George Washington, Brewer: His Recipe for "Small Beer"

The resources for the study of George Washington at The New York Public Library are important, and include such singular icons as the autograph manuscript of the great man's Farewell Address to his fellow citizens upon leaving the Presidency. But certainly the most effervescent item of Washingtoniana in The New York Public Library is the first President's personal recipe for "small beer," which appears in the notebook dating from 1757 that Washington kept while he served as a colonel in the Virginia militia.

To make Small Beer

Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste. "” Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gallons into a Cooler, put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler & strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold, cover it over with a Blanket & let it work in the Cooler 24 hours. Then put it into the Cask "” leave the Bung[hole] open till it is almost done working "” Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed

George Washington. "To Make Small Beer." From Washington's Notebook as a Virginia Colonel, 1757.
The New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division.

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