You may even find recipes that have been posted online that claim to BE Ben Franklin's, George Washington's or even Thomas Jefferson's recipe, but truly, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson only describe their beers as far as I know, and the recipe that is attributed to George Washington is written in a way that would be difficult for us to truly convert to today's recipe notation. So I will be brewing in the "spirit" of the colonists...not claiming to know exactly what the recipes were.
The styles I will be brewing are a brown ale and porter. Both styles originated in England in the 1700's and both became very popular during that time in both England, and the colonies.
One thing that makes brewing colonial beers as opposed to historical beers from England is the ingredients that were available. Beer in England used basically barley and hops and that was it. But, in the colonies, ingredients were harder to come by. So they would add locally available adjuncts to their beer, like corn, wheat and molasses to name a few. In fact, corn and molasses were very important brewing ingredients in colonial America. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin all mention corn and molasses being used.
The first beer I will be brewing will be a Brown Ale. By today's standards you might say it's an "Imperial" Brown Ale with an ABV of 7.6%, though I don't think the colonist would approve of the term "Imperial", so I am calling it Colonial Style. ;)
I had posted these recipes last month, but I have made some changes to them. Probably the most significant change I have made is that both beers will be "aged" in the secondary with oak that has been soaked in Bourbon Whiskey. Most beers of this period were stored in oak casks and most had had some type of whiskey in them before. Either Bourbon or Rye Whiskey. I have decided to use Bourbon since I have some on hand.
Here is the first recipe I will be brewing:
Poor Richard's Bourbon Oak Aged Brown Ale
7lbs 2-row Brewers Malt
3lbs Flaked Maize
2lbs Biscuit Malt
1.25lbs Wheat Malt
1lb Special Roast
2oz Black Patent Malt
1oz Kent Golding 6.1%AA @ 60mins
1oz Kent Golding 6.1%AA @ 45mins
.75oz Kent Golding 6.1%AA @ 30mins
2oz Bourbon Soaked Oak Chips
Wyeast 1968 - London ESB Ale
Batch Size: 5 gal
Boil Vol: 6.5 gal
Should be ready to drink about two weeks before the 4th of July. What a great way to celebrate the founding of our country!