporters and admirers. This was the produce of three ears picked in a field in Perthshire, Scotland, and grown afterwards at Annat gardens, whence its
name. It ripened five days earlier than common barley and two weeks earlier than the Chevalier, and was two and a half pounds per bushel heavier than the latter. It had its period of exaltation and decline, as fancy varieties of other grains have had for years.
Barley, like all other grains, is liable to smut, blight, mildew, &c., but its diseases are neither so numerous nor so fatal as those of wheat. Its insect enemies are not formidable, and the grain may be sown with perhaps more prospect of escape from injuries in this direction. and from disease, than any other. Yet Baxter, in his Library of Agricultural Knowledge, writes, “Barley is a tender plant, and is easily hurt at any stage of its growth. It is more hazardous than wheat, and is, generally speaking, raised at a greater expense.” * * * "There is no grain, perhaps, more affected by soil and cultivation; the same species
exhibiting opposite qualities, modified by the nature of the soil from which it is
produced.” * * * "Thus the finest samples, the growth of suitable and well-cultivated lands, if sown on a poor and sterile soil, become alike poor
in appearance and indifferent in quality.” These observations, made in England, will be verified by the experiences of barley growers in America. It is written, “The land that produces the best barley is generally of a silicious, light, dry nature, for a good mellow preparation and free soil are essential to the growth of malting barleys. Cold, wet soils, which are peculiarly retentive of moisture, are ill adapted to the growth of this grain, both in reference to its weight and its malting qualities.” There is infinite variety in the composition of the soils in the vast region in which barley is grown in the United States; yet everywhere it is considered a profitable crop, and is found fit for malting, whether grown in Maine, Florida, Iowa, or California. There are no statistics accessible which give any comparative statement as to the relative weight of barley, or its relative malting qualities, as modified by soil and location. It has been asserted that very much of the barley grown in the United States would not be used in England in the manufacture of ale or beer, it being thought to lack some of the properties essential to the production of first rate malt. Precise figures are wanting to determine the exact differences, if any, which exist in barley grown in different locations.
Barley may be propagated by seed sown broadcast or in drills. The quantity
varies from two and a half to five bushels per acre when sown broadcast, depending on the nature of the soil, cultivation, time of sowing, &c. In rich, mellow,
well-tilled lands, the smaller quantity will answer; while on poor soils, with
late sowing and indifferent tillage, a larger quantity will be found necessary.
Being an early ripening grain, it should be sown early. The authority from
which many of these suggestions are taken, insists that great care should be
taken in the choice of seed. It should not be of a reddish color, as a great part
of it will not vegetate. It should be of a pale hue, lively and uniform. The
finest samples and plumpest grain should be selected, as these throw up strong,
healthy stems, capable of resisting the effects of inclement seasons, and, under
favorable circumstances, putting forth with great strength and vigor. The compiler of the United States census has this paragraph:
“Barley requires good cultivation. It delights in a warm, active, fertile soil.
It does not do well on sod-lands. In England it is usually sown on light, sandy
soils, after a crop of turnips that has been eaten on the land by sheep. The
droppings of the sheep enrich the land, while the small feet of the sheep consolidate the light, porous soil. In this country it appears to flourish on heavier soils,
especially if they are thoroughly pulverized. At all events, the soil must be
well drained, and the crop sown in good season in the spring. Our season is
so short, and the roots of barley extend, as compared with winter wheat, over such a small surface, that it is exceedingly important that the soil contain a liberal supply of plant food in an active condition.
More care is required in harvesting barley than in any other of the grain crops.
