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George Washington Brew

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unionrdr

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I'd like to know what "Bran hops" are.? Saw this on another site,yahoo I think. And just molasses & yeast? IDK...:drunk:
 

cshamilton

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unionrdr said:
I'd like to know what "Bran hops" are.? Saw this on another site,yahoo I think. And just molasses & yeast? IDK...:drunk:
I think the transcription is confusing. It should be read as "...bran. Hops to your taste"
 

unionrdr

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Hmmm...that makes a little more sense,I guess. But what did they call "bran" in their day? Which barley? Or oat bran? It'd have to be something that can stand up to 3gallons of molasses in 30 gallons of "bran" & hops. Like a poor man's porter maybe?:drunk:
 

bernerbrau

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Anyone care to transcribe the rest of that image?

Also, boiled bran + molasses? Sounds like George wasn't an all-grainer.
 

unionrdr

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Small beer has lower alcohol content and was safer to drink than the water back then.
This. It was traditionally made from the 3rd running of the grains. Everyday beer,water & milk weren't safe,even the kids drank it. It was low alcohol,like what we call "N/A".
 

JollyIsTheRoger

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Strong beer was the first runnings, table beer was the second and small beer was the third, and keep in mind they didn't know all the science behind beer back then and sanitation was unheard of so the recipes are gonna be weird to us who know more of what is going on
 

JLW

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I brewed a modern day version of George Washington's beer. After doing the research I found that Yards brewery in Philidelphia was comissioned to recreate this beer. I contacted the brewery and while they couldn;t give me a 5 gallon recipe they were able to provide m with a list of ingredients. Myself and another home brewer put a recipe together based on that list. I brewed this beer on Presidents Day and I am drinking it now. It's a great porter and I am thinking about entering it in a contest. I don;t have the recipe with me at work but when I get home I can post it if anyone is interested.
 

Revvy

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Still wondering what it means by bran though.
Um, it's just what we call malt. Or grain.... It's just what the author who probably wasn't a brewer and simply transcribed what he observed called it. In this case basic good ole fashioned 6-row malted barley. Two row came later in American Cultivation.

Bran is the hard outer layer of grain and consists of combined aleurone and pericarp. Along with germ, it is an integral part of whole grains, and is often produced as a by-product of milling in the production of refined grains. When bran is removed from grains, the grains lose a portion of their nutritional value. Bran is present in and may be milled from any cereal grain, including rice, corn (maize), wheat, oats, barley and millet. Bran should not be confused with chaff, which is coarser scaly material surrounding the grain, but not forming part of the grain itself.
But for all intents and purposes it's just your basic malted barley.

Things weren't as formal back then...

 
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unionrdr

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So,am I to understand that the bran is what's left after the germ is removed? In other words,the part we're using now?
 

Revvy

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So,am I to understand that the bran is what's left after the germ is removed? In other words,the part we're using now?
Don't get all technical and even worry about it. He just used a word. And not one that necessarily we would use today. (Now we talk about eating bran and bran flakes and crap like that) but they weren't as sophisticated and didn't make any distinction. They used the same grain we do, except as Ricks video says, it was kilned a little darker than it is today. Just don't get bogged down in scemantics about the scribe's phrasing in the recipe is.

Heck one of the mead recipes I've come across says to boil your honey for the length of time it takes to cross a farmer's field and back." It's just how they talked/wrote back then. Obviously every person's gait is different and there's no uniformity necessarily in the length of farmer's fields. So it's not going to be all that precise. Like RIck said his boils are timed by how the sun moves across the sky.
 

unionrdr

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Well,I have to wonder,since it was written by GW himself. A highly educated man. Now,whether he understood brewing personally (he did distill his own rye whiskey),is the real question as to it's constituents.
 

Revvy

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Well,I have to wonder,since it was written by GW himself. A highly educated man. Now,whether he understood brewing personally (he did distill his own rye whiskey),is the real question as to it's constituents.
More than likely he had house slaves or women doing the brewing/baking/distilling. If he wrote it (and who really knows if it's his writing) he's just using a term for basic grain.....you're getting hung up on a distinction that more than likely didn't even exist where food science was concerned back then.

And even if they did the work, they weren't professional brewers necessarily- in fact he might have been writing his recipe down for a new slave or cook to make it. Think about the difference between someone who cooks at home, and someone who is a trained chef- we may not necessarily be speaking the same language- I mean how many home cooks know the term "Mise En Place?" (Before food network that is.)

