Raw Corn Beer
(these instructions yield about a half gallon)

Sprout 70 grams of corn, and 30 grams of whole wheat berries (or about 1/2 cup of corn and 1/4 cup of wheat berries) until they approximately double in weight or size, or green tips start to appear on the shoots. [Sprouting]

Put the sprouts into a blender, add warm water (raw beer from a previous batch, if you have it) and blend on high until it becomes smooth.

Add to the blender:
1 cup of warm water
-and-
1/2 cup of raw honey or raw agave syrup, or 1 cup of unsulphered dried fruit (such as dates or raisins) which have been soaked overnight.

Puree on high until smooth.
Transfer to a larger, food-safe container
Add a yeast starter, which for me is usually a half a bottle from a previous batch. If this is your first attempt and you don't have any live, active yeast, you can use a packet of store-bought beer yeast or even a spoonful of bread yeast. Bread yeast is the least attractive option, however. Use it now to get started but look for ways to get a more suitable yeast later. (Apple juice that has gone fizzy in the back of the fridge will do nicely. See my page on harvesting wild yeast. )
Add another quart plus 2 cups of warm water

You may want to add a couple drops of lemon juice in the brew if the yeast is sluggish, especially if you started out with dry yeast.
Cover with an airlock (see below). Put it in a warm place and leave it for a day. Shake or turn your homebrew over every once in a while to keep distributing the ground sprout material throughout the liquid.

Next day, pour the liquid through 2 layers of cheesecloth/muslin to remove the roughage. (Use it to make corn fritters, bread or naturally fermented soda pop.)

Decide how alcoholic you want it to be:


1.) As little as possible -- it will be served as soda pop. Go to blue box.
2.) Average American beer strength (6% or 12 proof) Go to lavender box.
3.) As much as possible, which is the amount of alcohol in wine (12% or 24 proof) or double that of the average American beer. Go to beige box

As little alcohol as necessary to carbonate soda pop and no more

   1. Strain the liquid mash through cotton flannel or 2 layers of cheesecloth/muslin [* see below] to remove the roughage. (Use it to make bread or a second batch of ale.)
   2. Pour the clean fitered liquid back into the 3-liter plastic soda pop bottle, or divide it into smaller plastic soda pop bottles. Leave a few inches of airspace.
   3. Put on plastic screw-on bottle top and tighten securely.
   4. Leave at room temperature.
   5. As soon as plastic bottle(s) becomes firm to the touch and cannot be squeezed, refrigerate and drink within 1 or 2 days.
 

Average beer strength alcohol

(This is the most difficult to achieve, and you will probably have to use some trial and error to determine what works best for your conditions.)

   1. Continue to cover the bottle with an airlock (see below). Leave at room temperature and let it continue to ferment for 2-3 days.
   2. Strain the liquid and mash through cotton flannel or 2 layers of cheesecloth/muslin [* see below] to remove the roughage. (Use it to make bread or a second batch of ale.)
   3. Pour the clean fitered liquid back into the 3-liter plastic soda pop bottle, or divide it into smaller plastic soda pop bottles. Leave a few inches of airspace.
   4. Put on plastic screw-on bottle top and tighten securely.
   5. Leave at room temperature.
   6. As soon as plastic bottle(s) becomes firm to the touch and cannot be squeezed, refrigerate and drink within 3 days


As much alcohol as possible

   1. Continue to cover the bottle with an airlock (see below). Leave at room temperature and let it continue to ferment for 6-7 days, or until fermentation has ceased.
   2. Strain the liquid and mash through cotton flannel or 2 layers of cheesecloth/muslin [* see below] to remove the roughage. (Add it to bread dough.)
   3. Pour the clean fitered liquid back into the 3-liter plastic soda pop bottle and add 1/2 cup of raw honey or other raw sugar(s), or sugar syrup.
   4. Top up with water to 3-4 inches from the top of the bottle so that total liquid is about 2 4/5 liters or quarts.
   5. Divide into smaller plastic soda pop bottles if desired. Leave a few inches of airspace in each bottle.
   6. Put on screw-on bottle top(s) and tighten securely.
   7. When bottle(s) are firm to the touch and cannot be squeezed, refrigerate and drink within a week.


See Poor Richard's Ale or 
for beer made with corn meal (polenta)

Airlocks

Airlocks are anything that will keep out bugs but let gas escape. When I first started making wine, I used store-bought airlocks. When those broke, I found I could use plain plastic sheet secured with a sturdy rubber band. You can also use cloth, especially if you are hoping for a wild yeast fermentation. I also discovered it worked just as well to close the plastic soda pop screw-on top and then loosen it every once in a while to let out the gas buildup, or to screw it on just a tiny bit loose. Use whichever of these methods appeals to you.

airlock

It's okay to brew in glass, but I carbonate everything in plastic soda pop bottles. The advantages to this are that plastic doesn't risk accidentally exploding, sending long pieces of sharp, pointy glass into your flesh, and it's easier to check on carbonation by squeezing a plastic bottle. A traditional method, before glass or screw-on tops were invented, was to add some raisins to the brewing liquid and to measure carbonation by when they floated to the top.

Filtering Through Cheesecloth/Muslin or Cotton Flannel


Your choice of filter will determine the clarity of your final ale. Two layers of cheesecloth or muslin will produce an average, somewhat "cloudy" ale with a grain sediment. If you want to produce a "company beer" that is clearer (less nutritious, but looks more like regular beer), use a proper cotton flannel jelly bag and let it drain overnight without squeezing, and add a quarter cup more raw honey or other raw sugar syrup. If you want a thicker "peasant" ale, full of raw sprout nutrition, to drink with meals, for example, use a single layer of cheesecloth or muslin and squeeze it thoughougly to filter out only the largest clumps of ground sprouts/dates. This would be the best thing to do if you aren't going to make bread and want to get the most food value out of your grains.


How Long Will It Take Until First Sign of Fermentation?

3-4 days is the average, but there are so many variables, that is meaningless in practice. Yeast are living things and can take as long as they want to take, especially at the beginning when they are first learning how to eat the food you're giving them. I've made brews that didn't start fermenting for weeks and I'd given up on them and thought it was a dud only to walk by one day and see a strong fermentation with an inch of foam on top that grew there overnight.


Squeezing to test for fermentation/carbonation


Squeeze bottle(s) to check if ale is carbonated. When plastic feels firm and cannot be squeezed, ale is carbonated.
This bottle is not ready.This bottle can still be squeezed and is not yet ready to drink.



Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice.
This is a good book if you like learning about indigenous customs and following natural cycles. Includes using coconut oil, a rootbeer recipe that calls for only 2 tablespoons of sassafras and easy and delicious corn fritters.
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. 
Truly Cultured Rejuvenating Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harr Buhner


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