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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

Captain Cook to Secretary Stephens

Captain Cook to Secretary Stephens.

Resolution, at Cape of Good Hope, 16 Nov., 1772.


In obedience to their Lordships' directions signified to me by your letter of the 2nd of May last, I have caused several trials to be made of the inspissated juce of malt* by making of it into beer, by mixing from eight parts of water to one of juce to twelve of water to one of juce. The beer made by this last page 109 proportion had a strong taste of the juce, but became sour soon after it was made, owing, I think, to the very hot weather it was brew'd in, which caused to great fermentation. Indeed, all the experiments were made in hot weather, when the thermometer was at 79° or 80, and for that reason unfavourable to the juce. The beer made from it is of a very deep colour, and has rather a burnt taste, but no ways disagreeable, and was very well liked by the people in general. More hops, I apprehend, is necessary, for there remained not the least taste of them. Only one thing more is wanting to render it a valuable and useful article, that is, to hinder it from fermenting, for all the time we were in hot climates, that is, when the thermometer was at 65° and upwards, it was in a continual state of fermentation, in so much that the casks were not able to resist its efforts, and every method we took to stop it proved inefectual. With some care and a good deal of trouble we have preserv'd about half of it, with which I shall make experiments from time to time.

Mr. Pelham, Secretary to the Commissioners of the Victualing [Office], put on board a few jarrs of juce, containing about five pints each, of his own preparing, which promises fair to answer all that is expected from it.

I am, &c.,

Jam's Cook.

* In the General Introduction to his Voyage towards the South Pole (vol. i, p. 32), Cook says:—“For the inspissated juice of wort and beer we were indebted to Mr. Pelham, Secretary to the Commissioners of the Victualling Office. This gentleman, some years ago,” [Cook wrote in 1776] “considered that if the juice of malt, either as beer or wort, was inspissated by evaporation, it was probable this inspissated juice would keep good at sea; and if so a supply of beer might be had at any time by mixing it with water. Mr. Pelham made several experiments, which succeeded so well that the Commissioners caused thirty-one half-barrels of this juice to be prepared, and sent out with our ships for trial—nineteen on board the Resolution, and the remainder on board the Adventure.”