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Thos Thrale's Purl

Classification: 1800s, purl, historical

Source: Rob Thomas (, HBD Issue #1147, 5/24/93

Someone asked for a recipe for Purl a while ago. Well, after rooting around in my note books I found one copied by a book on brewing in London, by Thomas Threale (aka Thrale) ca. 1800. He was at the time one of the biggest London brewers, with an annual output a little more than Whitbread, so presumably he knew his stuff. I found the book on microfische at the Management Library of UCLA. But that's all I noted down. Anyway, here it is.


Take Roman Wormwood, two dozen,
Gentian root, 6 lb,
Sweetflag root, 2 lb,
Galanga root (galingale?), 1-2 lb,
horseradish, 1 bunch,
Dried orange peel from the Indies (Curacao?), 2 lb,
Juniper berries, 2 lb,
Seville orange seeds, dried, 2 lb,
Cut and bruise all the ingredients, put in a butt,
(capacity 126 US gallons) and top up with pale or
mild ale. Store for one season.


Gentians are protected flowers in Europe;
Sweetflag is a type of Sedge;
Galanga, to the best of my knowledge is galingale,
for which I have as yet to find a source;
The orange peel is almost certainly the Curacao
peel, still used by some Belgian brewers;
The ales appear to be normal in all respects;
I have no idea what 2 dozen of Wormwood refurs
to (bunches, roots?).