Author Topic: Recreating an old recipe  (Read 8771 times)

Offline bigchicken

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Recreating an old recipe
« on: April 14, 2012, 05:24:17 PM »
I recently received a copy of one of my Grandpa's old beer recipes and want to recreate it. I'm having some problems rounding up the ingredients though. I thought it would be cool to be able to try this with my dad and uncle in memory of my Grandpa this summer. Here is the ingredient list:
I cake of Fleishman's yeast
1 can of Blue Ribbon Malt (save the can)
2 1/2 cans of sugar (the malt can)

Simple enough. Problem is the Blue Ribbon Malt (now Premier Malt) is hard to find. It seems the company is going out of business or has shifted their focus to something else. My other concern is I'd like to find a yeast that would provide the same flavor as the Fleishman's yeast, but use a beer yeast not a baking yeast. Any ideas? Any ideas on the type of extract I could use that would be close to the old Blue Ribbon Malt? Or I'd also do this as a partial mash or all grain if anyone has an idea of what grain bill would work?
I'd like to keep the flavor as close to the original as possible. Any help would be appreciated.
TJ Cook
Proud paying member of the AHA since 2013.

Fermenting: NOTHING!
In bottles: One Fruit Fly Saison, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale, Snow Eater Winter Warmer

Offline EHall

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 08:03:37 PM »
I don't know if you've ever had this recipe... but honestly, its swill! anyone who made it and is still around will tell you that. If you want to do something close go with an american pils type recipe.
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Offline bo

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2012, 08:21:51 PM »
I bought Premier Malt  from E.C. Kraus a few years ago and they still have it listed. It isn't available until May.

Sorry, I can't get links to work again.

Offline tubercle

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 06:30:54 AM »
Just a thought...

 If you start substituting yeast and doing a partial mash, are you really "recreating" the recipe?

I would do it as written just to do it. You are out an hour and a few bucks but would be a great tribute to Grandpa. I have a shoebox full of my grandmother's hand written recipes. I have followed some of them to the letter just to see even though I know of better ways or ingriedents.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 06:34:35 AM by tubercle »
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Offline bo

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 06:57:08 AM »
Just a thought...

 If you start substituting yeast and doing a partial mash, are you really "recreating" the recipe?

I would do it as written just to do it. You are out an hour and a few bucks but would be a great tribute to Grandpa. I have a shoebox full of my grandmother's hand written recipes. I have followed some of them to the letter just to see even though I know of better ways or ingriedents.


If I remember correctly, the Premier Malt comes with yeast and a recipe. I agree with tubercle, it's a tribute to your Grandfather and not about making the best beer. Follow that recipe or your Grandpa's. Besides, it might be fun to experience what many had to put up with during prohibition.

Offline The Professor

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 07:51:11 AM »
Just a thought...
 If you start substituting yeast and doing a partial mash, are you really "recreating" the recipe?
I would do it as written just to do it. You are out an hour and a few bucks but would be a great tribute to Grandpa. I have a shoebox full of my grandmother's hand written recipes. I have followed some of them to the letter just to see even though I know of better ways or ingriedents.



If I remember correctly, the Premier Malt comes with yeast and a recipe. I agree with tubercle, it's a tribute to your Grandfather and not about making the best beer. Follow that recipe or your Grandpa's. Besides, it might be fun to experience what many had to put up with during prohibition.

I agree.  Do it as written.  It will especially make you appreciate even more how far things have come for homebrewing.

Also...having tried this myself once...since you will (or should be) practicing a kind of sanitation that would have never occurred to your grandfather, you might be a bit surprised how drinkable the brew can turn out.  I'm not saying you'll be making a world class beer with the recipe (far, far from it),  but on the other hand,  while the sugar ratio is going to thin things out quite a bit, the bread yeast was not really the culprit that made some prohibition homebrew cidery, nasty swill.
It's probably not something you'll ever want to make again, but it is a worthwhile experiment.
AL
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Offline bigchicken

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 08:09:28 AM »
Just a thought...
 If you start substituting yeast and doing a partial mash, are you really "recreating" the recipe?
I would do it as written just to do it. You are out an hour and a few bucks but would be a great tribute to Grandpa. I have a shoebox full of my grandmother's hand written recipes. I have followed some of them to the letter just to see even though I know of better ways or ingriedents.



If I remember correctly, the Premier Malt comes with yeast and a recipe. I agree with tubercle, it's a tribute to your Grandfather and not about making the best beer. Follow that recipe or your Grandpa's. Besides, it might be fun to experience what many had to put up with during prohibition.

I agree.  Do it as written.  It will especially make you appreciate even more how far things have come for homebrewing.

Also...having tried this myself once...since you will (or should be) practicing a kind of sanitation that would have never occurred to your grandfather, you might be a bit surprised how drinkable the brew can turn out.  I'm not saying you'll be making a world class beer with the recipe (far, far from it),  but on the other hand,  while the sugar ratio is going to thin things out quite a bit, the bread yeast was not really the culprit that made some prohibition homebrew cidery, nasty swill.
It's probably not something you'll ever want to make again, but it is a worthwhile experiment.

