The bare minimum ingredients.
You need sugar (for yeast to eat) and you need yeast (to convert the sugar to alcohol). You need malt, which has an enzyme that makes the conversion possible. What’s missing here that you’ll find in most beers is hops, which provides a bitterness to the drink that gives it a “crisp” flavor, performing essentially the same role in beer that caffeine plays in cola.
From the box of A.D. from Lutz, Florida, by way of Pennsylvania in the 1940s, and originating in Ohio in the 1920s.
1 can malt
3 lb. sugar
1 cake Fleischmann’s yeast
2-1/2 gal. boiling water
2-1/2 gal. cold water
(Extra sugar for bottles)
Open can of malt and set in boiling water and stir until thick enough to pour. Then pour into water and remove from fire and add sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Then pour into jar and add cold water–this should make the entire mixture lukewarm.
Then add yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water (don’t add yeast to mixture too hot or too cold).
Let stand until it has entirely quit working, which takes from 72 to 80 hours or 3 or 4 days. Then bottle.
Put 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in each bottle. Run beer from jar to bottles through small rubber hose, being careful not to rile the beer up. Let stand 24 to 48 hours in bottles before drinking.