It should be allowed to become ripe, but not dead ripe. It is very apt to be destroyed on account of wet weather, causing germination of the grain, and the
consequent depreciation of its value as malt. Hence it should not be stacked
or put in the barn unless thoroughly dry. None should be put away when the
dew is upon it, as, from the softness of the stem and the tendency of the ears to
vegetate, it will be-heated, the spear will be destroyed, and maltsters will purchase it only for grinding, and then at greatly reduced rates. A writer in the
London Field makes some suggestions from which the following are condensed:
The grain must be ripe, but not “rotten-ripe,” in order that it may germinate
evenly. Wait until the red streaks which run longitudinally on the ripening
grain disappear, the head begins to hang down, and the straw assumes a golden
hue. Then cut it, and if sufficiently long tie up into small sheaves, in the event
of bad weather. This better protects it from staining than if lying all about.
Barley stacked loose gets into better condition than when tied up; the sweating
is more uniform and the sample a shade mellower. Still the evidence is in favor
of tying, and.the practice is steadily gaining ground. It is also recommended
to avoid threshing with a machine, as the germinating spear is bruised, and is
as much injured by it as if heated in the mow. It is likewise important, on ac-
count of the fineness of the texture of the chaff, that the grain should not be
thrown in very large heaps without daily examination, to prevent heating and
fermentation. The necessity for all these cautions will readily appear when
the process of malting is described in another part of this paper.
BARLEY AS FOOD FOR MAN
It may be added to what has been already intimated, that the ancients—the
Egyptians, Jews, and East Indians—cultivated barley for food in the earliest
times. The common variety came to Europe by way of Egypt, and in Greece
three kinds of barley were cultivated for food in former times. It was at one
time in general demand in England as bread corn, and is even now, for this
purpose, used to some extent on the continent. The bread is not especially nutritive, and has a dark color and strong savor that are not particularly pleasant.
The Battledore barley furnishes an excellent meal. Pliny says that barley was
the most ancient of all cereals used as food, and quotes the Hordearii—the barley
men—the name given to the sword-fencers, in allusion to their allowance or pension of barley. Count Rumford, in his essay on “Feeding the Poor,” regards
barley meal, when used for soup, as three or four times more nutritious than
wheaten flour. But a reference to the table on page 357, showing the proximate
principles of the cereals, exhibits the fact that while wheat contains 22.75 parts
of gluten and other azotized matters, barley contains but 13.96. Gluten contains
nitrogen, and on this account has been called the vegeto-animal principle. Now
it was demonstrated by Magendie, the great French physiologist, that gelatin,
fibrin, albumen, when fed separately, do not have the power of nourishing animals for any length of time—they invariably waste away and die; but when
they are fed on gluten alone, they thrive well and live long. It is thus conclusive that the more gluten contained in food, the greater will be its nutritive quality; and hence the nutritive equivalent of wheat is much greater than that of barley. Barley soup, in many places, forms an occasional dinner dish; but the limit of its use is very circumscribed. Barley bread is unknown to native
AS FOOD FOR DOMESTIC ANIMALS.
While barley is less nutritive than wheat, it is twelve and a half percent more so than oats. From the earliest antiquity it has been employed as food for
cattle, and after the introduction of wheat the Romans used it largely for horses.
