Beer Brewing by the Natives of East Africa

Published in LETTERS on BREWING – Journal of Hantke’s Brewing School (1902)

From Prof. George Volkens’ well known book of travels, entitled , “Der Kilimandschora,” (Berlin, 1897), we take the following interesting description from the “Tageszeitung fuer Brauerei”: 

It seems that the preparation of beer, even if the same materials are generally used, is not carried out in the same manner in the various localities, which without doubt is the reason for the fact that the finished product in the several provinces is of varying quality, according to the taste of the Europeans and according to that of the natives. In Marangu, near Mareale, I saw the following process in operation: Upon a frame – work about five feet high, several planks about one meter long and one-half meter wide, were set up side by side at a slight angle, in an inclined position. On either side a small board about five inches high was fastened, and the planks were covered with fresh banana leaves in such a way that they also extended somewhat below the lower end of the planks, where they were formed into a funnel. Over the tops of the boards a trough having small holes at regular intervals was fastened. Upon the boards a mass of ripe crushed bananas was spread in a uniform layer; under the banana-leaf funnel there was a clay jug and a stream of water was led into the trough out of a jug which had an outlet pipe and was set in a higher position. In several small streams water flowed through the holes and percolated through the pulpy mass and arrived as a sugary and turbid juice in the jug. At the same time in an open shed, situated nearby, several jugs were placed over the fire upon small hearths, each made of three stones. The contents of the jugs was one-half water and one-half sediment of ripe Eleusinian kernels. I could not wait for further developments, but I was told that later the cold banana juice and this hot extraction were poured together and allowed to ferment for a short time. Doubtless the finished beer, as we learned through our own experience. is a good, sound and nourishing drink. It will bring on intoxication only when taken to great excess, as the Wadschagga and their chiefs occasionally do.”

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