Beer made with . . . treacle???

I enjoy a good beer now and then, but this ancient recipe has me a bit puzzled.

An 1825 formula for brewing beer using treacle – which was lost for centuries but has been rediscovered among historic documents – could deliver ale at 11p [about 17½ US cents] a pint for drinkers.

But whilst people may take more than a little interest in such a cheap pint, they will have to stomach the strange ingredients.

The secret recipe was discovered in a notebook kept by 19th century handyman Thomas Denton who was determined not to pay pub prices for his favourite tipple of London Porter.

. . .

After adding a peck of barley, 4oz of hops, 7lbs of the special ingredient treacle and the boiling of several gallons of water, the home brewer is promised a strong dark beer as good as anything he could get in the pub.

The total cost for his 72 pints would have been a knockdown three shillings and three pence – about £8.05 [US $12.76] in today’s money, or 11p a pint.

But Sam Bartle, collections officer for East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service, warned no one knows how strong it will be.

He added: ‘The instructions are quite simple but anyone wanting to try out the recipe would have to do so at their own risk.

‘Following the recipe would produce a huge amount of beer, 72 pints, and it actually recommends a nine gallon cask for brewing.

‘For it to be tried in most modern homes it would probably require some scaling down of the quantities.’

. . .

Experts say adding treacle as the special ingredient may have been to darken it or make it taste sweeter.

There’s more at the link. For those home-brewers (helloooo, Atomic Nerds?) who’d like to try their hand at producing it, the recipe is also provided. (If any of you make it, dibs on a bottle!)



  1. I have used treacle as a flavouring ingredient in heavy (dark) ale for many years; it's an old trick well used in the home-brew fraternity.
    But a brew in which the primary ingredient is treacle? That could be… interesting…. 🙂
    ./starts sourcing industrial quantities of treacle/

    Thank you!

  2. Bryn, that peck of barley weighs in at 12 pounds.
    The final strength of the brew should be calculable but my brain just wore out.

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