Monday, 4 April 2011

Brewing again....but not your average beer

Its another sunny day off work and as I promised in my last blog post, this one will be about my latest dive into beer brewing. " But Matthew! Just what is your latest brew?? After keeping us in suspense for over a week, We just cant take it any more!" I here you cry, (I like to make myself feel good O.K) well its a 5.5% ABV wheat beer (yes again, but I had ingredients left over to use up) but I'm going medieval on your asses and instead of using trusty old hops, I'm going to be flavouring it with stinging nettles, dandelion leaves, honey (and yes I know....again!!) and juniper Berries. O.K. Now I can hear cries of " Why the hell are you brewing that for you sick bastard!?" and "That's going to taste like green tea crap you stupid pillock" but Ive looked into it and all of these ingredients have all at some point been used to flavour and preserve beer, but unfortunately have all but died out since the introduction of hops in the 16t century, and I for one think its about time beer flavored with these plus a hole range of other wild and forgotten about herbs, plants and botanicals get brewed again.

First task on my list of things to do was to go out into the wild and often treacherous countryside of Rye and pick myself some dandelion leaves and stinging nettles, and let me tell you wasn't as fun as it sounds. The sun was out and the walk was nice but lets just say that the nettles lived up to their bloody name...I knew I should of worn gloves. When I got my merry self home (well O.K. I wasn't THAT merry...fucking nettles) I cleaned my greens and all my brewing equipment and got on with brewing ye beer. I wont go into the full brewing procedures 'cause the details of it really isn't interesting, but I made a base beer that was pretty similar to the banana, maple syrup bla bla bla wheat beer I made last time but just a tad weaker and also, in a step that's different from standard practice, but I read was the best thing to do, I boiled the flavourings separately from the wort and blended the two together when ready and poured into the fermentor ready to cool down so I can add the yeast.

Pretty simple brew in the end, I just have to give it 10 days or so to ferment and then I can bottle this little number...but then I have to wait at least another 3 weeks to try it :(. I'm going to call this batch "Britannia beer" as I got the idea to brew it wile playing a board game called Britannia (which is kind of like Risk, but set between the roman invasion of Britain and ends with the Normans coming in at 1066) with some friends at the pub. These guys will also be lucky (or maybe unlucky?) first tasters of this brew aswell

Well that's it from me today. Take care all and tutty bye.


  1. Hello, wandered over via the pub website/blog. :-)

    I think I remember you mentioning Fraoch before now, have you encountered Kelpie or Alba or the other William Bros historic ales? Kelpie is made with seaweed, similar sort of direction to nettles etc. Nice to know it's possible to make just about anything alcoholic with a bit of thought. ;-)

  2. Hi!! thanks for reading :) yeah I've tried the whole range of William Bros historic beers and I think there all great!! I wish more breweries would branch out into brewing without hops, with brewers such as Brew Dog and Sierra Nevada championing hops it would be nice for someone else to do the same for the alternative plants etc... to brew with.

  3. Graham Chillingworth6 April 2011 at 02:23

    Save some for me Matt!


  4. Captain Spanner6 April 2011 at 05:16

    This stuff sounds great, Matt! I've only just found the blog, and plan on reading back over the processes and so forth - do you want to see if I can get a photocopy of my mum's version of the book of the blue flame? Mostly quick-distill liquors, but it occurs to me that you might find some interesting stuff in there...