It is regarded as the best article for fattening swine, after they have been put
up for that purpose. The flesh is not only more tender, but it increases on boiling. It forms excellent food for poultry. London dairymen use the growing crop in spring for pasturing cows; it comes early and increases the milk. It is a fine crop for sheep, and in England, when fed off early, as in April; it will
spring up again and make a good crop in August. It is good for horses when
fed in the spring—sparingly at first—and mixed with oats. As early as 1602
it was sown in Martha’s Vineyard, and by the colonists of the "London Company,” in Virginia, in 1611. Samples of the grain were sent to Holland from
the colonists of Manhattan island, as evidence of their prosperous condition. In
1796 it was the chief agricultural product of Rhode Island. Doubtless, at that
early day in our history, its uses as food for all the domestic animals were well
understood. John Spring, writing from Indiana, in 1853, says: “The green
grain affords an excellent pasture during winter, especially for colts and calves,
as they injure the ground less by tramping than other and older stock. The
straw is saved for winter feeding to cattle, and answers well for horses when
cut and fed with the grain crushed into coarse meal. Barley is also valuable
for hogs when ground and made into swill, and fed during the first stage of fermentation; or the grain may be soaked in water until it is fully swollen, and
then fed to them. D. J. B. wrote, in 1855, (Agricultural Report,) “In Egypt,
as also in all parts of the East, it has been used in an uncooked state, from time
immemorial, as the common food of horses, where the use of rye and oats is unknown. However prejudiced farmers may be against it as horse food, from the
belief that it is too heating to these animals when kept hard at work, they cannot
avoid being convinced of its excellence in this respect, when they consider that in
the countries where they are the most remarkable for their good qualities, as well
as for their beauty, they eat no other kind of grain.” Mr. Boardman, writing on
the agriculture of Maine, in 1862, says: “When ground for feeding purposes, it
is found to be a superior article for fattening hogs, and also for feeding horses,
milch cows, and poultry.” Authorities might be multiplied to an indefinite extent to illustrate its value as food for the domestic animals. When it is considered that barley is raised with equal facility as the other grains, that it grows luxuriously in almost every climate and soil, that its average yield per acre is
greater than wheat, and, though less than oats, that it possesses relatively greater
nutritive properties, that it is usually less in danger of diseases or from the depredations of insects, that it is alike applicable to all kinds of farm stock, it certainly recommends itself to a more general use in this direction.
AS A THERAPEUTIC AGENT.
Barley is recognized as officinal by the medical profession throughout the
world. It contains much less of the flesh and blood making principles than
wheat, and hence is useful as a demulcent and emollient for invalids in febrile
cases and inflammatory disorders. In affections of the chest and urinary
organs, requiring depletion and the avoidance of a stimulating regimen, it is
highly and deservedly esteemed for its soothing effects. Its starch offers
more resistance to the action of the gastric juice than that of wheat, and its meal
is more laxative. Added to three times its weight of wheat flour, it gives an excellent quality to infants’ food, the constipating effect of the former being counteracted. From the well known tendency of barley to act on the bowels, it should not be used in cases where there is diarrhea, or in establishments where bowel complaints prevail. There are two decoctions of barley for use among the
sick. Their preparation is very simple, and they will be found highly beneficial in cases indicated above.
But by far the greatest. proportion of the barley crop is consumed in the
manufacture of malt liquors. Some figures have already been presented, exhibiting the magnitude of the increase of consumption of ale, beer, &c., in this
country; also the great increase of the number of persons employed as brewers
and maltsters. It may be profitable to add here a column of figures showing the value of importations of malt liquors for the years indicated:
Table of ale, beer, and porter imported into the United States.
Table of ale, beer, and porter exported from the United States.
|Total importations, value of||$4,407,279|
|Total exportations, value of||$550,353|
| Balance in favor of importations||$3,856,926|
During the same years were imported bushels of barley as follows:
The almost regular decrease of the importation from one hundred thousand in 1851, 1852, and 1853, to less than ten thousand in 1858, shows that the country rapidly reached independence in this regard. This table may be also profitably compared with that given on page 358. It is to be regretted that figures of a like character, bringing down the statistics to the past year, are not attainable. They would doubtless show that the astonishing increase of the barley crop has relatively lessened the importation of the grain, and perhaps, also, of foreign ale, beer, and porter. And though a high authority has asserted that the best barley grown in the United States would not be used by a London maltster, yet the favor with which American beer and ales are received by the people, and their recommendation for use of the sick by the best talent of the medical profession,
goes far to show that. they are equally good; and hence there would be no necessity for importing them from abroad.
