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Ancient Kemetans Created Beer!

Black History Never Taught!

Beer was a result of the African Agricultural Revolution (c. 10,000 BC), as fermentation was an by-product of the gathering of wild grain. It's said that it was ancient Kemet that discovered us fermentation for liquids and its potential as a beverage, as a matter of fact the ancient Kemetans had a saying for the meaning of the good life “Beer and Bread” It is also clear the manufacturing of and perfection of beer was an active choice and the ancient Egyptians produced and consumed it in huge volumes.

Considering the value the ancient Egyptians placed on enjoying life, it is no surprise that they are known as the first civilization to perfect the art of brewing beer. Indeed, the earliest information available from the North Africa and the Middle East indicates that humans knew how to make bread and beer by 6000 bc. Classical Greek writers credited the Egyptians with having invented beer (an assertion with which modern Assyriologists would contend, and justly so but their take on it never gained popularity with the masses like the Kemetan varieties).Kemetans were perfectionists and there was no way the Egyptians would be making beer in such quantities if it was not good! Think of it as Beer is to Kemet as France is to wine.

In ancient Kemet, beer was so essential it was treated principally as a type of food – it was consumed daily and in great quantities at religious festivals and celebrations. Beer was an essential for labourers, like those who built the pyramids of Giza, who were provided with a daily ration of 1⅓ gallons (over 10 pints). Yet it still had divine status, with several gods and goddesses associated with beer. Hathor, the goddess of love, dance and beauty, was also known loosely translated as 'The Lady of Being Tipsy'.

In many Museum's Kemetan galleries, you can see models excavated from tombs which show wooden figures of brewers straining mash through a cloth into ceramic vessels. This visual clue, instructed researchers to use a two-stage mash, which was then left to ferment in a vessel containing a harvested yeast culture. The advantage of a two-stage mash is its simplicity. The cold mash is made using ambient temperature water and a malted, ground grain. This mash will contain all the active enzymes required to convert starch to sugar. The second mash, which is processed at the same time, consists of ground, unmalted grain. This is mixed with hot water and further heated.

There is evidence of heat exposure on ceramic brewing vessels found in Egypt. It is unlikely that earthenware would be heated above 80 degrees (as it would compromise the material), so this was the temperature to which was heated the hot portion of the mash. Heating grain to this temperature allows the starches present to unravel, but kills the enzymes. By preparing the two mixtures separately and then combining them, both the accessible starches and the enzymes required to convert them are present in the final mix.

The hot mash and the cold mash were mixed together and left to cool, so that the enzymes could start to convert the starches in the grains to fermentable sugars. When cool, the mash was sieved of any residual grain, directly into the terracotta fermenting vessel, which had been pre-inoculated with a harvested yeast strain. More warm water was used to rinse remaining starches and sugars to form the grains. The vessel was covered with a muslin cloth and left to ferment. The resulting deep dark beer would have been drunk while still actively fermenting from the ceramic vessel itself.

It was not long until beer was mass produced by Kemetans. Archaeologists working in the ancient city of Hierakonpolis discovered five ceramic vats containing residues consistent with brewing beer. About 6000 years ago, people in the African city of Nekhen, the city of the Falcon God Horus did something that’s still a very popular activity today: they brewed and drank beer. We know this because archaeologists examining the area near the ruins of a cemetery for the African nobility discovered a structure containing five ceramic vats that would have been heated from below. Residues in the vats confirmed that they had once made beer.

It’s estimated that if these five vats were operating at the same time, 325 liters would have been produced daily, which is equal to 650 cans of Budweiser. Kemetan ancient beer would have tasted very different from what our modern palates are used to. The Kemetan (Called Egyptian by the Greeks) beer makers did use malted wheat and barley in the brewing process. But no one had discovered carbonation yet. So the resulting brew was an unfiltered malt beverage with a low alcohol content. So Egyptians were probably not prone to alcoholism or excess.

Thick, dark deposits from the vats were confirmed by chemical analysis to be the product of beer making and not some other fermented food. The tests also revealed other ingredients ancient Egyptians put in their beer. The researchers found a high concentration of the amino acid proline, which is abundant in dates and some other fruits.This result suggests that dates could have been used in the beer for flavor or sweetening.

