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THE survival skill, brewing

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by USMC_G19, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. USMC_G19

    USMC_G19 Ham Salad

    Dec 13, 2005
    Northern VA
    So let’s assume you are sitting on 300lbs of wheat, what if you could take some of that boring stuff and turn it into beer? Not only could this be a lucrative business post SHTF, but would make you quite popular since few people have the equipment or know-how to make fermented beverages.

    I have not yet tried brewing with just hard red wheat but from what I’ve read its possible if you add amylase, an enzyme required for conversion, to make up for the missing enzymes that would have been present in malted grain. Honey just happens to be a great source of amylase and also commonly found in the preppers pantry. After my Double IPA is finished Im planning on doing a small batch using just wheat, honey, regular yeast and some hops (I stockpile hops for good measure).
  2. dukeblue91


    Sep 6, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    Great idea and something that would be a good thing to have for many reasons in a SHTF time.
    Let us know how this works out and how you did it too.

  3. rwrjr


    May 25, 2007
    Northern VA
    It's funny, I was watching Moonshiners last night and thinking that after SHTF that hard spirits might be popular. Of course beer works too.

    Just so you know, I'm in your neck of the woods if you need a second opinion on how your double IPA turned out. :supergrin:
  4. tblant

    tblant Joey Donuts

    Oct 15, 2009
    You hopheads are brilliant. Time for me to switch to all grain brewing.
  5. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    I would rather distil, but that requires licensing from the gov.
  6. soundguy


    Apr 26, 2010
  7. edcrosbys


    Aug 22, 2007
    Why not store Barley too and make your own malt?

    Not sure where in NOVA you are, but I'll second the assistance in tasting. I just started playing with homebrew this past week. I have two batches of cider going and learned how to at the local shop yesterday.
  8. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    I don't like beer.
    I don't have the patients to grow grapes for wine.
    If it wasn't illegal for me to distil my own whiskey I would be doing it now.
  9. Kieller


    May 18, 2007
    Kansas City
    I have been brewing for over 6 years and love it. I have made all types of beer and even mead. If I were to pick an easier alcohol of the two for SHTF I would choose mead. Honey is easier to store, don't need hops and all you really need is water/honey/yeast.

    Storing hops is generally not a good idea. They lose a lot of potency very quickly. Air tight containers will help and freezing them will help also...but generally not a good idea to store them long term.

    If I could I would grow my own hops, however my climate doesn't really allow that.
  10. Kozel


    Jan 16, 2007
    46.58N 121.75W
    Distillation is easier. Bottle of moonshine became a good currency after Soviet Ruble collapced.
  11. USMC_G19

    USMC_G19 Ham Salad

    Dec 13, 2005
    Northern VA
    I don't store much hops, right now I only have about 4 pounds in 1 pound vacuum sealed mylar pouches in the deep freeze. Ive found that the pellets hold up pretty wel under these conditions so far.

    I agree with the mead too. Ive got a batch ageing in bottles that should be ready to drink in about a year or so. Which is why I was thinking about beer. You can have a batch brewed and ready for drinking in less than a month, much quicker thatn mead.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  12. USMC_G19

    USMC_G19 Ham Salad

    Dec 13, 2005
    Northern VA
    How is distillation easier? You still have to ferment what is basically a weak beer, then build a 'shine rig which brings about its own set of complications and dangers. All you really need to brew beer is a bucket, and if you are fancy, an airlock.
  13. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    As I understand it (book learned only), everything has to be perfectly clean to get good healthy beer. With hard liqueur, not so much.

    You can make hard liqueur with any grain or fruit. More options.
  14. Kozel


    Jan 16, 2007
    46.58N 121.75W
    Anybody who knows which end of a hammer to hold on to can build a "shine rig".
  15. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    I've made truckloads of beer from malted barley and wheat. But you need to understand. That malted barley is not the same thing as the plain barley. Its been germinated under controlled conditions and just before it sprouts its toasted to dry it out and also to lock in the starch content.

    Malted Barley also has a slightly caramel flavor and depending on the kind it can be very dark.

    To brew 5 gallons you are going to need about 10-15# of malted barley.

    Now I personally could never imagine malting my own barley. Doing a full mash beer brew is an all day affair and there is some magic involved with maintaining the proper temperatures for the correct period of time to enzymatically convert the starch to sugar.

    Beer brewing does not need to be done under sterile conditions. It needs to be clean --sanitized--for sure. But not sterile. The wort (unfermented beer) is fairly stable providing you introduce enough yeast and kick start the fermentation process before bacteria can establish colonies. Once the yeast gets going and begins producing lots of carbon dioxide it makes it hard for bacteria to establish a colony.

    It takes a fair amount of equipment (most of which can be fabricated if you are creative) and a fair amount of energy to boil the wort for an hour or more.

    WHeat beer is a misnomer. Most wheat beers contain mostly barley with some wheat content thrown in to change the taste. But by itself wheat does not have the starch content necessary to produce enough sugar in the mashing process to make a good beer.

    Long term storage of hops is problematic. But if you eat what you store etc you should be able to keep hops in the freezer for up to 18 months. They will loose some of their essential oils over time for sure. But will probably be useable for quite some time.
    Hop pellets seem to store much better than whole hops and are also easier to clean up when the fermentation is done.

    The main issue for me with brewing beer from grain is the amount of time--like I said--a batch of all grain beer is a 12 hour commitment no matter how you slice it and that doesn't include bottling it or cleaning the equipment when you are done. I would never try and malt my own barely. WAY too much trouble.

    Also, for SHTF Ale is probably going to be the ticket because its fermented at room temperature whereas Lager's and Pilsners are cold fermented in the 40 degree temps range for up to 3 weeks. Also, cultivating the special strains of yeast for beer making requires some skill.

    If you really wanted to store beer making supplies I would probably suggest DME--Deyhdrated Malt Extract--which is a powdered concentrated Malt you can use to make VERY good beer for not a lot of money. You'll need about 3-5# of DME for a 5 gallon batch depending on the kind of beer you are making. Its a very stable item if kept in a cool dry place. You can also use canned Malt Extract which can also be had pre-hopped. Also makes great beer. Also last for several years.

    The Bible for beginning homebrewers has long been Charlie Papzian's book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  16. Ruble Noon

    Ruble Noon "Cracker"

    Feb 18, 2009
    I love mead

    I've never aged my mead. Once it's done fermenting I put it in a pop keg, carbonate it and have mead on tap.
  17. One doesn't necessarily need heat to distill. Once you have wine or hard cider, freeze it (CO2 fire extinguisher I'm told) then the first melt is alcohol. I've not done this... Wine or hard cider probably has a higher alcohol content than beer.

    Wonder how Welch's frozen grape juice would be as a base for winemaking?

    Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire
  18. It's much easier to make wine than spirits or beer. Lots of folks locally make muscadine wine and hard cider.

    I wonder how easy vodka would be?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  19. JFrame


    May 29, 2001
    Mid-Atlantic, US of A

    I recall that in Paul Brickhill's excellent book, The Great Escape, the POW's in Stalag Luft III got themselves totally plastered on a concoction they made from potato skins, with a fermented raisin as a starter.

    Other than the collective (and considerable) knowledge of the prisoners there, they undoubtedly had a lot less resources available than the typical American civilian. Of course, I can't attest to the quality of the beverage they created... :)

  20. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.