what a crock!

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c72

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Visiting with my grandmother I let slip that I had started brewing beer at home.

Turns out my grandfather and great grandfather brewed beer, before WWII, I'm guessing, with local ingredients. Apparently this part of WI used to produce a bit of hops (you can still find "volunteer" hops as you walk around my stepfather's farm) and my grandmother recalls they made some good beer and "applejack". Apparently my grandfather was very attuned to the sound of bottle bombs going off in the basement and would wake up upon hearing them and go down and drink what he could salvage.

Then she mentioned she still had some crocks and stuff in the shed so I went and had a look. I didn't take a picture but they look like this:



4 jugs in there. They are pretty filthy, one is pretty large, maybe 8-10 gallons? The others look to be about 5 gal. Pretty gross, full of bugs and stink and dirt, but structurally in good shape. There was also what I supposed was an airlock, a piece of curly copper tube stuck through a dry rotted cork.

If I could manage to clean these up would they be worthwhile fermenters in this day and age or more trouble than they are worth? I'd sure like to use them at least once.
 

nystevecf

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Visiting with my grandmother I let slip that I had started brewing beer at home.

Turns out my grandfather and great grandfather brewed beer, before WWII, I'm guessing, with local ingredients. Apparently this part of WI used to produce a bit of hops (you can still find "volunteer" hops as you walk around my stepfather's farm) and my grandmother recalls they made some good beer and "applejack". Apparently my grandfather was very attuned to the sound of bottle bombs going off in the basement and would wake up upon hearing them and go down and drink what he could salvage.

Then she mentioned she still had some crocks and stuff in the shed so I went and had a look. I didn't take a picture but they look like this:



4 jugs in there. They are pretty filthy, one is pretty large, maybe 8-10 gallons? The others look to be about 5 gal. Pretty gross, full of bugs and stink and dirt, but structurally in good shape. There was also what I supposed was an airlock, a piece of curly copper tube stuck through a dry rotted cork.

If I could manage to clean these up would they be worthwhile fermenters in this day and age or more trouble than they are worth? I'd sure like to use them at least once.
I will wait for one of the others with more knowledge to say if it is woth it, but they would make a cool addition to a brew room either way.
 

stevea1210

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Usable or not, if I found out I had a brewing legacy going back several generations, and had access to some of the original gear used by my great grandfather, I would spend a month of Sundays cleaning that up.

I think that is cool as ****, and I say get even the rotted airlock and carefully clean and display it. It also gives you an out if SWMBO gives you any flack for brewing. It is in your blood to be a brewer ;)
 

Bernie Brewer

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Nice find! If you can't brew with them, they'll make great decorations. Where in WI are you???
 
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c72

c72

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Nice find! If you can't brew with them, they'll make great decorations. Where in WI are you???
I live in Madison but my family is from Green and Rock counties, the stretch between Monroe and Beloit.
 

McKBrew

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Definately display one at least. Having that common link between your hobbies and those of your grandfathers is pretty damned cool.
 

Chad

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If they are glazed and don't have any cracks, they should clean up nicely. A good long soak in PBW/Oxyclean and then a bleach solution should do it.

I think those things are just too cool not to use, especially since there is a family connection.

Chad
 

ChshreCat

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I would check the glaze if you're going to use it. Some old crockery pieces like that have a lead based glaze. If you can mark it with your fingernail, it could be lead based. If you can't, then you're probably safe.
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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+1 on trying to clean them up, that is a cool story. Thanks for sharing it.
 

Bruenor

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a sweet find for sure, i would definatly clean them up dont know about using 'em but a great conversation starter
 

avidhomebrewer

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Clean it up and try a batch with it; you have nothing to lose! You can shine a flash light in there to see how nasty it is and go from there. Nothing a little bleach water, a good soaking and a good rinse can't take care of.
 

DUCCCC

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Usable or not, if I found out I had a brewing legacy going back several generations, and had access to some of the original gear used by my great grandfather, I would spend a month of Sundays cleaning that up.

I think that is cool as ****, and I say get even the rotted airlock and carefully clean and display it. It also gives you an out if SWMBO gives you any flack for brewing. It is in your blood to be a brewer ;)
Amen!
+1 to this!
 

hoss75

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Those make awesome fermenters because they'll keep a constant temperature better than glass or plastic. Some new stoppers are all you need.
 

mnadamn

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I say go for it... and if you dont, give them to me and I will ;) But seriously, I would take them and clean them up... If they wont work for brewing, it is a part of your brewing legacy that should be put on display.
 

johnlvs2run

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I sent the photo to Western Stoneware and got this response.

Dear John,
What a beautiful jug in what appears to be excellent condition.
We are not making a 5 gallon size only up to 1/2 gallon size at this time.
To my knowledge we have never used lead in our glazes. We high fire at over
2250 degrees Fahrenheit and that high temperature makes our glazes glossy.
Hope this information is helpful. Also there is a book out " Monmouth-
Western Stoneware" written by Jim Martin and Bette Cooper which has the
history of Western and many old photo's and catalog sheets.
Yours truly,
Jack Horner
Western Stoneware, Inc. - Monmouth, IL
 

Rezilynt

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VERY COOL! I would use it. I would also go down to your library and research what those are worth. I've seen people go ape$hit over them at auctions. (not that I'd ever sell a family heirloom), but it might make you take care of it a little better.
 
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