Hey folks, its that time of year if you're an herb grower: they're ready, dry, and... now what? See, I hear about herbed beers all the time, but I've tasted very few. Most people don't bring them in here to brag about them, so I'm wondering:
What success levels have people had with the "odd herbs?" I mean, sure, coriander and oj peel are normal enough (on a wit), but lavender, rose hips, or what? I've seen and heard of so many of these beers -- confession time? How did they go? Any tips before I do something crazy?
Okay, fine, I'll go first. ;-)
First, I've had a couple of other people's rose beer that has been amazing. Loads of vit-C in the hips, so certainly they get a touch tart. If someone would share a recipe, that would be really cool... (I'm fishing for one, he knows who he is...).
Nettle: I've had a terrific batch of nettle beer. No idea where to go with that either. I've been adventurous, but never jumped in to this direction.
So here's the wacky concept. I like stouts and I like chocolate, especially with lavender. I wish it would be ready for the beer trail event at city steam, but it won't... unless I get lucky. I'll report here with the recipe if it is worth repeating!
Anyone with advice on how to get that in there? Tea, added to secondary? That's what I'm thinking... but would like to hear some consensus. I guess I'm typically more conventional than this (ha)!
This book is a great place to start with herbal beers: http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Herbal-Healing-Beers-Fermentation/dp/0...
I think the reason a lot of people dont do it is because herbs can very easily overpower anything you are fermenting. Making a tea with the herbs you want to try seems a good idea before brewing it. Take a good beer of the type you want to make...stout, ale, lager whathaveyou and add a small amount of the lavender/rosehips/mint/corriander/allspice or whatever you want and stir around and smell and taste :)
This really is a fairly untouched part of commercial craft brewing....maybe i should go make a lavender lager just because it is fun to say! lavenderlager lavenderlager
Dogfish head does have a few beers with herbs in them, Ta Henket http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/occasional-rarities/... has chamomile and other middle eastern herbs...caught the discovery channel show brew masters episode where they went to egypt to get the ingredients for this one :)
That's a good call; I forget about that book. I guess I've had too many brews from there that were... questionable... from the recipes (or loose interpretations of them).
I'm still mulling over how to best achieve the lavender. Too easy for lavender to go "hyper clean" and taste like soap.
Totally with you: lavender lager is fun. I'd say low attenuation on a 95%+ vienna base... maybe a hint of wheat & just a dash of aromatic. Oh man! Now I've got something else to play with.
Thanks for the thoughts!
I'm also interested in this - but from a more practical perspective.
Had an interesting conversation with a doctor this morning. I'm being treated for migraines that just came on suddenly a few months ago, and today I mentioned to the doc that I'm a homebrewer. He's apparently a firm believer in using herbal remedies to supplement more traditional medicines, and he recommended using an herb called feverfew and another called butterbar to help with the headaches - and suggested adding them to my brews.
Needless to say, I was surprised to hear this suggestion - I figured the immediate recommendation would be to nix the drinking altogether. But it got me thinking, what might these things add to a beer? What brews might they go better with? Has anyone out there ever heard of either of them, and do you know what kind of flavors they might impart?
just noticed this thread, wish I could have got to it earlier.
somewhere buried inside the internets is a recipe Sierra Nevada made for their homebrewer's class they do once a year. They made a beer called Longstem IPA made with rose hips and rose petals. I have the PDF if anyone is interested and have brewed it a couple times. They were spot on with their amounts, but I've had a little fun with the recipe and can attest for some of the crazier things.
- Rose Hips. Great smell, adds a citrusy quality to the beer, something that I think they paired with Centennial to absorb the shock.
- Rose petals. VERY bitter, chew on one! I've dry-hopped with them as well as made an 'extract' with vodka. I recommend the latter, though I've done both. Dry-hopping will give you a greater aroma, but if left for a long time can add some strange protein to the beer (impossible to bottle with!)
- Rose Water. From what I gather, the strength of this changes wildly among brands. I've tasted a few nice ones mostly from smaller foreign food markets/stores. Can be used to increase the bitterness, and lend a slight rose aroma. Drink it first to see how bitter it is. Some people like it, some people hate it.
One main thing I've learned. You're going with the flavor for the rose hips, and the aroma for the rose petals. Just the aroma provides enough of a sensation that you perceive it as taste.
Lavender is WAYYYY stronger than Roses. When people tell you they have a beer that has rose and lavender and it smells like 'grandma's perfume', it's most likely the lavender.
My experience with teas is dry-hopping with them is best. That will give you the freshest tea flavor. I've done some experiments with throwing in at flameout, but the fermentation scrubs a lot of it. Things like coriander benefit from the hot steep, but teas are delicate. You don't want to throw in a green tea at flameout, it's most likely too hot at that point anyway. Tea is like coffee when brewing with it, you can use it at almost any point, but it's more delicate.