A very brief history of this process may prove interesting. The operation of malting, by which the grain is prepared for conversion into beer, ale, &c., is composed of four distinct steps, namely, steeping, couching, flooring, and drying. In the first, it is steeped in water for about two days, when it absorbs moisture, swells considerably, softens, and adds about forty per cent. to its weight. As soon as it is easily penetrable by a needle the water is drawn off, and the grain is submitted to the next process, which is couching. This means placing the soaked barley in heaps two feet high, where it is allowed to remain about thirty hours. In this situation the grain acquires a temperature considerably above that of the surrounding atmosphere, but as the heat in such large masses would not be uniform, the germination would be more advanced in some parts than in others, and it is now subjected to the third step, which is flooring. This is done by throwing the grain on large, airy, but shaded floors, in layers a few inches thick, and in this position it is frequently turned over with a shovel, thus securing
uniformity until the acrospire (a name given by maltsters to the new growth) has reached almost to the other end of the grain from which it started. At this stage the gluten and mucilage have mostly disappeared, and if the germination were allowed to proceed further the leaf would start, and the saccharine matter developed in the process would be destroyed by the growth of the plant, to the ruin of the grain for malting purposes: Great care is necessary to suspend the germination at the proper time. At the completion of this stage the grain is removed to the kiln, which is frequently prepared with a zine or tin floor, perforated with many holes. The grain is spread two or three inches thick, and subjected to a heat gradually rising from 100° to 160°, or even higher. There are two distinct objects in this process: first, to dry the grain; second, to prevent the recurrence of germination by destroying all vitality in the plant. Malting is not performed in hot weather, the temperature selected being usually under 45° Fahrenheit, else the grain would become mouldy. Great changes occur in the chemical constituents of barley after being subjected to this process, as is shown by the following analysis:
|In 100 parts of barley. | || In 100 parts of malt.|
Barley thus malted is converted into beer by a process termed brewing. This,
like malting, consists of several different operations: First. Grinding, or reducing
the malt to a coarse powder. Second. Mashing, or thoroughly stirring the powder in water at a temperature of 160°, with no more water at first than is sufficient
to soak the malt. After an hour, more water is added at a temperature of 194°; this is allowed to remain three or four hours, and is then drawn off; it is merely
a solution of the saccharine matters. Third. Boiling. This is done in large copper vessels, furnished with steam-pipes. In this operation the hops are introduced,
and the boiling of the mixture is continued with frequent stirring. As a general rule, one pound of hops is added to a bushel of malt for the strongest varieties
of beer; for common beer, about one-fourth of that quantity. Fourth. Straining, by passing through a cistern which has a metallic bottom full of holes. It is important that this should be performed very carefully to have a clear, cloudless article. Fifth. Cooling, by exposing in broad shallow cisterns, over which currents of air can pass freely. Sixth. Fermenting. When the liquid is cooled to a
temperature of 56° to 64° it is pumped or conducted into large open vats; the yeast
is added, usually about one gallon to 100 of the wort. In order to prevent the
escape of the carbonic acid, the aroma of the hops, and the alcohol, as also to avoid acetification, it is, when it has reached the proper point, transferred to
large hogsheads; the fermentation goes on, and the froth is allowed to escape
from the bung-hole. The loss is made up by adding fresh supplies of beer.
When the process of fermentation is completed, it is transferred to hogsheads
coated ion with rosin to exclude all air, corked tightly, and put in the cellar,
from where it can be taken for the consumer.
The following is an analysis of some of the best-known European and American beers:
|Pale ale, London||89.85||4.50||5.65|
|Philadelphia lager beer||92.16||4.36||3.40||0.08|
|Reading lager beer.||91.30||4.66||3.76||0.13|
|Walters lager beer.||91.80||4.65||3.44||0.11|
|Bavarian lager beer||90.95||4.70||4.34||0.04|
BEER FROM MALT.
“Beer is a thirst-quenching, refreshing, exhilarating, intoxicating, and slightly
nutritive beverage;” thus writes Dr. Jonathan Periera. Notwithstanding this
high authority, there has been some grave questioning as to its intoxicating and
nutritive qualities. That it is thirst-quenching and refreshing-will not be denied,
as the water which is the menstruum of its active properties is made slightly tonic
by the addition of hops. But learned judges and juries have sagely decided, as
to its intoxicating power, on both sides of the question, in cases arising under
the prohibitory liquor laws of the several States. It almost staggers belief when
the evidence in such cases is read. Enormous quantities, amounting to many
gallons, have been drunk by individuals in the course of a day without any
especial blunting of the intellectual or entanglement of the muscular powers.
