Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Man learns to drink beer:

Contrary to popular belief the rise of agriculture was probably due to man's desire for something to drink that would give him a buzz and forget all about his troubles. The desire for alcoholic beverages such as beer probably predates the origin of bread. Mankind has always had a hankering for something that wasn't necessarily good for him. The early beer is a case in point of this principle. In order to change the starch in the grain into sugar so that he could brew beer was very good trick. Even today there is a tribe in Africa that one they want beer start chewing on mouths full of grain so that the enzymes in their saliva will break down the starch molecules into sugar molecules. After doing this they spit the contents of their mouths into a jug full of water that they allow to ferment into beer. This is probably not the most hygienic way of doing the conversion of starch, but at least it works. The fermentation of this primitive beer generates enough alcohol to kill any pathogens that may have gotten into the beer through this highly unhygienic method of making beer. Unlike modern beer this beer is sweet and has no bubbles.

By the time we got to the time of the ancient Egypt Egyptians had gotten beyond spitting in a jug. They had also learned to bake bread. Both tasks they left up to their women for the most part the bread was made of barley. A special bread was baked for making beer that afterwards was crumbled and added to water and allowed to ferment. The beer this produced was very thick and sweet and like the earlier beer had no bubbles. Everyone from the Pharaoh down drank beer even the children. Beer drinking went on at least three times a day and was even given to the builders of the pyramids.

The art of making beer changed through the ages, but the essentials remained the same. The raw material was grain and somehow mankind managed to convert it’s starch to sugar that was capable of fermenting. This turned the liquid into one or another kind of beer.

There is actually an argument as to what came first beer or wine were I a betting man I should guess wine came first because it can be made from fermented fruit, and this occurs naturally unlike beer that has to be made in a process that requires several steps to complete.

In our constant efforts to improve this blog we have located a supplier of beer and wine making supplies. They are at http://www.homebrewing.org/?affid=13

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I've never dropped a drink in my life although I have not picked one up in a longtime. I did have one slide off the table once, but that was an accident because the top of the table was already wet. I more or less come by my interest in alcoholic beverages naturally because my grandfather was a Braumeister in Germany before he came to this country. During Prohibition I had an uncle and cousin that were in the business of making bathtub gin. The first time I ever became involved with moonshine was when I was in the Army. My best buddy’s family had a great walloping still it away in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The next time I got caught up in the moonshining business was years later when I was prospecting for zinc in eastern Tennessee. I was tracing a high zinc chemical reading in a small mountain stream and instead of finding a zinc deposit I found a washtub right alongside the stream that was full of spent mash from an illegal whiskey operation. Within two minutes of making this find I found myself looking down the muzzles of six Winchester's along with some pretty mad Hill folk. It was a very good thing that I do some names to drop or I probably still be alongside that stream. This would have sort of been a shoot, shovel and shut up situation.

The making of alcoholic beverages by a man can trace its roots back into antiquity. No doubt our ancestors first tied one on by eating fermented fruit. This still goes on today as one of the funniest movies I ever saw involved a bunch of animals in the Kalahari Desert of Africa tying one on at a water hole that was surrounded by fruit trees. The fruit had dropped, and fermented and the animals came from far and wide and got drunker then Lords. There were elephants and lions and hyenas and monkeys and apes at just about every other animal you can think of. For the drunken fest the various animals declared a truce and were falling all over each other. A scene taken the next morning was a chimpanzee trying to stuff his brains back into his head, while on the other side of the water hole was a stork that stayed sober during the drunken fest who was watching the proceedings, and shaking his head back and forth.

As the name implies Making Alcoholic Beverages is all about teaching you how to make your own drinks. Alcoholic beverages have one thing in common they are all made of ethyl alcohol, the only alcohol that is not poisonous to man. In the chapters that will follow in this Blog we will teach you how to make everything from alcohol to being a zymurgist that is one who practices the study of the yeast. That my friends is the A to Z of it.