Pakistan, India, Bengal


  1. Achaya KT. 1991, Alcoholic fermentation and its products in ancient India. Indian Journal of History Science 26(2). In ResearchGate
  2. Arora R. K. 1977, Job's-tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) a minor Food and and Fooder Crop of Northeastern India, Economic Botany 31, 358:366.
    • The Garo tribe, on the Burmese border (Myanmar), brews its traditional beer with the seeds of Coix lacrima-jobi.
  3. Arthur John 1974, The Hill of flutes: Life, love, and poetry in tribal India, a portrait of the Santals. London.
    • Rice beer is ubiquitous in social life and myths of this tribe in the state of Bihar (North-Eastern India).
  4. Asboe Walter 1933, Social Functions in Lahul, Kangra District, Panjab, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 63, 189:205.
  5. Batra Lekh, Millner Patricia 1974, Some Asian fermented foods and beverages, and associated fungi. Mycologia Vol. 66, No. 6, 942-950.
  6. Botto Carmen 1995, L'alimentation dans le bouddhisme ancien. In Asie III, Savourer, Goûter, Flora Blanchon (ed.), Presses de l'Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 53:61.
  7. Ch'en Kenneth K. S. 1947, A Study of The Svagata Story in The Divyavadana in Its Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, and Chinese Versions, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 9,  207-314.  
  8. Crowley Mike 1996, When Gods Drank Urine, A Tibetan myth may help solve the riddle of soma, sacred drug of ancient India, Fortean Studies 3.
    • The bold hypotheses are based on the work of Wasson (1968) and Ardussi (1977). But the method is not conclusive: juxtaposition of texts and traditions often separated by thousands of years in history.
  9. Dipak Bhattacharya 1997, The Paippalada-Samhita of the Atharva-veda, vol. 1 (Calcutta: The Asiatic Society).
  10. Falk Harry 1989, "Soma I and II".  Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies Vol. 52 No. 1, 77-90.
    • The nature of Soma, sacred beverage in the Rig-Veda.
  11. Hajicek-Dobberstein S. 1995, Soma siddhas and alchemical enlightenment: psychedelic mushrooms in Buddhist tradition, Journal of Ethnopharmacology 48, 99-118.
  12. Horner I. B. 1940, Book of the Discipline 2.382-386.
  13. Houben J.E.M. 2003, The Soma/Haoma-cult in early Vedism and Zoroastrism, Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies vol. 9.
  14. Huber Ed. 1906, Etudes de littérature bouddhique, BEFEO 6.
  15. Ingalls Daniels 1971, Remarks on Mr. Wasson's Soma. JAOS 91-2.
  16. Kangle R. P. 1972 and later revisions,The Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra, Part II. An English Translation with Critical and Explanatory Notes. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Prvt Ltd, Delhi.
    • Book II chapter 25 is devoted to the Steward of Surā fermented beverages. Other chapters mention the Surā beer and the beer-ferment kiṇva. This is one of the most important sources for understanding the history of brewing in ancient India.
    • See Mauryan Indian Empire and the beer management
  17. Kautilya's Arthashastra, translated in English by R. Shamasastry (1915).
  18. Khanna Vikramaditya S. 2005, The Economic History of the Corporate Form in Ancient India.
  19. Kolhatkar, Madhavi Bhaskar 1985, Sura as medicine in the Sautramani, Bulletin of the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute44, 75–78.
  20. Kolhatkar, Madhavi Bhaskar 1987, The method of preparing Sura according to the Vedic texts, Bulletin of the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute 46, 41–45.
  21. Kolhatkar Madhavi Bhaskar 1999, Sura: The Liquor and the Vedic Sacrifice, Reconstructing Indian History and Culture, no 18. New Delhi.
    • The study of the role and preparation of Sura beer in the Sautramani, a very complex Vedic ritual, according to the ancient Brahmanical texts (sutras). Based on a simple preparation of beer, the author suggests that one of the two forms ot that ritual (namely the Caraka) is the most archaic one. The study details the making of the beer, of the ingredients and its many complex brewing operations, some with a meaning and a usage purely religious.
