How to Make Zambian Honey Beer
What you need:
A calabash (gourd) or any other container N. B: a Calabash speeds up the fermentation process.
Ingredients (in parts by weight):
0.5 part sprouted maize or millet
0.5 part crushed brood comb
1 part comb honey or liquid honey
4 parts water
- Pound lightly the sprouted maize and pour the contents in the calabash.
- Brewers brew can also be used though fermentation is slow and takes longer, some use roasted maize grit.
- Add some crushed brood comb or bee milk or royal jelly.
- Add 1 part water
- Leave overnight in a warm place to activate the fermentation process
- Add 4 parts warm water
- 1 part sealed comb honey (crushed)
- Put the calabash with its contents in a warm place
- After 2 hours the fermentation should start
- You can tell if the fermentation is taking place by observing rapid bubbles coming out of the calabash.
- The broth should appear boiling.
NB: the first and second batches of honey beer are slower in fermentation since the starter or inoculant (sprouted maize/ brood comb) is still building up. Reusing the starter and the calabash will allow much faster fermentation.
- The first honey beer brew takes about 12 hours to be ready.
- The second beer brew takes about 10 hours.
- Continuous brewing of the honey beer using the same calabash reduces the time when the honey beer is ready to 6-8 hours.
- The starter can only be replaced after 3 months of continuous use of the calabash. Or you can add more starter when the fermentation process slows down.
Things to note:
- The mixtures should be in correct proportions as described above.
- Using calabash assures you 90% good results
- Too much brood can cause acidity and off flour in the beer.
- Too much sprouted maize can make the honey beer sour and rendered useless.
- Using ordinary buckets prolongs the fermentation process to days or even weeks and there is no guarantee that you will get good results.
- Too much honey in the mixture may slow down the fermentation process until the brew becomes sour or remain too sweet for days.
- Too much water causes the beer to be very sour and set your teeth on the edge.
- The water for the mixture should be lukewarm.
- Too hot water will spoil the broth and the fermentation will not take place and the brew becomes sour.
- Too cold the water for the mixture slows down the fermentation process until the honey beer becomes sour and useless.
Honey beer is used or taken:
- During the initiation ceremonies when boys/girls reach mature age.
- During traditional chiefs ceremonies
- As in kind payments for cultivating or harvesting fields.
- When on a long walking journey.
- After a day's hard work
- Some people go to bed early and start drinking honey beer at 03:00 in the morning and by 06:00 they are ready for physical or manual work.
Bob Malichi, Apimondia Congress, Dublin, August 2005