London: Printed for T. Astley; and Sold by R. Baldwin, jun. at the Rose in Pater Noster Row, 1750.
Octavo (20 x 12.3 cm.), , 332,  pages. Illustrated with vignettes and initials. Index. In four parts, each with its own title, but with register and pagination continuous. Stated “Sixth Edition, Corrected” on the book title and again on the title for Section III. The preface states the author has “endeavoured to set in sight the many advantages of body and purse that may arise from a due knowledge and management in brewing malt liquors, which are of the greatest importance, as they are in a considerable degree our nourishment and the common diluters of our food.” “Eight editions were published, the first in 1734 and the last in 1759. It is one of the most important beer books ever written, as it describes for the first time the use of scientific process for practices that previously had been solely empirical. It explains the many aspects of the brewing process, such as malting and mashing, in technical detail, and in later editions describes how to make clear beer. For the first time the production of pale, amber, and brown malts is described, including the effect of different types of kiln, fuel, and temperature. The book also confirms that most brewers of the time had stopped using wheat for malt and were almost exclusively using barley… The author says the book is written for the many inhabitants of cities and towns, as well as travelers who have for a long time suffered “great prejudices” from unwholesome and unpleasant beers and ales. This the author blames on bad malts, the under-boiling of wort, the use of “injurious ingredients,” and the lack of skill of many brewers. He also rails at the heavy taxes put on “malt liquor.” (Tim Hampson, Oxford Companion to Beer). While Hampson doesn’t recognize a specific author for this work, it’s long been assumed to be William Ellis (1700-1758) was an English farmer from Little Gaddesden, in Hertfordshire. He was the author of a dozen books, mostly on agriculture, including The Country House Wife's Companion, Modern Husbandman, and The Compleat Cyderman. This 1750 edition contains an advertisement for Ellis’ A Compleat System of Experienced Improvements which follows the preface. Ellis certainly wrote on topics of interest to our “person formerly concerned”, including hops production. But neither Corran nor Matthias make the connection. The case for Ellis’ authorship was finally convincingly made by James Sumner (Brewing Science, Technology & Print, 1700-1880. U. Pittsburgh Press, 2013). In short, he explains that anonimity would have been desirable for someone revealing specific "technical" information on brewing at that moment. ~ Internally clean and sound; small ex-libris stamp of the Industrie und Gewerbeverein in Steiermark. In full brown calf, gilt ruled and compartmented; gilt-titled, red morocco spine label. wear to hinges, and to head and foot of spine, as well as some general rubbing. Still, overall very good. The title for Section III includes a small ink annotation, “Observations on some country Drinks” which corresponds to a short section unrecognized in the table of contents. Previous owner signature to free front endpaper, “L. Vernon Briggs” [Lloyd Vernon Briggs (1863-1941), genealogist, historian, and psychiatrist]. [OCLC locates eighteen copies of this edition; ESTCT 16828; Early English Books tract supplement interim guide 966.h.33[11*]; Noling, page 479; Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic Literature 8504.5-1 suppl.; Sowerby, Cat. of the Library of Thomas Jefferson 1204].