Only a short time ago Rev. H. W. Beecher convulsed an audience with laughter in his humorous relation of the vast quantities which persons accustomed to it had consumed without appreciable intoxication. Yet, in like manner, individual instances are not wanting in which impossible potations of whiskey, wine, brandy, and rum have been taken without damage to the brain or the locomotion. But the smallest personal experience will satisfy the observer that beer will intoxicate. It is no argument against the proposition that large quantities can occasionally be drunk with impunity. Isidorus and Orosius give a description of a liquor in use by the Britons and Celtic nations in these words: “The grain is steeped in water and made to germinate, by which its spirits are excited and set
at liberty; it is then dried and ground, after which it is infused in a certain quantity of water, which, being fermented, becomes a pleasant, warming, strengthening, and intoxicating liquor.” Why not? It possesses alcohol; there is nothing in it to counteract the effect of that substance; alcohol will intoxicate;
beer contains alcohol, therefore it will intoxicate. In fact, it is drunk for its
exhilarating and intoxicating effects, and, except as a medicine, as hereinafter
mentioned, for no other purpose. The taste is bitter, and, to the novice, very
far from agreeable, and not many gallons would be consumed for the sake of its
impression on the palate alone. When men drink together in token of social
estimation, beer has the advantage of taking a much larger quantity to produce
its effects than purely alcoholic drinks, and the meeting can be drawn out to a
length proportionate to the degree and measure of their friendship.
Brandy has 53.39 parts of alcohol; rum, 53.68; gin, 57.60; Scotch whiskey, 54.32; claret wine, 15.10; Malaga, 18:94; Hock, 12.08; Tokay, 9.88, &c., &c. To this principle alone all liquors owe their intoxicating qualities. Because, forsooth, beer and ale contain the same principle in less quantity, is it a reason that they will not intoxicate? Some years ago a bitter newspaper war was waged between the Scientific American, which opposed the use of beer, and some physicians and chemists who favored it. It would hardly be profitable to review this controversy; only one fact is mentioned: that one savant claimed that lager beer had nutritive qualities equal to those of milk! In Bavaria it is almost an essential article of diet among the laboring classes, and in many instances it takes the place of animal food. When a gallon a day or more is drunk, little other food than bread will be required to satisfy the appetite. But what then? Next come apoplexies, palsies, and other dangers from disorder of the nervous centres. It is quite unreasonable to suppose that it would conduce to health and longevity to deluge the stomach with a gallon of fluid in order to procure an ounce of nourishment. The stimulation, like that of every other unnatural kind, is but momentary, and is followed invariably by its period of depression. Thence arises a necessity for greater stimulation—greater quantities of the fluid to produce it—and so on, until the depression gains the advantage over it, or until the nervous system is overwhelmed with disease, and death follows. The word “nutrition,” by Pereira, is well and sensibly qualified by the term “slightly.” In Dr. Charles A. Lee’s edition of this author’s work on Food and Diet, there are the following sound ideas: “The practice of taking a moderate quantity of mild malt liquor, of sound quality, at dinner is in general not only unobjectionable, but beneficial. It is especially suited for those who lead an active life, and are engaged in laborious pursuits. For the
sedentary and inactive it is less fitted. * * * * With bilious and dyspeptic individuals it frequently disagrees, and by such, therefore, should be avoided. In plethoric constitutions, especially where there is a tendency to
apoplexy, it is objectionable,” &c., &¢. The opinion of Dr. Benjamin Franklin is well known, but his words will bear repetition in this place. When a journeyman printer in London, he endeavored to convince his fellow-workmen that
if they would eat a penny loaf and drink a pint, of water with it, they would derive more strength from it than from a pint of beer; and in proof of this he states as follows: “On my entrance I worked as first pressman, conceiving that I had need of bodily exercise, to which I had been accustomed in America, I drank nothing but water. The other workmen, to the number of fifty, were great drinkers of beer. I carried occasionally a large form of letters in each hand up and down stairs, while the rest employed both hands to carry one. They were surprised to see, by this and many other examples, that ‘the American aquatic,’ as they used to call me, was stronger than those who drank porter.” Dr, Lee adds that malt liquors are more deleterious in their effects upon the system than ardent spirits. “They certainly stupefy the brain, render the blood too viscid,load the cellular tissue with fat, and so modify the vital cohesion of the solids as to render wounds extremely difficult to heal, and accidents, which in water-drinkers would be attended with little or no danger, very certainly fatal.”
