George Washington's Beer

Posted by Ben Evert | 8:57 PM | | 3 comments »

I was out at a local, historical landmark this weekend called the Jean Bonnet Tavern. They have been selling beer and food since about 1762 and it is a cozy place for either lunch or dinner. Being a historical place, they usually have at least one "period" type beer on tap. I was able to enjoy a Yard's George Washington Porter. So, I thought it would be fun to post George's original recipe. Basically, it is just hops and molasses and I added a few things that I would do.

To Make Small Beer:

Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste.

Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot.

Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask - leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working - Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed. F for 7-10 days. Cool and consume.

Things that I would add to the recipe:

Barley Malt
Chocolate Malt
Biscuit Malt
Roasted Barley

I kinda' like the idea of letting your wort cool down to blood level (98 degrees). That is my usual pitching temperature, so it fits right in. I honestly don't think that I would use a wood barrel, nor would I make 30 gallons. I would make 3 gallons and just might make this one in the near future.


  1. Arian // 6:45 PM  

    A lot of people when trying to recreate Washington's recipe misinterpret the ingredients. Many people I have come into contact seem to think that one ingredient is "Bran Hops." But if you look at the original document, they are two ingredients: bran and hops. Wheat bran was a common (and cheap) flavoring ingredient in colonial beers. Adding bran would have given this primarily molasses beer a grainy flavoring.

  2. Arian // 6:55 PM  

    Many people when trying to recreate Washington's recipe misinterpret the ingredients. I've noted that many people seem to think that there is an ingredient called "Bran Hops." But if you looks at the original document, they are separate: bran and hops. Wheat bran was a common (and cheap) way of flavoring beer in Colonial times. To make five gallons I would use 4 lbs molasses, 1 lb wheat bran, 2 3/4 oz Fuggles, and an English ale yeast.

  3. Ben // 10:32 PM  


    Thanks for the update.