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2806.  Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:54 pm Reply with quote

Not that I know much about beer, but I turned up this rather nice incident while googling for something else today:

The London Beer Flood of 1814

In central London stood the Meux and Company Brewery. The beer building contained a large wooden vat twenty foot high. And the vat contained 3,555 barrels of strong beer. The ale had been there for ten months, but the vat was there a lot longer and it was showing signs of fatigue. On October 16, one of the twenty-nine metal hoops wrapped around it snapped; then another, then... An explosive sound was heard that carried as far as five miles away.

The beer exploded in all directions, breaking open other vats. The pressure of 8,500 of barrels of ale smashed through a twenty-five foot high brick wall and escaped outside into St. Giles; a crowded slum area where whole families lived in single rooms, cellars or attics.

A small sea of beer crashed into nearby houses, flooded basements, and demolished two homes. A wave of ale ploughed through a stone wall in the nearby Tavistock Arms pub and buried a barmaid for three hours. In one home the beer busted in and drowned a mother and her three year old son.

The luckier people dashed to higher areas in their homes; tables or stairs. Or higher areas outside their homes; roofs or trees. Back at the brewery one employee managed to save his brother from going under.

People who waded knee-deep in beer scooped some up in their pots while others lapped it up in their hands. When news of the flood spread other Londoners rushed to get their share, while the brewery owners rushed to get their assess of the damage. Meanwhile, people who were trapped beneath rubble cried out for help. When the drinkers came to their senses they set out to help them.

The rescued were taken to a local hospital where a riot almost broke out. The patients smelled the beer and thought they were being left out of a hospital party. They calmed down after the staff told them what really happened.

Relatives of some of the people who drowned had their corpses displayed in their homes and exhibited to the crowd for a fee. In one house too many people crowded into a room and the floor gave out. They plunged into a cellar half full of beer. The exhibitioners then moved to a new house. They attracted more customers but they also attracted the police, who shut them down.

The funerals were paid for by people who left coins on coffins that were lined up in a yard. For weeks afterwards the neighbourhood stank of beer and the primitive pumps of the day could not get rid of all the ale.

Most of the victims were poor people who lost their lives or lost everything but their lives. The brewery was brought to court but the judge and jury blamed no one. They found that the eight people who died "Died by casualty". In other words, it was an 'Act of God'.


Source: Camden Archives. London, England.

2847.  Fri Dec 05, 2003 5:10 pm Reply with quote

Appropriate to compare a similar sticky end in the great Jan 1919 Boston Molasses Flood which drowned 21 people?


2849.  Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:56 pm Reply with quote

Linked to that one from the page you found, Bob, is an account of a second Molasses Disaster on

This second disaster took place in 1932 at Sucarnoochee, Mississippi, coincidentally killing exactly the same number of people.

I have to say that I laughed in a very unkind fashion when I read on this account that the first person to be killed in this disaster was a shoe-shine boy called T R Eakle.

2865.  Sat Dec 06, 2003 12:56 pm Reply with quote

Courtesy of Hans on the other thread, this one fits well here - post 2862

2881.  Sun Dec 07, 2003 10:50 am Reply with quote


Frederick The Monk
2882.  Sun Dec 07, 2003 12:40 pm Reply with quote

Ah, beer - eases the pain.........

My favourite Egyptian quote happens to concern beer and dates from the end of the Middle Kingdom (around 2200 BC)

The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer.

Kirin were not the first brewer to try to make Egyptian-style beer. Scottish and Newcastle brewery made an Egyptian ale in 1990 using information supplied by the Egypt Exploration Fund who analysed a beer residue from the New Kingdom (mid second milennia BC). This residue had been found by Barry Kemp in a brewery housed inside the Sun Temple of Nefertiti at Amarna. It was only made as a limited edition and sold at Harrods for £50 a bottle. Should you wish to try this at home, and think £50 is a trifle steep for a beer, could I suggest you have a go at making it yourselves with the help of this handy recipe:

For more on this see:

2891.  Sun Dec 07, 2003 2:03 pm Reply with quote

Beer is, of course, good for you (pity I don't like the stuff).

