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I was researching Horehound Beer recipes on (the old newspaper website) Trove. I found the name of an ingredient - perhaps a herb, that I did not know: "Capaicine".

As best as I can read, this recipe is:

HOREHOUND BEER

Ingredients are: 4-lb. horehound herb, 18-lb. sugar, 1½-lb. licorice extract, 1½-lb. treacle, 4-oz. quassia chips, 10-oz. crushed ginger, 2-oz. coriander seeds, 2-oz. capaicine, 4-oz. caramel, 2-oz. tartaric acid, ¼-pint brewer's yeast. Suspend the horehound, ginger, coriander and quassia in a muslin bag in a copper and boil in about 15 gallons of water for half-an-hour, Add sugar and than other ingredients. Strain off into fermenting vat, Strain sufficient water through herbs to bring up to 24-gallons. When at 80-deg. F. break up yeast in a basin of brew and stir into the bulk. Allow to ferment for about 24 hours, skim off top and filter. Fine down with one pint ale finings.

NOTE: Australia used imperial measurements until 1966.

As stated, I am unable to identify the ingredient "capaicine". I don't think it's misspelling of "capsaicin". I wondered for a while if it was maybe a misspelling of "cinnamonmum", but have since given up on this idea.

I could of course, be reading the old newsprint incorrectly.

NOTE: This particular beverage must be delicious, since it is to be made in ~100 litre batches.

Bonus question: Is the "caramel" referred to, a browned sugar-syrup (perhaps made from condensed milk) or a colourant? A lot of recipes add "burnt sugar" for colour.

  • I think you've misread the spelling... that looks like "capsicine", not "capaicine". (Of course, that would still make it a typo.) – Sneftel Sep 19 at 8:32
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I suspect that the word intended was "capsicum". 2 ounces of chili pepper would be reasonable given the amounts of other spices. 2 ounces of capsaicin would be difficult to source and would make the beer essentially inedible.

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I would vote for a spelling error, and that capaicine is actually capsaicin. I can't find any reference for the original spelling. I have never consumed horehound beer, but it seems to me that, in looking at the ingredients, a little spice-heat would make sense. Think of the spiciness you get in the back of your throat when drinking ginger ale. I would say caramel is a color additive. It is not uncommon for sodas to have caramel color added. I'm no expert on 1940's beverages, so I would be happy to be corrected.

Edit: Thanks, @Sneftel....Your reasoning is more sound than mine...I would also go with "capsicum", as opposed to "capsaicin" (upvoted!). This also aligns with the comment below about a reference to chili peppers, though I have not specifically come across that.

In the end, if you interested in recreating this recipe, I bet you could zero in on the level of spiciness by experimenting with chili flakes. Maybe not 2 ounces at once, but a little at a time until the desired effect was achieved.

  • While your reasoning is sound, I'm wondering if capsaicin would be a readily-available ingredient in 1946? (EDIT: found and advertisement for capsaicin capsules from 1867). – Kingsley Sep 19 at 2:21
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    2 ounces of capsaicin in 24 gallons of water would make pepper spray, not beer. – Sneftel Sep 19 at 8:29
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    capaicin is an old way to refer to chili peppers, particularly cayenne. It is NOT the active ingredient capsaicin. (Google thinks the same way and always go "did you mean...") – Juliana Karasawa Souza Sep 19 at 8:36
  • I definitely agree with using chili flakes. You'll get more consistent control of heat level than with fresh peppers, which vary between producers and throughout the year. – Sneftel Sep 19 at 12:58

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