During the early American Revolutionary War, Continental Army lacked strong central command and was made up of state-run militias operating independently of each other. Each militia operated by its own rules and regulations and there was very little standardization or guidance for the duties and responsibilities of soldiers and officers.  In 1777, Friedrich von Steuben was introduced to Benjamin Franklin at Versailles.  Franklin wrote a letter of recommendation to George Washington volunteered Von Steuben’s military experience as a senior officer in the Army of Fredrick of Prussia. In 1778, Von Steuben met Washington for the first time at the winter camp in Valley Forge.  Washington was instantly impressed with Von Steuben’s military bearing and forceful personality.

By mid-March 1779, Von Steuben personally started training a 100-man guard company in the basics of soldiering. Von Steuben taught not just the fundamentals of military drill but also sanitation, military bearing and decorum and instilled the army not just with skills modern European soldiers but also the pride and camaraderie.  When the army marched out of Valley Forge, it was transformed from a ragtag band of ruffians who fled before the disciplined army of Britain to a competent effective fighting force that stood its ground and prevailed at Monmouth.  The horror of retreating across New Jersey and fleeing the British Regulars had ended and now the American cause had a real army that could meet Britain on the field and prevail.

For his accomplishments at Valley Forge, Washington appointed Von Steuben the title of Inspector General of the Army in 1779. Later that year, Von Steuben began organizing his ideas into print and by summer of 1779, Von Steuben’s publication, “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States,” was ready to be printed. Due to the war, however, there was a scarcity of paper. The first printer decided to bind the book with the blue paper he had on hand. This is how the book got the nickname: The Blue Book. In March of 1779, Congress endorsed it and ordered it to be used throughout the Army. Many of the state militias also adopted the Blue Book. In 1792, Washington pushed through the Uniformed Militia Act, which included the use of Von Steuben’s regulations.

The Blue Book’s guidelines on personnel management replaced the British model of class and station. Instead, Von Steuben melded all the ranks into a unified force, founded on an inflexible but even-handed chain of command. Von Steuben simplified his writings, putting in plain language what needed to be learned, how to teach it, and why. The U.S. Army’s discipline nearly matched that of the best professional European armies.

In honor of Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben, the Baron Von Steuben and Inspector General of the Continental Army, the man who as Drillmaster of Valley Forge, fundamentally transformed the Continental Army into a formidable, effective, and unified military, we have a traditional Düsseldorf Altbier.  After all, George Washington fully understood the need for drink in maintaining the esprit d corps of the army — “The benefits of moderate use of liquor have been experienced in all armies and are not to be disputed.  There should always be a sufficient quantity of spirits with the army, to furnish moderate supplies to the troops…such as when they are marching in hot or cold weather, in camp in wet, on fatigue or in working parties, it is so essential that it is not to be dispensed with.

Recipe Specs

  • Batch Size (G):           6.1
  • Total Grain (lb):         13.000
  • Total Hops (oz):          3.00
  • Original Gravity (OG):    1.054  (°P): 13.3
  • Final Gravity (FG):       1.012  (°P): 3.1
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV):  5.46 %
  • Colour (SRM):             14.8   (EBC): 29.2
  • Bitterness (IBU):         36.3   (Tinseth)
  • Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
  • Boil Time (Minutes):      60

Grain Bill

  • 9.5 lb American – Pilsner (73.08%)
  • 3 lb American – Munich – Dark 20L (23.08%)
  • 0.25 lb American – Chocolate (1.92%)
  • 0.25 lb Maple Syrup (1.92%)

Hop Bill

  • 1 oz Cascade Pellet (7% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
  • 1 oz Cascade Pellet (7% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
  • 1 oz Cascade Pellet (7% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma) (0.2 oz/Gal)

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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