  22. Korom Frank 1999, 'To be happy': Ritual, play, leisure in the Bengali Dharmaraj puja, International Journal of Hindu Studies 3(2), 113:164.
  23. Mahdihassan S. 1981, Parisrut the earliest distilled Liquor of Vedic Times or of about 1500 BC. Indian Journal of History of Science 16(2), 223-229.
    • The nature of Parisrut (fermented mash) and the mastery of distillation at such an early time are the subject of debate among historians. The belief that distillation took place at such an early date (1500BC) stems from a profound misunderstanding of brewing methods. Brewing with amylolytic ferments involves the fermentation of a semi-solid mass which is then diluted with water and filtered. These operations have been mistaken for distillation. (=> Surā, beer brewing diagrams)
  24. Mahdihassan S. 1984, SOMA as Energizer-cum-Euphoriant, versus SURA, an intoxicant. Ancient Science of Life vol. III-3, 161-168.
  25. Malamoud Charles 1991, Le soma et sa contrepartie. Remarques sur les stupéfiants dans les rites de l'Inde ancienne. In Le Ferment Divin, D. Fournier et S. D'Onofrio (éd.), pp 19-34.
  26. Martel Gabrielle 1965, La culture du riz chez les Santals du Bengale, Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient 52(2), 313:358.
  27. McHugh James 2021, An Unholy Brew. Alcohol in Indian History and Religions, Oxford University Press.
    • A brilliant synthesis on the ancient fermented beverages of India tapping the main textual sources (RgVeda, Rāmāyana, Vedic rituals, medical manuals, Arthashastra, Mānasollāsa, etc). Indian brewing methods are finally set in their Asian technical context. The kiṇva beer ferment is properly analysed. McHugh draws all the consequences and (politely) refutes the distillation hypothesis that obfuscates many articles on Indian fermented drinks. Surā beer rightly holds a prominent place in this historical account. A must-read study.
  28. McHugh James 2021, The Ancient Indian Alcoholic Drink Called Surā: Vedic Evidence, - Journal of the American Oriental Society 141.1.
    • A detailed study on brewing the surā beer according to the Baudhāyana Śrauta Sūtra and the Āpastamba Śrauta Sūtra already studied by Kolhatkar in 1999 (Surā: The Liquor and the Vedic Sacrifice). See also Marianne Oort 2002 for the Paippalada Samhita de l'Atharvaveda. McHugh delves into the technical aspects of brewing methods and places them in the wider context of Asian (Indian, Chinese, Japanese) technologies to draw out the full historical implications of the amylolytic ferment technology. This detailed study feeds into a chapter of his book "An Unholy Brew. Alcohol in Indian History and Religions" published the same year.
    • See beer brewing diagrams for surā beer according to the same texts (Beer-Studies, article 2012 and technical diagrams 2016).
  29. Needham Rodney 1958, A Structural Analysis of Purum Society, American Anthropologist 60 (1), 75:101.
    • The Purum peoples live at the Indo-Burmese border. Rice beer plays a central role in their social life, as in that of Sandals and other peoples of the region.
  30. Olivelle Patrick 2013, King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India : Kautilya's Arthasàstra, A New Annotated Translation.
  31. Oort Marianne S. 2002, Sura in the Paippalada Samhita of the Atharvaveda. Journal of the American Oriental Society 122(2), 355-360.
  32. Piovano Irma 1995, Les aliments et les boissons dans le Ramayana. In Asie III, Savourer, Goûter, Flora Blanchon (ed.), Presses de l'Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 41:51.
  33. Prakash Om 1961, Food and Drinks in Ancient India (from earliest times to c.1200 A.D.), Munshi Ram Manohar Lal,Delhi.
  34. Raman Regmi Delhi 1940, The control of liquor in ancient India, New Review n° 5, Calcutta
  35. Ravi Varma 1950, Alcoholism in Ayurveda, Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 11 : 484-491.
  36. Ray J. C. 1906, On the Hindu Methods of Manufacturing Spirits from Rice, and its Scientific Explanation. Journal & Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal vol. II-4, 129-142.
