Sunday, August 31, 2008

Prohibition Style Beer "Sneaky Pete" (a.k.a. Alaska Bush Beer)

This is a recipe I pulled from The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible by Leon W. Kania, a fascinating DIY reference for the homebrewer. This book has recipes for wine, beer, liqueur, and whiskey; and it also covers equipment and brewing techniques.

This recipe was handed down to Kania from his grandmother. He admits there are a few flaws, "i.e., no fermentation lock, bottling the murky wort before it clarified, using bakers yeast and not much hops", but it's basic and cheap. "There's probably been more of this beer made in Alaska than any other style. The ingredients are easy to get and when you're packing in several months of provisions to a remote homestead or mine, it can mean the difference between beer or no beer." Indeed, I think many of us are from time to time haunted by visions of remote homesteads with no liquid bread.

So if you're looking for an easy first homebrew experiment, this might be it. Kania says the Blue Ribbon Malt is available in most grocery stores (I haven't done any recon on this yet). Let us know if you make some and if you do send us pics/video and if possible, a sample.

3 Lb. Can Blue Ribbon Malt Syrup (hops flavored)
4 Lb. Cane sugar
5 Gal. Water
1 Pkt. Bakers' yeast

In the biggest pot you can get your hands on, boil and dissolve in a total of 5 gallons of water, the malt and sugar. Put this wort in a primary fermenter (a crock in my younger days) and when it's cool, crumble in a cake of bakers' yeast. When almost all the little bubbles stop, bottle it, adding 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to each bottle.


Matthew said...

ugh, please don't murder beer like that.

Anonymous said...

I personally learned this method from an old timer in Texas. It is a true prohibition style beer. He's been brewing beer this way for years. It consists of 2 cans of Carnation malted milk, or Carnation malt syrup, 4lbs. sugar, 1 to 3 packets of baker's/bread yeast, half a box of unprocessed wheat bran, and hops. An alternative to hops is chamomile flowers, or chamomile tea bags.Or, you can use Celestial Seasonings-Tension Tamer Herbal Tea bags. It contains hops among other herbs. It adds a nice flavor and aroma. Instead of the bread yeast, you could just buy some brewer's top fermenting yeast online. However, I'm just going to stick to the old timer recipe for this. The amount of ingredients for this, is for a 4 to 5 gallon batch. In a 2 gallon pot, bring a gallon or so of water to a boil, and add the malt, sugar, and hops, or, a whole box of herbal tea bags. Continually stir while boiling. I let it come to a boil, then turn the heat down, then, back to boiling. I repeat that over and over for about 20 to 30 mins. The actual wort prep is not supposed to be boiled for that long, but, I find that it allows the ingredients to blend and mix the flavors more thoroughly. Then, after that, I let it cool down until it is just warm. On the side, I have my 5 gallon bucket or glass carboy filled with about 2 and a half gallons of cool water. After it cools down, I filter it through a metal sieve/strainer into another pot, thereby separating the mash from the liquid. Then, I pour the liquid/wort, using a funnel, into the carboy. If you're not strong enough to give the carboy a good shaking to mix the wort with the water already in the carboy, then, use a long plastic spoon or something. After that, I sprinkle the yeast in. I let it set for about 10 mins. Then, I stir it in. Add the airlock, or, if you don't have one, use a 2 to 3 ft. 1", plastic tubing attached to the top of the carboy with duct tape, and, run it down into a large pot full of water, thereby, creating an airlock, the old timer way. Let it ferment for 2 weeks, or, until, it completely stops bubbling, and foaming. When that is done, you have to either bottle it.If you don't have bottles, you can use 2 to 3 liter sanitized, coke bottles to bottle it in. You'll need to have a racking cane, siphon tube, adapter cap, and some more sugar. To learn more about the bottling process, there are many resources online. Otherwise, just use a 3 to 4 ft. 3/8" plastic tubing hose, and siphon it out like you would gas from a car. The amount of sugar to use when bottling 2 liter's, is, 1 and a half tablespoons, per 2 liter. After bottling, let condition for a week, then set in dark, cool, place for another 2 weeks. Itis then ready to drink after that. I usually, let it set for another 2 months after that though. It tends to be more mellow and smooth. There you have it. True prohibition style beer. You can also make wine this way, using grape juice concentrate, abut, 6 to 8 cans, 4 lbs sugar, & yeast, for 4 to 5 gal. batch.

CarBoy Films said...

Hey Anonymous, thanks for this info! It's great. If you come back on and see this please send us your email so we can get in touch. We are looking to interview people who homebrew and it looks like you've got a lot of experience.

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