Hops—which are a cheaper modern flavoring and a preservative which contributes a bitterness to modern beer—weren’t added to beer until medieval times.The use of hops the green cone-shaped flowers, or “inflorescence,” of the Humulus lupulus plant. was unknown to the ancient Egyptians) probably because it has its origins in northern Europe and there were no Europeans in Egypt at that time,so we think that they used phosphoric acid to preserve their beer. The residues were indeed high in phosphoric acid, a product of barley grains added during the fermentation process. Phosphoric acid is often used today to prolong the shelf life of alcoholic beverages.

Phosphoric acid via barley would have made it possible to mass-produce beer, store it for extended periods and even transport it—all consistent with the important role beer played in ancient Kemetan society. It not only provided hydration and nutrition but was also part of religious rituals among the nobility. Beer was generally known as “Hqt” (“heqet” or “heket”) to ancient Kemet, but was also called “tnmw” (“tenemu”) and there was a type of beer known as haAmt (“kha-ahmet”). The determinative of the word Hqt (beer) was a beer jug.It is no exaggeration to say that beer was of central importance to ancient Kemetan society. Beer was enjoyed by both adults and children, was the staple drink of poor Kemetans but was also central to the diet of wealthy Kemetans. The gods were often made offerings of beer, and beer was mentioned in the traditional offering formula. Wages were often paid in beer (and other supplies) and the workmen living in the worker’s village at Giza received beer three times a day as part of their rations. ancient Kemetan beer was not particularly intoxicating. Rather it was nutritious, thick and sweet. However, it is clear that beer could also be as intoxicating as wine, as participants in the festivals of Bast, Sekhmet and Hathor would get very drunk as part of their worship of these goddesses. A popular myth tells how beer saved humanity when Sekhmet (in her role as the “Eye of Ra”) was tricked into drinking colored beer which she mistook for blood and became very drunk, passing out for three days! The goddess Sekhmet had the head of a lioness. The Ancient Kemetans worshiped her as the goddess of healing and medicine. Her name means “powerful,” and Sekhmet was also the goddess of war, who fought and destroyed

many enemies of the sun god Ra. In battle she entered a fierce rage that could only be calmed by drinking blood. In one myth, her battle rage almost caused her to wipe out the human race. Ra fooled her into drinking beer, dyed red to look like blood, to calm her down.

Although the above three goddesses were closely associated with beer, it was Tjenenet who was the official ancient Egyptian goddess of beer.Tjenenet (Tjenenyet, Tenenit, Tenenet) was the wife of Montu during the Middle Kingdom along with Iunit. When Amun became the state god and was linked to Montu she was absorbed by Mut although she was still referred to in connection with Montu-Ra.Montu was a falcon-god of war in ancient Egyptian religion, an embodiment of the conquering vitality of the pharaoh.To study Montu was to study the Kemetan way of fighting the way of Spirit/Soul of Ra, or Ka of Ra in Martial Arts. Ka, in ancient Egyptian religion, with the ba and the akh,is a principal aspect of the soul of a human being or of a god. In modern times it would represent harnessing life energy or “Chi” this was taught 3000 years before the first dynasty of China existed! Our earliest evidence of any kind of brewing is chemical traces of a rice wine drink made in China using fruit juices and rice, going back to about 7000 BC.

Bread that was leavened most believe did originate in ancient Kemet. Our earliest evidence of leavened bread comes from ancient Kemet. Our earliest direct evidence of anything bread-like is a type of cracker which comes from around 14,000 years ago in the Levant.Levant refers to an area that at the time was a tributary to Egypt/Kemet called Phoenica it encompassed by what is today Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. A tributary was originally a person or state that owed tribute to a more powerful person or state. Canaan is another ancient name of this region which is reasonably close to Kemet but not actually Kemet itself. That “bread” appears to have been a sort of flatbread or cracker, not a plump, soft raised loaf of the sort we’re used to. Our evidence for anything bread-like outside of Kemet is pretty spotty.

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