In an excellent post on his blog, brewer Tom Cizauskas recently made a compelling case for plain English in beer writing.
Yes, it’s important to preserve the historical terminology; yes, some of the words are just plain fun to use (“spile” is a favourite of ours); and, yes, people who are into this will know what most of them mean.
But often, that rarefied vocabulary is used as a way to lord it over others and to exclude them, just like political jargon or street slang. It’s an obvious sign of the “If I can just stop you there to make a minor correction, young lady” mentality we’ve written about here.
Watching Neil Morrissey and his mate on TV this week as they struggled to understand the brewing instructions from this book really brought this point home — why the hell should anyone who didn’t grow up in the 16th century know what “turbid” means?