    • Distillation first involves to brew a rice beer. The British has described in the late 19th century the brewing methods of the Indian subcontinent, here in Bengal, including the synchronous triggering of the amylolysis-fermentation processes. This historic document seeks to elucidate these biochemical mechanisms, at a time when Western science is just beginning to elucidate the enzymatic reactions.
  37. Roy Mira 1997, Fermentation technology, In Bag, History of Technology of India, New Delhi: The Indian National Science Academy, pp. 437-447.
    • A short article on fermentation techniques in India, attempting a comparison with ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia (alas based on Forbes (1965), out of date). Important role of lactic and acetic fermentations. The grain-based drink-surā is for good referred to as "beer".
  38. Sharma H. K., Tripathi B. M., Pelto P. J. 2010, The Evolution of Alcohol Use in India". AIDS Behavior 14, 8-17.
    • A worth reading historical survey.
  39. Stern Theodore 1957,Resin-Glazed Pottery in the Chin Hills, Burma, American Anthropologist 59(4), 711:712.
    • A note of 1954 on the manufacture of jars for beer and water in the village of Lente (West Burma).
  40. Strabon, Geographie, Livre XV. Chap. 1 § 35-36 (Pataliputra), § 53-56 (boissons et nourriture des Indiens).
  41. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, The Patimokkha Training Rules Translated and Explained.
  42. Wasson R. Gordon 1968, Soma : Divine mushroom of immortality.
  43. Wasson R. Gordon 1971, The Soma of the Rig Veda: What Was It? Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 91, No. 2, 169-187.
  44. Rahurkar V. G. 1974, The Use and Control of Liquor in Ancient India. Vishveshvaranand Indological Journal 12 1-2, 286-300.



Ladakh, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim


  1. Ardussi J. A. 1977, Brewing and Drinking the Beer of Enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism: the Doha Tradition in Tibet, Journal of the American Oriental Society 97(2), 115:124.
  2. Bon-drong-pa 1993. The Dispute Between Tea and Chang. Trans. by A. Fedotov and Acharya Sangya T. Naga. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala.
  3. Brauen M. 1980, Feste in Ladakh (Graz, Akademische Druck-u. Verlaganstalt).
  4. Dollfus Pascale 1985, Les fastes de la modestie : Chang, la bière d'alliance, L'Univers du vivant 5, 73-79.
    • Processes of brewing barley beer in Ladakh, with identification of technical terms. Two different methods, concurrent or joint in practice, are used to brew the chang-beer : the malting (glum = malt) and the making of amylolytic ferments (phabs). The author then describes the social events for which chang plays an important role : agricultural calendar, marriage, village festivals, hospitality to travelers and guests, negotiations between families, and so on. (republished in Cahiers de Sociologie Economique et Culturelle, Ethnopsychologie 12 (1989), 81:89).
  5. Dollfus Pascale 1991, Peintures tibétaines de la vie de Mi-la-ras-pa, Arts asiatiques 46, 50:71.
  6. Dollfus Pascale 1999, Phu mkhar rdzong, un lieu de pèlerinage au Ladakh, Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient 86, 33:64.
  7. Dollfus Pascale 2003, The Seven Rongtsan Brothers in Ladakh, Étudesmongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines [En ligne], 376-406. 
  8. Jest Corneille 1975. Dolpo. Communautés de langue tibétaine du Népal. CNRS, Paris.
    • C. Jest was a pioneer ethnologist in the study of Dolpo, highlanders living on the border between Nepal and Tibet. His descriptions of the agricultural cycle, food preparation, and brewing of barley beer are accurate and valuable.
  9. Kunwor R. R. 1984, Nepalese society: Liquor and culture, Ancient Nepal (J. Dept Archaeology) 81, 1:31.
  10. Macdonald A. W. 1967, Matériaux pour l'Etude de la Littérature Populaire Tibétaine vol. I, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris.
    • Translation of the "twenty-five tales of the Vetala", whose first versions back to the 12th century.
