If you want to learn how to make old fashioned home brew that my granny used to make then, prepare to take copious notes of the art of home brew.
As an adolescent, I was the proud partner of my grandmother in her homesteading enterprise of making home brew.
I went to the local grocer where she had excellent credit, with a handwritten note, to buy home brewing supplies.
She was one generation out of slavery and worked hard as a sharecropper until she became to old to do it.
When my mother moved her to the city, she was determined to be self-sufficient until the day she died.
This recipe comes from my grandmother who made old fashioned home brew as a cottage industry to reinvent herself and remain independent.
She had an old ten-gallon glass jug that had a rag on top while the beer was brewing.
I will always remember the fresh quart jars of home brew lining the shelves in her kitchen—along side canned pickles, pears, peaches, corn, tomatoes, etc. she brought to the city.
Once in a while, the jars would burst if they had been put up at the wrong time in the fermentation cycle.
Nevertheless, my grandmother was proud of her art of making home brew.
Although, she didn’t drink it—it was strictly for sale (she preferred a nip or two of corn whiskey that I fetched as well :-).
Friends aka customers would stop by anytime during the week to listen to her tell stories i.e. laying flat on her stomach and shooting a rabbit under the house with her Antique long barrel shotgun…
As they listened to her true stories, they would drink a quart or two of her perfect brew.
When you make your first batch, and when you take your first sip, think of my grandma who made a living in her 80’s brewing refreshments for those who couldn’t afford commercial beer.
10 Gallon container glass, crock or stainless steel
1 Can of Malt
5 pounds of sugar
1 small packet of dry yeast
Raisins (her secret ingredient)
Clean Mason jars and lids or bottles
Rinse container with hot water and salt (no soap).
Fill your brewing container about 1/3 full with warm water.
Pour in malt.
Fill malt can with hot water to rinse remaining content and empty into container.
Stir until all malt is dissolved.
Open yeast packet and pour on top of water in brew container.
Pour in sugar and stir until both are dissolved.
Sugar will carry yeast to the bottom of the container.
Add more water if you feel the volume is not adequate to dissolve sugar and yeast.
Add remaining water and raisins.
Place brew container in a place where it will have a consistent temperature.
Grandma kept her’s in the kitchen.
The warmer it is, the faster it will work.
She also covered the brew jug with a piece of clean cloth (preferably linen, burlap, hemp).
Since she didn’t have any fancy gadgets, she kept it in the kitchen where she cooked on a wood burning stove.
So, the kitchen was always warm in the shotgun, clapboard house.
Check the home brew daily to make sure the foam isn’t running over.
Under these conditions, the home brew will be ready in seven days.
When the bubbles are rising to the surface and barely breaking, your home brew is ready to bottle.
Rural Money Caution: Don’t get over anxious and bottle too early or you will have broken bottles and brew all over the place.
If the home brew is ready and you are not, add two handfuls of sugar.
This will keep the brew working for a day or two so that you can bottle it later.
Now, strain, bottle and store!
Keep your bottled home brew at basement temperature (if you have one) but, not cold.
In about three weeks, you can enjoy your murky or golden brew.
With old fashioned home brew, it’s not about the looks—just the taste!
This is an excellent mobile home brew for local festivals, tailgate parties, barn sales—on tap or by the bottle.
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