Sunday, 26 August 2012

The horrors of Horst

I'm continuing to read the Oxford Companion to Beer (OCB) and am now on to the letter B. It's been carrying on in the same vein as the letter A, some bits well written, some not so well written and now I've got to "barrel" I can clearly say some complete drivel.

The entry starts "barrel, a container made from wooden staves". This is simply wrong. A barrel is a 36 gallon cask and the only ones I've seen in use (at Hook Norton brewery) were made of metal. Only someone who knows nothing about barrels would say they're only made from wood. "Who is this idiot?" I thought and flicked to the end of the entry, and there it was, the infamous name Horst Dornbusch. I've seen Ron Pattinson pointing out the many, many errors in Horst Dornbusch's writings but this was the first time I'd experienced the full horrors of Horst myself.

The entry doesn't get any better and is full of misunderstood and sloppily written nonsense. It really looks like he wrote it off the top of his head based on something he read years ago, didn't really understand, and only vaguely remembers. The only reference to the entry is a link to the Society for the Preservation of Beer from the Wood but he even here he manages to drop another clanger saying "their aims being exactly as described". In fact if he'd bothered to click on the link to their aims he'd have seen they are not in fact described exactly by their name, being in reality very similar to CAMRA's.

As I said before I've mainly been enjoying reading the OCB but it had me banging my fist last night, which is not something I do lightly.


  1. Is it not wrong just simply referring to barrels for barrel ageing? Which should be two entries.

  2. The SPBW tend to get taken at face-value quite often. They've got quite a complex (slightly tongue in cheek) view of things and have done since their founding. That's one reason they weren't as successful as CAMRA, in my view -- too complicated a message to sell, even if they could have been bothered to sell it.

  3. There is a separate and lengthy barrel ageing entry.

    I've never met anyone from the SPBW but it's interesting they're still going, similar but separate from CAMRA.