In the late 1750s, George Washington’s beer recipe, “To make Small Beer” was written in his notebook that he carried as colonel of the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War. The manuscript, now in the New York Public Library’s collections, suggests that Washington wrote down he recipe around 1757, when he was 25 years old and stationed at Fort Loudon, Pennsylvania.
George Washington’s Beer Recipe
Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste.–Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask–leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working–Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.
New York Public Library holds the recipe as part of its collection, and 2011 to celebrate the centennial of its Steven A. Schwartzman building, commissioned the Schmaltz Brewing Company to recreate it. Alas, the brewers at Schmaltz are only brewing 15 gallons.
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