A study presented in December 2000 confirmed that beer is rich in antioxidants, especially darker brews.
Dr. Joe Vinson and colleagues from the University of Scranton, Penn., found that beer prevented the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad" cholesterol) and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL, or "very bad" cholesterol), a good thing since oxidation produces harmful, free-radical compounds (metabolites).

A second study, done by Dr. John Trevithick and colleagues at the University of Western Ontario in Canada showed that people who consumed one alcoholic beverage daily reduced their risk of developing cataracts by half, again thanks to antioxidants.

And the research doesn't stop there. In November, 1999, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption (as little as one drink per week) reduces the overall risk of stroke.

And don't forget about vitamins and minerals. Beer contains vitamin B-6, which prevents the build up of homocysteine, a chemical linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease. And Guinness, Ireland's famous stout, is high in iron content. (In fact, in Ireland, Guinness is offered to blood donors and post-operative patients!)

3423.  Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:36 pm Reply with quote

Given that Hell, Patricia and Old Cornelius are beers found respectively in Austria, Uruguay and Jarrow is there a question along the lines:

Where would you find Hell in Austria, a Patricia in Uruguay or Cornelius in Jarrow?
s: LPA
OBS 21.09.03
TTI 20.09.03

3424.  Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:43 pm Reply with quote

Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didnít hurt/And the beer I had for breakfast wasnít bad/So I had one more for dessert.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, Sunday Morning Coming Down

4283.  Tue Jan 13, 2004 6:19 am Reply with quote

I'm not sure how reliable this fact is, as I cannot track down a good source, but apparently in Bavaria, Beer is not an Alcoholic drink, and is instead legally defined as a staple food.


There is a great poem to be read, found inscribed on a Nineteenth-century B.C. tablet, called "The Hymn to Ninkasi" which contains a recipe for Sumerian Beer.
It can be found at the below link.

Sophie J
5337.  Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:14 am Reply with quote

I have been looking everywhere for a source for the fact that the Chinese have a different genetic make-up to Europeans, Australians etc meaning that they can't take their alcohol. This supposedly derives from the fact that in the early middle ages, we used to sterilise water by boiling it and making ale, whereas the Chinese boiled it and made tea. We have subsequently evolved with a gene that gives us a higher alcohol tolerance level that the Chinese don't have. Does anyone else know anything about this?

5339.  Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:42 am Reply with quote

I can't help with a source, but the evolutionary mechanism you propose sounds rather Lamarckian - ie that our ancestors' behaviour caused a mutation in their genes which they then passed on. If you are saying that, I think it means you have to be burnt at the stake (for your own good).

The opposite hypothesis seems more likely: the Chinese tended to get tremendous hangovers, so they drank tea for preference.

5340.  Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:05 am Reply with quote

However, the Tenth Special Report to the U. S. Congress on Alcohol and Health stated:

"Perhaps the single greatest influence on the scope and direction of alcohol research has been the finding that a portion of the vulnerability to alcoholism is genetic. Approximately 50-60 percent of the risk for developing alcoholism is genetic."

Studies leading to this conclusion are discussed in the report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000b) - maybe you could find something there.

Last edited by Flash on Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:54 am; edited 1 time in total

5341.  Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:52 am Reply with quote

It seems to be a bit of an open question in scientific circles:
Genetic and other determinants of alcoholism in population isolates including American Indian communities and Finland are being investigated. Evidence was found for two potential alcoholism-vulnerability genes in an Indian tribe with a high rate of alcoholism.

NIAAA sponsors a project that teams established U.S. investigators with their foreign counterparts to develop new alcohol research activities that serve as the foundation for the development of more intensive, larger studies. This program includes projects that are ... identifying genes influencing predispositions to alcoholism in Ireland; ... and examining aspects of nervous system function that may predispose people to alcoholism in Mautitian youth.

I wonder whether Mautitian is a typo for Mauritian, but this is as in the original.

The full name of the report referenced above is: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 10th Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health. NIH Pub. No. 00-1583. Rockville, MD: Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.

Sophie J
5349.  Thu Jan 29, 2004 12:31 pm Reply with quote

Thank you very much for that Flash - am looking into it (if there's time before my burning).


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