This declaration must be received with some grains of allowance. Intemperance in beer-drinking, like excess of any kind, is undeniably detrimental to health; but a very moderate supply of pure beer will aid digestion, quicken
the powers of life, give elasticity to the tax and mind, and will not induce any of the terrible results above named. In certain forms of dyspepsia it is a valuable adjuvant to other remedies; and in some cases of debility, requiring a mild tonic and gentle stimulant, it has been found a great benefit. But too great care cannot be exercised in even the moderate use of a stimulant, however mild, for the tendency of frequent indulgence is always towards drunkenness. Hence, as soon as their administration as a medicine is no longer demanded by the condition of the patient, its further use had better be abandoned.
There can be no doubt of the general adulteration of all malt liquors. In England and other countries, where heavy penalties are imposed, and an increasing vigilance practiced to detect and punish such frauds, by a system of
inspection of all malt liquors manufactured before exposed to sale, the practice is very common. How much more in this country, where there are no laws on the subject, and no officer to carefully analyze the products of the brewery? Some years ago Professor Mapes, of New York, analyzed the beer from a dozen different, breweries, and all were found adulterated with noxious substances. It is said that the sale of drugs to brewers is a profitable part of the trade. This is perfectly infamous. Cocculus indicus, (fish-berry,) nux vomica, (dog-button, from which strychnine is obtained,) are some of the delectable substances found in beer. These are potent poisons, and the brewer found using them should be drowned at once in one of his own vats. The British Parliament passed a law to prevent this nefarious business. The following is an extract: “No druggist, vendor of or dealer in drugs, or chemist, or any other person, shall sell or deliver to any licensed brewer, dealer in or retailer of beer, knowing them to be such, or shall sell or deliver to any person on account of, or in trust for, any
such brewer, dealer, or retailer, any liquor called by the name of or sold for coloring, from whatever material the same may be made; or any material or preparation other than unground brown malt, for the darkening the color of
worts or beer, or any molasses, vitriol, honey, quassia, cocculus indicus, grains of paradise, Guinea pepper, or opium, or any extract or preparation of molasses, or any article or preparation to be used in worts or beer for or as a substitute for malt or hops; and if any druggist shall offend in any of these particulars, such preparation, &c., shall be forfeited, and may be seized by any officer of excise, and the person so offending shall forfeit five hundred pounds.”
Under this law very many druggists and, brewers were brought to grief, and yet the practice continues. Unless the American public are ready to admit the immaculate purity and innocence of American brewers, they must be content
while drinking their beer, to cherish the belief that they are at the same time puzzling some narcotic poison or damaging medicine. In view of the unprecedented growth of the barley crop, of the great increase of the number of maltsters and brewers, of the vast unknown quantities of beer that are drunk in every city and almost every town on the continent, it is the dictate of sound wisdom,
that the attention of legislators should be called to the subject of the adulteration of our malt liquors, and severe penalties should be inflicted as a preventive.
In the compilation of this brief text I am especially indebted to the “New American Encyclopedia,” the “American Farmer’s Cyclopedia,” “Carson’s Pereira,” “Dr. Lee’s Edition of Pereira’s Food and Diet,” and to the Agricultural Reports of the Patent Office from 1847 to 1860, and, from that date to 1864, to the valuable reports of Hon. Isaac Newton, Commissioner of Agriculture.