Herbal Remedy #1

One of my most prized brewing books is Stephen Harrod Buhner’s Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, an incredibly detailed read documenting ancient and indigenous uses of medicinal plants in fermentation. I was bitten by the bug of attempting to use plants other than hops in brewing, and this attempt was my first effort.

My 36th batch was simply crafted in late January with 4 lbs of liquid malt extract, 1 lb of raw honey, 0.5 oz of wormwood, 0.5 oz of St. Johns Wort, and 3 ounces of yarrow. The herbs were sourced from Free Verse Farm in Chelsea, VT, and the ale was fermented with Safale-05 yeast.

The product resulted in a pleasant gold, crystal clear, effervescent ale. When drunk super fresh, the drinker would perceive a blindingly bitter flavor from the wormwood additive, nearly undrinkable for most normal normal palates. Though as the bottles aged, the bitter flavor dissolved into a less bitter grapefruit-like taste, without any of the fruit sweetness.

I’ve already iterated on the formula, the second one made without wormwood and using Crisp Pale Ale malt as it’s backbone. Tomorrow’s iteration will reduce the wormwood additive by 50%, and use much more pale ale malt to boost the alcohol into the 7.5-8% range. Some orange and grapefruit zest might find its way into the brew as well.

About: Esteban

Esteban is the Editor in Chief of RantingEsteban.com. Check out his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @RantingEsteban, or send him an email.

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