Think about it this way, when we talk about a certain brewing ingredient we call it either Grain of Malt....but we're not talking about two different things are we? Really?

Also, as someone else posted he wasn't exactly clear with the whole "Bran Hops" thing.

I think you all are over thinking this....go read some of the other recipes from that time and earlier in my historical links thread, and you'll see not all of the recipes were all that technical and clear. Heck the prayer to ninkasi is a prime example of this.....
 

Revvy

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What I'm surprised is that noone is asking how much a sifer or sifter is...

Culinary historians say that perhaps Americans measure with objects because colonial homes and Conestoga wagons had plenty of cups and spoons but very few reliable scales. The colonial kitchen was a fireplace with several ovens of varying temperatures depending on how close they were to the flames. One would cook by hanging pots over the fire and moving them around to control the cooking temperature. Each day started from scratch by milking the cow, gathering eggs, and hauling water from the well. A “cup full” literally meant all that a cup would hold.


1 gill = ½ cup

1 teacup = a scant ¾ cup

1 coffee cup = 1 scant cup

1 tumbler = 1 cup

1 pint = 2 cups

1 quart = 4 cups

1 peck = 2 gallons (dry)
SO was this a flour sifter? In a home kitchen that's not a lot....my sifter probably holds a cup whereas a commercial bakery sifter could hold more.

Here's a typical flour sifter



This is a more proffesional bakers 10" sifter-



So how much grain was used?
 

bernerbrau

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What I'm surprised is that noone is asking how much a sifer or sifter is...

<snip/>

So how much grain was used?
Here's an antique grain sifter from the 1700s: http://www.bonanza.com/booths/BARNTIQUES859/items/Antique__wood_grain_sifter

It's a cylinder 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep. That works out to just shy of 5 gallons of grain (about 4.8). 13 pounds of grain is about one gallon according to this, so we're talking about 62.5 pounds of grain, which sounds about right for 30 gallons.

What I don't get is why George doesn't actually mash the grain. Did they just take whatever conversion they could get heating 30 gallons to a boil over a wood or coal fire? Or did he just get his gravity from the 3 gallons of molasses (35.7 pounds!!)?
 

Revvy

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Here's an antique sifter from the 1700s: http://www.bonanza.com/booths/BARNTIQUES859/items/Antique__wood_grain_sifter

It's a cylinder 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep. That works out to just shy of 5 gallons of grain (about 4.8). 13 pounds of grain is about one gallon according to this, so we're talking about 65 pounds of grain, which sounds about right for 30 gallons.

What I don't get is why George doesn't actually mash the grain. Did they just take whatever conversion they could get heating 30 gallons to a boil over a wood or coal fire? Or did he just get his gravity from the 3 gallons of molasses?
That's awesome Berner, thanks for posting it.

I agree, it doesn't sound like he's even doing a cereal mash. Unless because it would possibly take a long time to get up to temp, it's converting somewhat during theperiod leading up to the boil?

Obviously as Rick's demo with the wooden mash tun proved, serious brewers new about mashing grains and using mash tuns.

But that's why I'm so dubious to the truthfulness of the recipe, it seems more a household instruction written for amateurs by an amateur (like granny's recipes) rather than a professional brewer's grainbill.
 

bernerbrau

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Revvy said:
Unless because it would possibly take a long time to get up to temp, it's converting somewhat during the period leading up to the boil?
That's what I was thinking, so I ran the numbers I came up with through Brewmaster's Warehouse. It falls within Robust Porter numbers at 50% efficiency, Brown Porter at 35% efficiency. I could see it getting 35% conversion if it takes at least 30 minutes to get from 140-160. So it's not dissimilar from my first couple attempts at partial mashes :D

And then maybe the 3 hour boil is due to the lack of availability of well-modified malt back then.

Revvy said:
But that's why I'm so dubious to the truthfulness of the recipe, it seems more a household instruction written for amateurs by an amateur (like granny's recipes) rather than a professional brewer's grainbill.
Was George a professional brewer? It seems like a halfway decent partial mash recipe. What I also want to know is what variety of hops and strain of yeast would most likely replicate what was available in North America at the time. I'm thinking EKG and WLP007 or something similarly British.
 

bernerbrau

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Sorry, my numbers above are incorrect. The calculator I was looking at was for how much volume the grains would add to the liquid in a mash tun, which is much less than its dry volume. From this I get about 5.15 pounds per gallon. That's about 24 pounds 12 ounces. Re-running the numbers it seems you can get into Brown Porter range with 50% efficiency. I wonder if they could get that much efficiency from simply heating slowly?

