Old book -- 2 lbs of grain for 5 gallons of beer?

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Upstate12866

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Hello,

I found a fun book in my library, titled "Wines and Beers of Old New England" by Sanborn C. Brown. Very fun. Published 1978, so it's not exactly ancient.

On page 57, the author has just explained how malt was made historically, and in a section called "Modern Equivalents," he writes...

"Today the easy way to get malt ready for beer making is not to mash it yourself but to buy it in a can...a 2.5 or 3 pound can is just right to make 5 gallons of beer."

"If, on the other hand, you want to recreate the process more authentically, start with malted barley...2 lbs of malt cereal will make 5 gallons of beer."

He also instructs to mash at 150 for 6 hours!

And finally he notes that "if you want to try adding other grains to stretch the malt...a mixture of 2/3 malt and 1/3 corn" will result in a decent beer "indistinguishable from an all-malt beer." I don't about that, haha, but I mention this because it seems that adding additional grains to the malt syrup or cereals is an optional step.

Does anyone have any idea what the author was talking about with these quantities? I use a 3.3 lb can of extract for 2.5 gallons, and probably 1.5 pound of grain per gallon. Just curious if anyone had a take on this
 

IslandLizard

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Moderator's Note:
The intention of the OP is to have a (serious) discussion about these old recipes. We hope we can do so and maintain that. This is considered a technical forum.
Therefore, a few off-topic posts, although meant in good jest, were deleted. Sorry guys!
 

bracconiere

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did the author say anything about using sugar? maybe 2lbs malt is all the yeast need for nutrients for 5 gal batch? i've heard people back in the early days used a lot of 'beer enhancer'...?
 

tracer bullet

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Are other recipes similar? Or do they make more sense? Might tell you if it's a typo or if he's serious. If he's serious... maybe doesn't know what he's talking about (or, at least, never actually brewed) and simply copied bad information from somewhere else.
 

IslandLizard

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"[...] start with malted barley...2 lbs of malt cereal will make 5 gallons of beer."
Yes it will, but does he mention to add other fermentables, such as sugars, (invert) syrups, etc., to make it worthwhile?
As @bracconiere said, they used a lot of non-malt "beer enhancers" in those days.
 

BigEd

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On page 57, the author has just explained how malt was made historically, and in a section called "Modern Equivalents," he writes...

"Today the easy way to get malt ready for beer making is not to mash it yourself but to buy it in a can...a 2.5 or 3 pound can is just right to make 5 gallons of beer."

"If, on the other hand, you want to recreate the process more authentically, start with malted barley...2 lbs of malt cereal will make 5 gallons of beer."


Does anyone have any idea what the author was talking about with these quantities? I use a 3.3 lb can of extract for 2.5 gallons, and probably 1.5 pound of grain per gallon. Just curious if anyone had a take on this

I'd say it's a safe assumption that 2 lb amount is a misprint or an editing error. Almost any book is going to have an error or two. Another safe assumption is that the book's editor probably knew next to nothing about brewing beer so an incorrect number like that would have gone right by. Hell, in 1978 virtually no one outside of professional brewers knew anything about the details of mashing barley malt and brewing beer. If that was 12 lbs instead of 2 lbs and if you figured the crude methodology and instructions available then would yield a low efficiency in mashing, 12 lbs might get you in the ballpark for 5 gallons.
 

bracconiere

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I'd say it's a safe assumption that 2 lb amount is a misprint or an editing error. Almost any book is going to have an error or two. Another safe assumption is that the book's editor probably knew next to nothing about brewing beer so an incorrect number like that would have gone right by. Hell, in 1978 virtually no one outside of professional brewers knew anything about the details of mashing barley malt and brewing beer. If that was 12 lbs instead of 2 lbs and if you figured the crude methodology and instructions available then would yield a low efficiency in mashing, 12 lbs might get you in the ballpark for 5 gallons.


on that assumption, then 3 mistakes...because 3lbs LME in a 5 gallon batch will only get you to 1.022

edit: but if it was a pre hopped coopers kits with 2.5lbs "beer enhancer" you'd get ~1.045...wich would be quafably 'beer'....

(and this when people were used to budweiser, so what would amount to a sugar wash might have been more to their liking....)
 
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