In medieval England they got three fermentations from the mash, with the strongest going to the men, the second to the women and the "small beer" of the third - with an alcoholic proof of about 2.5 per cent - to the children, the nuns and the monks. They were not stinting. In some monasteries they were allocated 10 pints of small beer per monk per day. And some of the monks kept the strong stuff back for themselves. As the Middle Ages reached their height selling beer was a key component of many monastic economies.
Monks brewed virtually all beer of good quality until the 12th century. But gradually the home breweries became inns and taverns to provide sustenance for travellers and pilgrims. Brewers were recognised as a guild in England. The adulteration of beer became a capital offence in Scotland. By the 16th century, in Coventry, the average amount of beer and ale consumed was 17 pints per person per week.