Maybe it's worth the experiment. At 5 gallons that would be:

4 lbs, 2 oz six-row
6 lb molasses
2oz EKG @ 180
WLP007

Just dump the milled six-row in your brew pot, add 6.5 gallons of water, and heat to 170 over very low heat, cranking it up to high after that to get to a boil. Then add the hops, boil 3 hours, strain (maybe use a grain bag), add molasses, cool in open air, transfer, get your gravity reading, and pitch.

Definitely a "small beer", especially if the efficiency with that ghetto mash doesn't turn out well.
 

licenseless

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man i was just getting ready to start asking how much is a large sifter because i was just building a recipe for a 5 gallon batch...

i was just reading up on the history of hops and the average hops back then was Cluster ... so i figured i would use that... haven't done the calculations but sitting around 2 oz would be fine...

and use about 7 or 8 pounds of grains (and since the recipe he wrote could have had a comma after the word "bran" its possible that he meant both bran and hops of your choosing) so i was going to use 6 pounds of crystal and a 1/2 pound of chocolate and 1/2 pound of caramel and 1/2 oatmeal... yes sir... oatmeal chocolate G DUB hahahaha

then throw down about 5 pounds of molasses...

this would make it stronger if i use actual modern methods of mashing... but i am going to do a slow boil for 3 hours... with hops added... and basically strain everything over the molasses in another pot

this will end up making a serious soup of grains and hops... so i am thinking about using a grain bag and hanging it in the pot and not just putting it right into the pot... so that removal would be a lot easier...

thats basically the only question i have for everyone...

would you use a grain bag tied to a pipe hanging the grains in suspension in the water... or would you actually just say 'screw it'... mix it all up and just boil...

i mean tannins are going to be huge in this beer... so bleh... anyone got any ideas on that...

cause i might just say screw it... mash my grains then strain the wart off and add hops and brew for the regular hour ...

tips would be awesome
 

BrewThruYou

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But that's why I'm so dubious to the truthfulness of the recipe, it seems more a household instruction written for amateurs by an amateur (like granny's recipes) rather than a professional brewer's grainbill.
Yards Brewing Company makes General Washington's Tavern Porter based loosely on Washington's recipe. Drinking Made Easy with Zane Lamprey did an interview with the head brewer who said that the original recipe's molasses content would've made it taste terrible...so they took some liberties while trying to stay true.

It's part of Yards' Ales of the Revolution series.

"Rich and warming with a deep garnet hue, the molasses-based Tavern Porter™ reflects Washington's admiration of Philadelphia-style porters and follows a recipe Washington used himself, when brewing beer to satisfy his thirsty field officers."
 

Zamial

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The following is my thoughts, feel free to correct my speculations if you believe them to be wildly wrong. I am approaching this from the angle of this was George's recipe and he had been perfecting it for years because to me the shoe fits...My instincts scream at me "The recipe is right"... We are all over thinking this...

How many people here have problems trying to boil 5 gallons on a modern stove? How on earth would they boil 30 gallons of liquid + grains + hops during colonial times at once??? This would be an epic undertaking and 1 BIG F-ING POT/KETTLE. For the sake of argument how long would it take to heat 30ish gallons of 55 degree water (I am guessing at the temp based on average ground water temps in my area) in a cast iron??? pot over a fire or coals??? I am going to just stab in the dark and guess he hit his rests and had a decent mash times to convert on the way to the boil... ;)

I think he used as few grains as possible because of tannins. This was the obstacle he was having problems trying to overcome. He did not know what they were called or why they were there but all his brews had the same "bitter drying taste" in them. I will guess the sifter wasn't as large as the large one previously speculated above and this is more of a "Small Molasses Braggot" style than a porter or beer... (I don't know off hand what a molasses based wine is called or if it even exists.)

Hops...I will agree with Cluster but the hops back then were much weaker or wild...YMMV so "To taste" is right. I think they used LOTS of hops because...They did not know better to pull the grain out of the boil so they boiled it releasing the tannins. I think he got decent efficiencies but had the plaguing issue of tannins. So at what point would someone be able to taste the hops over the tannins??? That is what I get from "To Taste" as far as hops go. I am thinking he is just trying to cover the tannins. 3 hour boil would allow enough time for the brewer to be able to taste when the hops bitterness approached the Tannin levels. (Could 1 scoop of grain be equal to 1 scoop of hops for this recipe? or a good place to start?) Then they could just "finish boiling" for the rest of the 3 hours and all the hops would all be converted to bittering at that point.

