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Old 07-24-2013, 01:44 PM   #11
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But beer and wine are NOT luxuaries in an area where water is bad to drink. If the SHTF, then not only is food scarce, but so is water. (and heating sources). Most of us live off a pumped water system, and thus would be in serious trouble to find clean water.

Yeast in beer and in bread do a bit of B vitamin generation that doesn't happen in the grain. The advantage of beer or wine over bread is that you don't heat it post yeast and destroy any of the low temp nutrients that get created. There is a reason why monks in the middle ages lived off beer, particularly in the winter.

That said, recycling the grain for secondary use (bread, animals, etc) would be a necessity.

to the OP's original question? I'd be in deep trouble. I have no reserves of food, grains, or fruit for making anything.
Making water safe via fermentation is a multi-day process. Having safe drinking water is a requirement within hours. You'll die of dehydration or a water-borne disease while you wait for your beer to be ready.

Besides, having safe drinking water is a simple affair if you boil it.

Lastly, beer is largely lacking in nutrients. Monks lived on beer, but it was part of a fast. The people who say "but it has Vitamin B!" appear to have a poor grasp of nutrition. Yeah its got vitamin B and not much else.

Making beer is a input-and resource-rich process that makes little sense to do if you are fighting to acquire the basics for life. Spending 6 hours to make beer is 6 hours you won't have to harvest food, make potable water, build shelter,etc.


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Old 07-24-2013, 01:51 PM   #12
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To make water potable you need to boil it for a fraction of the time that it takes to make beer and use a fraction of the fuel to do it. When beer/wine was safer was before the idea of waterborn diseases came from bacteria and whatnot. We now know better.



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Old 07-24-2013, 01:51 PM   #13
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I agree with the above posts....if that scenario occurred; you probably would be making flour with that barley for food instead of mashing is to make beer.

Luxuries like alcohol are a mark that a civilization has sorted itself out a bit.
Except that beer was a staple because colonies did not have clean water to drink. Amidst the apaocolypse, are you gonna trust your tap?
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:54 PM   #14
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To make water potable you need to boil it for a fraction of the time that it takes to make beer and use a fraction of the fuel to do it. When beer/wine was safer was before the idea of waterborn diseases came from bacteria and whatnot. We now know better.
True. But kept potable water also spoils faster than a kept beer.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:06 PM   #15
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Except that beer was a staple because colonies did not have clean water to drink. Amidst the apaocolypse, are you gonna trust your tap?
They drank beer because they figured out through trial and error then didn't get sick drinking beer than drinking non-potable water. They didn't know about that water-borne microbes that caused disease, and that they could be killed by boiling. This was before any understanding of microbiology. The prevailing theory at the time was that rotting meat spontaneous generated maggot larvae....

Had they known boiling effectively sterilized water, they would have done that, doncha think?

I would trust my tap since I'm on a well (the good question is how I would bring the water up). I wouldn't trust a municipal supply, but I wouldn't go out of my way to make beer out of it when I could boil for 15 minutes. Talk about a waste of very precious time.

As an aside, I love the SHTF scenario discussions where certain inconvenience facts/issues are ignored so that the we can convince ourselves that we would still be able to exist at a certain standard of living (like holding on to the ability to make beer).
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:08 PM   #16
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True. But kept potable water also spoils faster than a kept beer.
That's debatable. Again, the resources needed to make beer are MUCH HIGHER than the resources necessary to make water potable.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:16 PM   #17
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They drank beer because they figured out through trial and error then didn't get sick drinking beer than drinking non-potable water. They didn't know about that water-borne microbes that caused disease, and that they could be killed by boiling. This was before any understanding of microbiology. The prevailing theory at the time was that rotting meat spontaneous generated maggot larvae....

Had they known boiling effectively sterilized water, they would have done that, doncha think?
I do not think it was entirely about potability as much as it was about preservation. Yes, in dire straights potable water is more important than beer but in a scenario where people are stable enough to grow crops of barley and raise animals for slaughter, the preservationist aspect of beer outweights that of water from a stockpile standpoint.

Of course, these days we have the ability to produce potable water and put it in containers for long term storage but those are resource heavy processes.

A wooden barrel of beer would be a LOT easier to produce and keep for long term than would a container of water without chemical or processed sterilization.

Of course, the age old question really is, depite the beer being microbiologically safer to drink ... would it be worth it.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #18
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That's debatable. Again, the resources needed to make beer are MUCH HIGHER than the resources necessary to make water potable.
And teh resources aren't much of an issue when you have a settlement with crops.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:49 PM   #19
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Making water safe via fermentation is a multi-day process. Having safe drinking water is a requirement within hours. You'll die of dehydration or a water-borne disease while you wait for your beer to be ready.

Besides, having safe drinking water is a simple affair if you boil it.

Lastly, beer is largely lacking in nutrients. Monks lived on beer, but it was part of a fast. The people who say "but it has Vitamin B!" appear to have a poor grasp of nutrition. Yeah its got vitamin B and not much else.

Making beer is a input-and resource-rich process that makes little sense to do if you are fighting to acquire the basics for life. Spending 6 hours to make beer is 6 hours you won't have to harvest food, make potable water, build shelter,etc.
you have some valid point. We are talking about the short, mid and long range. Long range, you make beer, because if you made it that far, 99% of everyone else has died, an you are on the way out of the calamity (centuries perhaps back to 2013 standards, but still).

Short times(days weeks?), water is probably a better bet. Mid range, however, actaully wines and meads are better bets, because you can't boil. Where is your propane... "I'll use wood" sure you and everone else. In 1700's Franklin invented his more efficent stove in large part because people around Phillidophia PA had to walk more than a day to get fire wood. When you spend your entire day gathering wood, when do you have time to boil the water? That situation of scarce fuel will be coming quickly with a SHTF situation.

Also beer stores better than both grain and water. Grains are more likely to get infested with vermin(insect or mamamals), or with water leakage. This is another reason why beer was made in the middle ages, it was a better way of keeping grains than actual stores. How much vermin and water will be a problem in 20xx is a question, but it should be considered.

As for the B vitamins, the deal there is that you need a source of them, and beer is one of the best (better than bread). Is it the best when other considerations, time, calories, etc? That I'm not sure, and using grain for flour might be a better deal. Again, part of that is the 'time scale'
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:51 PM   #20
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My club did a grocery store contest a few months ago. You could only buy ingredients from the local super market.

Everyone was super excited for this contest and most participated. I would like to say the results were great....but they weren't. Only 1 person made something that was drinkable. The rest of us ended up with swill.

Awesome idea! Yeah I'm sure most of it was swill but when folks are desperate they will drink anything. I also wouldn't mind knowing what was in the one that drinkable.

I agree with food and safe water being priorities. But if you've made it through the worst of it or live in the boonies like some of us do, wouldn't you at some point want to give it a shot?

Also, grain storage these days is a lot easier than it used to be. The same food safe buckets we use for fermentation and bottling can be used to safely store unmilled grains for years.

Boiling the wort would be an issue for those lacking in wood. I myself...my property backs up to huge tracks of forest. I would be set for a bit anyway. Yes it would be a lot of work to make beer over a fire but not impossible. I have used the wood stove in my house numerous times to boil water and make dinner ( we lose power in the winter sometimes).

Again, it would be labor intensive to make and it wouldn't be the first thing on my mind but, I think eventually I would give it a shot.


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