  11. Mangeot Catherine 1996, L'orge au Ladakh, transformation et traitement culinaire. In Cuisines, Reflets des Sociétés, Marie Claire Bataille-Benguigui & Françoise Cousin, 127:144.
    • The beer-Chang of barley. Details on the preparation of amylolytic ferment (phaps). See Pascale Dolfus 1975.
  12. March Kathryn S. 1987, Hospitality, Women, and the Efficacity of Beer, Food and Foodways 1, 351:387.
    • The barley beer brewed by women ensures and strengthens social bonds among Tamang and Sherpa peoples of Nepal. In appendix, the transcript of a long "Song of Ferment Beer" sung by a shyeponpo (a bard) in September 1976.
  13. Metz John 1989, A Framework for Classifying Production Types of Nepal, Human Ecology 17(2), 147:176.
    • The diversity of crops and legumes according to the nepalese geographical constraints: barley, wheat, millet, finger millet, rice, corn, beans. All these grains serve or have served in past to make beer in Nepal.
  14. Miller Robert and Beatrice 1956, On Two Bhutanese New Year's Celebrations, American Anthropologist 58(1), 179:183.
  15. Obadia Lionel 204, « No King, No drink, Power to the People », Socio-anthropologie 15 [En ligne]
  16. Ortner Sherry B. 1973,Sherpa Purity, American Anthropologist 75(1), 49:63.
  17. Sagant Philippe 1973, Les travaux et les jours dans un village du Népal oriental, Objets et Mondes 13(4), 247:272.
  18. Sprigg R. K. 1983,Hooker's Expenses in Sikkim: An Early Lepcha Text, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 46(2), 305:325.
    • The botanist Joseph Hooker explores Sikkim from 1847 to 1851. This is the diary of his travel expenses. Among them, a lot of Murwa-beer for him and his Lepcha guide drunk at all steps on their travel.
  19. Steinmann Brigitte 1987, La cérémonie funéraire chez les Tamang de l'Est, Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient 76, 217:280.
  20. Tamang Jyoti Prakash, Thapa S., Tamang N., Rai B. 1996, Indigeneous Fermented foods beverages of Darjeeling Hills and Sikkim: process and product characterization, Journal of Hill Research 9(2), 401:411.
  21. Tamang Jyoti Prakash 2003, Indigeneous Fermented foods of the Himalayas: Microbiology and Food Safety. In The First International Symposium and Workshop on “Insight into the World of Indigenous Fermented Foods for Technology Development and Food Safety” held in Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, August 2003, I-13.
    • The ethnic groups from India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet are used to brew a great variety of beers made ??from millet, rice, and corn. Each time, molds, yeasts and lactic acid bacteria contribute to the saccharification, and the alcoholic or lactic fermentation.
  22. Toffin Gérard 1977, Pyangon, une communauté néwar de la vallée de Kathmandou; la vie matérielle, Cahier Népalais.
  23. Toffin Gérard 1978, L'Organisation sociale et religieuse d'une communauté newar (Népal), L'Homme 18(1-2), 109:134.
  24. Toffin Gérard 1981, L'Organisation sociale des Pahari (ou Pahi), population du Centre Népal, L'Homme 21(2), 39:68.
  25. Toffin Gérard 1987, La fabrication de la bière chez deux ethnies tibéto-birmanes du Népal : les Tamang et les Néwar. In De la voûte céleste au terroir, du jardin au foyer, B. Koechlin, F. Sigaut, J. Thomas, G. Toffin (eds), 455:468.
    • Inventory of many beers, technical processes, and worthy notations of some ratios of brewing ingredients.
  26. Voyages dans les Marches Tibétaines 1989, Catalogue d'exposition du Musée de l'Homme (P. Dolfus, C. Jemmet), Paris.
    • Pictures of brewing jars and beer pots in the museum collections. Mission Guibaut- Liotard 1936.
  27. Wilkes H. G. 1968, Interesting Beverages of the Eastern Himalayas, Economic Botany 22(4), 347:353.
    • Tea and beer-chang of Tibetans, Lepchas, Bhutanese, and Gurkhas on the border between Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim.


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22/05/2020  Christian Berger