Acorn Beer?

Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:07 pm

I was watching "How Beer Saved the World" on the Discovery Channel this evening. The show mentioned that when the Pilgrims ran out of provisions, they had the ingenuity to brew a beer out of acorns. Has anyone heard of this? How could one come up with a recipe to replicate this historical brew?

Thanks!

-TC
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crawfow
 
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Re: Acorn Beer?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:21 am

Before my cousin and I brewed beer, my grandfather talked about using acorns for all kindsa things like pies, garnish, and a good survival food if you get lost and have a fire to roast them. Another one he mentioned was beer, I think it was used as a flavor adder because it is soposed to taste like squash but a little bit more bitter.

I think it would be interesting to try. Also my grandmother has a ton of really old recipes, I will ask if she has any acorn ones next time.
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Re: Acorn Beer?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:05 am

I believe that acorns have an acrid bitterness to them, but native americans would use them in all sorts of foods by grinding them up and soaking the nut meat in water. They'd change the water out periodically to leach out the tannins and other compounds. I imagine something similar could be done to make beer, the meat would essentially be a starch source, I'd imagine that you'd need some quantity of base grain to convert it. A cereal mash of the nut meat would likely be in order.
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Re: Acorn Beer?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:30 am

@python - Sounds good man. The recipes would help figure out exactly how you process the acorns for a more palatable product.
@spider - I wonder if they ground up the entire acorn - sans the top stem? If they didn't, how the hell do you "shell" an acorn?
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Re: Acorn Beer?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:12 am

Acorn meat (yes, you have to shell it) can vary pretty wildly in its bitterness and taste. It's actually (according to a book I read years ago) kind of interesting- we've never domesticated the oak tree by making a cultivar that would produce consistently flavored acorns. You can blanch out the tannins by repeated soakings or cooking, which ends up being a ton of work for starch. But I'd love to taste beer somebody else made from acorns.
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Re: Acorn Beer?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:20 am

Wow, thanks for the info pfooti..I did a google search on "shelled acorns" and found info on how to process into flour! Next fall I want to attempt to brew an acorn beer!
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Re: Acorn Beer?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:50 pm

If you don't want to wait until fall, there is another way to do it. Many early recipes from the 17th & 18th centuries mention the use of newly emerged oak leaves. You need to use them before they fully open and get tough. Other early American bittering agents included the use of nettles. Again, using fresh shoots. The nettle shoots also make a nice tea.

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Re: Acorn Beer?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:08 pm

Hopefully you don't mean stinging nettles...plants that produce formic acid SUCK!
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