Winter Herb-Beer

Ever since my Licorice Ale was ready about a week ago, I had my eyes set on producing another homebrew. Best not to run out of anything, right? At least that is my train of thought. Like a lot of the other beers that I have made (some of which featuring the mathamatical and logistical skills of Robert Nagy) this one was contemplated for a long while, although the fine tunings of how much/when to add it/how long to have it boiling were finalized on a whim. But that’s fine with me, I have developed a bit of a liking for haphazard beers that come together as they are being made. It’s sort of like with cooking. As long as you know the basics, you can’t really go wrong.

This recipe has quite a bit in it. I was originally going to use just Cascade hops and the seeds of the wild carrot plant (Daucus carota) to provide flavour and bittering, but at the last minute decided to include some other herbs/ingredients that I had lying around and probably were not going to use for anything anyways.

Batch size: 4 gallons. Ingredients: 4 gallons water, 4.4 pounds (1.5 litres) liquid amber malt extract, 50 grams Cascade hops, 3 ounces dried and crushed wild carrot seed, 1 ounce dried yarrow (Achilles millefolium) flowers, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 irish moss tablet and ale yeast.

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The hot wort cooling down outside next to the bbq.

Instructions: I brought 1.5 gallons of water to a boil on the stove and then added all of the liquid malt extract, stirring in order to avoid the malt sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Right after I added all of the hops, and then started the timer at 20 minutes. After letting the hops/malt to boil for 5 minutes, I added 1 irish moss tablet and then allowed the wort to boil for another 5 minutes.

With 10 minutes remaining, I added the yarrow flowers and wild carrot seeds, stirring to dissolve them and to ensure even cooking. After another 5 minutes, I added the sprigs of rosemary and let the wort boil for the last 5 minutes. Then I transfered the wort (with all of the ingredients still in it) outside near the door to cool down. I waited about 5 or 6 hours for the wort to cool to room temperature (18-23 degrees C / 65-75 degrees F) and then strained the wort into a sterilized glass carboy where fermentation will take place.

Since I only brought 1.5 gallons to a boil instead of trying to boil all 4 gallons of water at once, which is totally impractical unless you have all the right equipment, I needed to top up this concentrated wort with 2.5 gallons of water to bring it up to a grand total of 4 gallons. Then, in went the yeast and on with the airlock. Process complete.

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Yeast freshly pitched into the room temperature wort.

Progress: In less than 24 hours this beer was feverishly fermenting and has started to taper off now (I made this on Thursday night and now it is Monday afternoon) so I estimate that by the middle of this week it will be done fermenting and ready to be added to bottles to condition and carbonate. Today (Tuesday) the activity has almost completely stopped. Note: home brewing is extra fantastic.

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