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Old 10-28-2009, 02:19 AM   #1
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Default Nice article on Thomas Jefferson (and wife) as brewers - late 18th/early 19th century

I like the part where he criticizes the current brewers of the time as having weak beer:

Jefferson advocated using a bushel of malt for every eight or ten gallons of strong beer, noting that "public breweries" produce fifteen gallons from every bushel, which "makes their liquor meager and often vapid."

http://wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/Beer

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Old 10-28-2009, 04:08 AM   #2
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34lbs malted barley per bushel. I like where TomJeff is going with this

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Old 10-28-2009, 04:22 AM   #3
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I know i read that a bushel of barley was 48 pounds...for 10 gallons of water. That sounds like youre maximizing your solubility of water with that amount of malt. On a lighter note, I heard T.J. put a pound of hops in every pint and he used to sit around the house with G.W. and Martha and talk about the old times when their grandads "really" new how to make beer.

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Old 10-28-2009, 04:27 AM   #4
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'Malted' barley is 34lbs, but I'm guessing TJ was using imperial measurements, so it may have been more. We'd have to ask an agricultural historian. If he's saying 8-10 gallons per bushel, let's say the average being 9 gallons...which is approx 4 lbs per gallon...in beer calculus that's a 10.8% beer. If a bushel 200+ years ago was somewhere between 34-48 lbs, then he'd be making a barley wine, which wouldn't be too far fetched considering he had a vineyard and wine cellar too. http://wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/Vineyard

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Old 10-28-2009, 04:40 AM   #5
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"...at Monticello three-quarters of a pound of hops were added for every bushel of malt..."

Respectable! I'd have a few with him.

(Side note: If you've never been, try to get there--Monticello is amazing.)

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Old 10-28-2009, 10:04 PM   #6
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This was an excellent read. Thanks

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Old 10-28-2009, 10:14 PM   #7
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From what I understand, their extract efficiency was horrible back then so they were not getting 75% like we are able to do.

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Old 10-28-2009, 10:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conpewter View Post
From what I understand, their extract efficiency was horrible back then so they were not getting 75% like we are able to do.
Yeah, and from the sound of it, none of the process was very exact.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:23 AM   #9
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How crappy would that be though to only brew as seasons permitted? We are pretty fortunate.

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Old 10-29-2009, 01:39 AM   #10
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The degree of modification in the malt would have been considerably less than modern malts - so the potential yield would have to be overcome by sheer volume of malt.

As for hops, they would have likely been low-AA% indigenous varieties; historic recipes make no mention of IBUs, they talk about weight. Further to this, we're talking bittering charges only.

The saccharometer (hydrometer) was invented in 1784, so some measure of repeatability could be accomplished. The brewing text mentioned in the article (Michael Combrune's Theory and Practice of Brewing) was published in 1804; you can view the text in its entirety here.

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