Saturday, August 22, 2009

George Washington - Beerthusiast

The Father of Our Country loved his beer.  English–style porter was George Washington’s drink of choice and whenever he could he would seek out the product of Robert Hare, a brewer in Philadelphia who was one of the first to make porter in the U.S.   Washington was no stranger to homebrew either and this recipe from a personal notebook he kept will make 30 gallons of ale, enough for a large household like Mount Vernon.

"Take a large Sifter full of Bran, Hops to your Taste---Boil these 3 hours.  Then strain out 30 Gallons into a Cooler put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler. Strain the Beer on it while boiling hot let this stand til it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold cover it over with a Blanket. Let it work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask. leave the Bung open til it is almost done working---Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed."

"To Make Small Beer” is the title of this recipe.  Small beer” is normally brew made from the second runnings through the mash for strong ale and the beer that is created has very little alcohol (about 3%).  However, a note on the NPR website says that the above recipe produces a beer with an alcohol content of about 11 %.  If this was George’s “small beer” then consumption of his “large beer” must have somehow disrupted space-time for its imbiber. Compare that ABV to a popular modern American brew, say Sam Adams Boston Lager at 4.9%, and you realize that “Town Destroyer”, as the Iroquois nicknamed Washington, wasn’t effin around.   In fact, I think he might have been trying to kill himself and the people around him.

So if you try this recipe use caution (or just less molasses) and for God’s sake send us pictures of the aftermath.

Image by cliff1066 

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