I really appreciate all the comments from everyone! After doing some thinking, I will try to make this as close to the original as possible. I know it may not turn out to be a good beer, but it would be nice to see what kind of beer my Grandpa was able to make. My dad and uncle keep asking me if I've made this yet, so I know they want to give it a try and relive some of their first beer memories too.

I bought Premier Malt  from E.C. Kraus a few years ago and they still have it listed. It isn't available until May.

Sorry, I can't get links to work again.

I did find the malt at this site as well. Unfortunately, the site keeps changing their date.  :-\ I'm beginning to fear it won't be available again. I tried to contact Premier and they wouldn't respond to my email. So, if I cannot get the Premier Malt Extract, what would be the closest match? I'm thinking of some Coopers Extract perhaps? Never using the Premier myself, I'm at a loss. I'm hoping someone here may remember what it was like and can point me in the right direction.

One more thing I forgot to list; the beer was open fermented. I would assume that doing this will give it a different taste than if I did it in a carboy with airlock. Does anyone see a problem with doing the open fermentation and lightly covering it with a cloth?
TJ Cook
Proud paying member of the AHA since 2013.

Fermenting: NOTHING!
In bottles: One Fruit Fly Saison, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale, Snow Eater Winter Warmer

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 11:16:12 PM »
I agree do it is written and with a cloth over it should be fine.

As long as you are finding another source of extract though, you might want to plan for less than a 5 gallon batch ;)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bo

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2012, 04:36:59 AM »
The one thing I wouldn't recommend doing is following their old procedure for bottling. They would watch fermentation and when they thought it was low enough they'd bottle. That was what generated all of the stories about bottles bombs. I doubt anyone had a hydrometer.

I'd let it ferment completely and add sugar. That's not really going to effect the flavor anyway.

Offline gmac

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2012, 07:02:26 AM »
I think if you can get any unhopped malt extract, it would probably be pretty similar.  I don't think they bought Blue Ribbon because it was the best choice, I think at the time it was the only choice or at least the only choice that was widely available.  From what I've read it was a cooking product so it wouldn't be hopped.

I'd go with a can of malt extract regardless of the brand.  I would expect over 50 years that the quality of the original is probably better than it was 50 years go so it won't be exactly the same anyway.  But, I think I'd stick as tight to the recipe as you could (I'd even use the Fleischmans yeast for authenticity).  I'd also be sure to have some modern homebrew close by to rinse the taste of history out of your mouth.

Offline The Professor

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2012, 10:08:32 AM »
...I'd also be sure to have some modern homebrew close by to rinse the taste of history out of your mouth.

 ;D Ha!   I think that just has to be the "quote of the day"
I almost snarfed my morning tea when I read that one.
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Offline bigchicken

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 04:16:47 PM »
I think if you can get any unhopped malt extract, it would probably be pretty similar.  I don't think they bought Blue Ribbon because it was the best choice, I think at the time it was the only choice or at least the only choice that was widely available.  From what I've read it was a cooking product so it wouldn't be hopped.



I hadn't thought about it being hopped or not. The Premier Malt now comes prehopped. Since I'm not having much luck finding it, I'll probably find something plain and unhopped to use. Since I will try to keep this as close to the original as possible, I'm really glad you brought this up!
The one thing I wouldn't recommend doing is following their old procedure for bottling. They would watch fermentation and when they thought it was low enough they'd bottle. That was what generated all of the stories about bottles bombs. I doubt anyone had a hydrometer.

I'd let it ferment completely and add sugar. That's not really going to effect the flavor anyway.


You're exactly right. My Grandpa would bottle whenever he felt the time was right. I can't imagine bread yeast being very predictable, so a hydrometer will be a must. My uncle told me that he still remembers my Grandpa getting a good chewin' from my Grandma after his bottles starting blowing up in their cellar, all within a couple hours of each other.
TJ Cook
Proud paying member of the AHA since 2013.

Fermenting: NOTHING!
In bottles: One Fruit Fly Saison, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale, Snow Eater Winter Warmer

Offline bigchicken

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 06:52:03 PM »
I'm finally going to brew this on Saturday. I never found the Premier Malt so I'll use some unhopped Muntons Light. I decided I'd make a yeast starter for the bread yeast. I figured any help the bread yeast could get the better. Due to my attention span of a gnat, I made 2 starters. The first poured right into a flask....still half full of Star San. :o
TJ Cook
Proud paying member of the AHA since 2013.

Fermenting: NOTHING!
In bottles: One Fruit Fly Saison, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale, Snow Eater Winter Warmer

Offline bigchicken

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 09:53:35 AM »
I was surprised to see the bread yeast pulled the beer from a starting gravity of 1.063 to 1.004 in less than a week. The taste of the hydrometer sample was a bit hot tasting, just a hint of cider, but surprising drinkable. I'll report back after it's been in the bottle a couple weeks and chilled. I used Muntons light unhopped LME for the malt. The white sugar ended up at 4lb.
TJ Cook
Proud paying member of the AHA since 2013.

Fermenting: NOTHING!
In bottles: One Fruit Fly Saison, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale, Snow Eater Winter Warmer

Offline gmac

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Re: Recreating an old recipe
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 12:56:15 PM »
Glad to hear you did it.  Keep us posted on how the Chicken Men liked Grandpa's brew.