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The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible: Making Beer, Wine, Liqueurs and Moonshine whiskey Paperback – June 27, 2000
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About the Author
Never nominated for sainthood, the author has spent his life in the most "gawdawful" places with some of the most interesting people imaginable. "Making your own" often meant using local ingredients and improvising your equipment. This thirst induced ingenuity produced some amazing and sometimes hilarious results. The characters, recipes, plans and instructions in this book are real, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. The war stories are all true and growing daily. An ex-Green Beret, Leon came to Alaska in 1973. Assigned to the U.S. Army Northern Warfare Training Center at Ft. Greely where he met his wife Scottie. The crew now includes a son, Leon Jr. studying for a degree in Computer Science and an incorrigible little green bird named Jessie who "punctuated" almost every page of the draft book.
Top customer reviews
Chapter 1 is a very basic introduction of basic fermentation process required to make all alcohols. Very light on science, but not glossing over anything important.
Chapter 2 details winemaking. This was my favorite chapter, as the author doesn't just stick with the basics, like grape wine, cider, and mead (honey wine). He details how just about anything that contains sugar/starches can be easily turned into wine, from straight sugar to tomatoes, to carrots, to milk. There is an extensive recipe list, all requiring very little money and equipment to make some very exotic "wines." Intermixed with the instruction is some great stories about milk wine bootlegging priests and what to do when you meet a bear in a blueberry patch. Great stuff!
Chapter 3 is dedicated to home brewing beer. Recipes for cheap, historical prohibition style beers are discussed as well as more conventional, high quality beers. Most of the brewing process is kept very simple and generic. While I liked this section for the prohibition recipes and exotics beers recipes like chicha, I would probably buy a more conventional home brewing book if you plan to get serious with home brewing. The methodology here seems more directed toward college students who want to brew at the lowest cost possible, or isolated people unable to get a conventional home brew kit in the mail. Not to take anything away from the authors methods- its just that most people don't do home brews out of necessity, but as a hobby.
Chapter 4 describes making your own home brewing equipment, as well as making your own malt. Like the previous chapter, this section is very interesting and is great for someone unable to get home brewing ingredients and equipment, or unable to afford them. However, very few of potential homebrewer's would go to the hassle of building a bottlecapper out of scraps of wood, when they are readily available for under $20. The section on making malt is very interesting, especially since this is a topic that most basic home brew books avoid.
Chapter 5 details basic whiskeys and many different distillation stills. The whiskey recipes themselves are traditional cheap bootleggers recipes. Real, aged whiskey is not describes, only prohibition liquor or high proof ethyl alcohol are mentioned. A variety of stills are described, from traditional pot stills, to simple stills made from modern kitchen gear like pressure cookers, crock pots, and tea kettles, to small portable stills made from a soldering iron. Enough information is given to create your own still, if that is legal where you live.
Chapter 6 is a simple chapter on making liqueurs from a base alcohol (vodka or your 'shine)and a variety of fruits, herbs, etc. This chapter is here for completeness, but does not contain anything unique like the previous chapters.
Overall, this book is perfect for diehard DIYers, cheapcollege students,people in remote parts of the world, or anybody who wants to make their own alcohol but doesn't want to get bogged down in the fun-killing science aspects. If you are thinking about making wine/beer/liquor but just aren't sure if you can handle it, this book is the perfect starting point.
If you drink your cocktails with your pinky finger extended, this is probably not the book for you. If you drink them from a mason jar, you have found your new favorite book!
If you require thousands of dollars worth of equipment, hydrometers, stainless steel pots, and yeast flown in from Europe, then this is not your book. If you want to make wine or moonshine using pots in your kitchen and tools in your garage, this is the book for you.
The book covers the basics in each category, wine making, mead, beer brewing and distilling. It gives hundreds of recipes to get you started. I am currently waiting for the dandelions to bloom so I can make a batch of dandelion wine. This is the first time in my life where I am actually hoping for plenty of dandelions on my lawn! I knew an old-timer many years ago that used to make his own wine and he used to make this great dandelion wine every spring. He passed away before I was smart enough to learn his secrets, hopefully this book will get me on the right track to figuring them out.
The book covers the basics. For instance in the wine making section it shows you how to make wine from water, sugar and yeast. Actually it recommends you start there to learn about the yeast and sugar connection. Then it tells you to make two wines using grape juice and two different yeasts so you can get a handle on how different yeasts completely change the end result. Then it moves you on up to actually using grapes. Even if you plan on making world class wines, you really would benefit from knowing all these basics.
In my opinion this is the place you should start if you are serious about making home made booze. I also think its a great book to get if you are one of the doomsday preppers out there. Or if you know someone that is, give them a copy of this book, I am sure they will appreciate it.
The fifth chapter gets to the bootlegging of the title and teaches you how to make your own whisky. As with his earlier chapters, Kania shows how you can make your own still and produced distilled liquors. This is not for the faint of heart, and he has a section on safety. The book concludes with a chapter on making your own liqueurs by steeping neutral alcohol (like vodka) with various fruits, nuts and other flavoring agents.
There are a number of appendices covering everything from alcohol content of various beverages to a collection of fermentation tips to safety information.
This is a great book for those who want to get into home fermentation, but don't have much experience and don't want to invest a lot of money.