Now George has himself this super weak, super bitter beer. He needs to make it stronger and needs some way to counter the tannins. He probably tried all kinds of sugars but found that Molasses did not completely ferment and added some "back sweetening". It also added in some smoky and burnt tastes, flavors, smells and colors hiding George's "Dirty little tannins"...quite nicely so nicely that he had to use a majority of molasses in the recipe to get the tannins to be covered correctly.

Yeast, A quart for 30 gallons, easy enough. But what kind? I actually wonder if they got some from a nearby brewery or they built up some kind of starter from bread yeast??? (Works in a JOAM ;) ) I would guess that the bread yeast scenario would be closer to the truth. It is possible they had a "house strain" since we know he was also a distiller! We may never know for sure.

My question is how to accurately recreate all this with modern equipment???

We know it has Molasses, cluster hops and was 6 row. (we could even toast some 6 row to make it a bit closer to period) IMO the biggest question is grain quantity, which I think was low for the reasons above, and yeast strain.
 

pwndabear

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wait lets get back to the whole "bran" issue. I personally think he meant "brain." as in actual brain.
 

Zamial

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So, playing around in Brewtarget with the numbers on the original recipe, keeping in mind what I believe would be accurate of the recipe, this is what I came up with:

George's "small"

OG: 1.051
FG: 1.013

5.1% ABV

91% Molasses
9% American 6-row (This may need adjusted slightly)

Cluster hops to 60-80 IBU

Slowly raise the grains to boiling, making sure that a protein rest and mash are done on the grains of appropriate times on the way to the boil. Once boiling add Cluster hops until the tannins are more than covered. (I estimate to shoot for 60 IBUs if possible.)

Yeast: Unless I hear differently, I will pitch Bread Yeast onto it much like JOAM. (I suspect with no nutrient or energizer this is going to stop with a higher FG than anticipated.) In honor of the correct amount of yeast per the original recipe...I will make a quart starter.

NOTES:
I think this may also help explain "the notorious wooden teeth". The number's just do not add up right for a "small" beer. I do not think I will try to naturally force carb as George explains to do in his recipe. (That may have worked in his day but I do not want bottle bombs!!!) I will bottle and force carb it with some molasses instead of priming sugar, this should still keep it in the realm of "The Spirit" of the recipe while practicing good brewing. ;)


Thoughts:
I may try to brew this over the 4th of July in a VERY small batch. This is a work in progress. Feel free to blast holes in it or use it as you see fit. Any additional input is appreciated. I got the numbers by knowing the 30 gallons and the 3 gallons of molasses!!! I wonder if George even tried to mash the grain now and if so how was his crush...looking at the numbers and he is calling it a "small"... I think I will mash them as to not be drinking pure molasses hootch...

:mug:
 

JLW

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Here is the recipe that I developed based on the ingredients provided by Yards brewing.

5 Gallon batch

10.50 lb American Two Row Pale
0.75 lb Black patent
0.60 lb Roasted barley
0.50 lb Chocolate
0.25 lb American Crystal 60L
5 tsp of molasses
Hops:
1.00 oz Chinook [12.0%] (60 min)
0.75 oz Willamette [5.5%] (20 min)
Yeast:
Dry Yeast
 

JLW

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Yes. I made the recipe and it turned very well. Here are some thoughts on changes I will make next time I brew.

I went back and looked at the recipe and I would't change the grainbill or the hops. It was a good beer from the start and got better with age. However, two things I would change or do differently is Mash at a higher temp to get a little more mouth feel. I would probably mash 154. My original mash temp was 152.

The other thing I would do is for the molasses addition I would pull a quart or two and add the molasses with the wort in a sauce pan and maybe boil it for a a few minutes to mix the molasses in and then add back to the boiling wort. I read somewhere that adding the molasses straight to the wort can cause it to drop to the bottom of the BK.

Also, I used WLP029 however, you could also use WLP001 or US05.
 

JLW

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wait lets get back to the whole "bran" issue. I personally think he meant "brain." as in actual brain.
This actually makes sense. If Abe Lincoln can be a vampire slayer the ol George was maybe a zombie killer.
 
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