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Back in the sixties

Way back when, I won’t say how but me and some friends were able to obtain from our old German neighbos basement some of his home brew. Now we weren’t coniseurs or even of legal age but to this day I can remember the aroma. Now the beer did not taste like the reingold I would get a taste of from my father so I didn’t think it was any good. It must have been the yeast. Anyone know what was available back then.

My parents had some home brewing books from back then, and they all said to use bread yeast. Home brewing was still illegal, so I’d imagine it was hard to get your hands on actual beer yeast.

I believe Fred Eckhart (if I’m spelling that correctly) wrote a book back in the late 60’s on homebrewing, one of the very first. It’s probably a pretty hard (and expensive) book to come by, but if you can get your hands on a copy, you just might find the information you’re looking for. That’s all I can think of.

This guy was creative and “thrifty” so he probably used bread yeast but I think there was what they called brewers yeast available then. I’m wondering what he used for fermentables. He had quite a garden.

My dad also owned a natural food store in the 60s. “Brewers yeast,” as in the stuff you buy in natural food stores, is no longer viable. Pappa wasn’t a rolling stone, but he was a serious hippie.

Some Weizens are bottled with Lager yeast, so they could have used that. I don’t remember seeing Weizens back in the 60s, but you could find them in the 70s.

You are talking of when I was a teenager. I don’t remember anything of home brew. All we could get was qrt. bottles of Coors at 50 cents. Sorry no help.

Beer was expensive in CO. We used to get a six pack of Rupert’s for 99cents. I remember that his home brew was very cloudy so it may have been wheat.

Was reading an older recipe and it called for some open fermentation to make a Berliner wiese. I have a feeling maybe that was what he was doing. I know he had some crocks of kraut or that’s what I thought it was. Anyone have experience brewing that way.

I recall my grandfather having open porcelain crocks he used for wine and beer, and he just covered them with lite cloth towels. He did that during prohibition and into the 50’s. I think crocks were the fermenters of the day. He passed away when I was a teen in the mid 60’s so I never new about how it was done or the ingredients used. I learned about it from my grandmother later on, and she said no one knew or talked about it because it was illegal, but everyone was making stuff all the time anyway.

Do you think they added yeast or just let it run wild?

My father used to talk about his uncle brewing beer in my grandparent’s basement during prohibition and the time all the bottles exploded. Guess it was more wide spread than I thought.

There is a good book called “Last Call” all about prohibition. You could legally make wine or cider at home for home consumption. It was a nod to the farming families at the time. Beer was supposed to be included but it was taken out at the last minute feeling the commercial brewers would somehow skirt the law. They did anyway by producing malt which was legal to sell ,for baking of course. There was a lot of " baking " going on then. You think there are a lot of home brewers now? Of course when the 18th was repealed commercial brewers that were still in buisness started making beer again and selling their beer instead of ingredients. Farmers always made beer. Why didn’t anyone keep a record like they did in Belgium. I believe as american home brewers It is our duty to try and recreate that brew.

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WOW, I think that might be quite an undertaking. Wouldn’t you think that like the Belgians, things were passed around from word of mouth from brewer to brewer, use this or use that, do this or do that? I bet that’s where using so much unrefined sugars came from.

Sure they did, but what yeast did they use? Wild yeast I’m sure. I know a lot of cider brewers and they use wild yeast. Now I’m going to harvest their cider yeast and also I just put a jar of wort on the back deck. I heard you collect wild yeast in the spring when the air smells good. I’ll report back.

Selling malt extract for “baking” was how Pabst survived prohibition. I was a kid back in the sixties but I would bet those crocks are worth a few bucks now. It would be and interesting experiment to find one and brew a batch with bread yeast, extract and a cheese cloth over the top.

The difference to me is are you brewing as an art or for the alcohol punch? Some of the old guys out there kind of laugh at what we do to sanitize everything so well when they just washed it all like you would your dinner plate. They might have made beer but I bet it is nothing like what we brew.

I’m very happy with the beer I make now. It’s just an experiment. I’m going to do a one gallon batch for a taste. Just to see how far we’ve come. Maybe two gallons, one with an airlock one with cheese cloth.

One of the guys who worked for my dad back in the 60’s made home brew, was always pushing it on me. You could plan on opening a gusher, and it was just plain nasty. I’ll bet 50% was sugar. I don’t know where the yeast came from. Mostly I poured it on the ground when he wasn’t looking. When I look back on those days, even since the late 80’s when I started, our beers now are so greatly improved through ingredients and technology, we would be considered pros by those standards. You can tell by all the micros popping up everywhere, starting from being home brewers. This forum is a shining example, of the brotherhood of home brewing.

I’m sure there was plenty of nasty home brew. Prohibition brought brewers out of the woodwork. I’m talking about doing something pre prohibition that was done on the farms. You know they weren’t buying extract or sugar. They were using grain which they had. And yeast that is in the air. Hops maybe maybe not. I’m looking for a wild strain of hops , they grow wild in NY from back in the day when NY was hop central? And I’m going to try to open ferment.

I’ve got it. I’ll try to remember to check, but I think it was bread yeast.

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