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Brasenose Ale


Hot beer with nutmeg, cloves and apple pieces, a form of Lamb's Wool. Consumed on Shrove Tuesday at Brasenose College, Oxford, with the college butler reading out student's verses in praise of the ale. Disgracefully, the college's own brewhouse was demolished in 1889, since when the beer has had to be bought-in.

See Audit Ale

"Bacon-faced Fellows of Brazen-Nose Broke Loose"
Engraving after Rowlandson, 1811

ALL ye, who round the butt'ry hatch,
Eager await the opening latch,
Our barrels to assail ;
Come, listen, while, in pleasing gibe.
The rare ingredients I describe.
Which float in Brase Nose Ale.

Guiltless alike of malt and hop,
Our butt'ry is a druggist's shop.
Where Quassia's draughts prevail;
Alum the muddy liquor clears.
And mimic wormwood's bitter tears
Compose our Brase Nose Ale.

Bemoaning the decline of 'home brewed', the 'St James's Gazette' on Monday 15 September 1890 had; "Colleges at the universities brewed their own ale for academic consumption, and took a pride in the celebrity their individual "special brew." Brasenose ale has been official subject for annual poetry by some member of that college whenever Shrove Tuesday comes round, and the various effusions of undergraduate versifiers are compiled and printed for privileged sale and circulation. Trinity (Cambridge) “audit” ale, Merton “archdeacon,” etc., have time-honoured repute ; and each year’s brew used to be tabulated and cherished for sale, at prices enhanced with age, retired members of such colleges, who could effect a deal at the buttery for a few bottles of the venerated and venerable tap."

Brasenose Ale Poems Collection of 1878

For other Shrove Tuesday traditions, see:
Doughnuts - Ring form
Grey Peas (and Bacon)
Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday
Monday Collop

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