Well this is wholly unexpected post for a number of different reasons, the main being that I actually have something to show for an entirely last-minute experiment in October of last year (2015) when I decided to ferment some of the sweet cider that Heart’s Content Farm presses from the five ancient resident apple trees. There was honestly only about 2 minutes of thought put into the whole thing, and so to say the least I am very pleased with how it turned out. (more…)
Just in case you had any doubts I would like to officially announce my return to the art of brewing home fermented ales and meads after a short hiatus. Having been occupied last year with growing market vegetables over at Heart’s Content Organic Farm I have decided to make it more of a priority this year to no longer suppress my habitual urge to produce the sorts of herbal medicinal beverages that you ought to expect from an amateur botanist and forager. (more…)
3 days ago I made a spur of the moment decision, around 9 o’clock in the evening, to try my hand at making some fermented pickles. The idea has been swirling around my mind for quite a while, and I realized that there is no better time to start doing something then right now in the present moment. So, following my own advice (which is something that I desperately need to do more often) I decided to go for it and give it a shot.
I thought that it was going to take me hours, as I have pretty much no experience canning (until I initiated this experiment of course) but have read about it and heard others praise it for a long while. In the process, I realized rather quickly that is was simpler than I ever could have imagined. I quickly looked up a basic recipe which you can view right here although I modified it heavily. I treated it more as a guideline and collection of suggestions (which I suppose is a plausible definition of a recipe, no?) than an actual step-by-step procedure, mainly because I had different sized jars and a varied range of ingredients that I wanted to experiment with.
Compared with the rest of my increasingly lengthy list of experimental herbal beers, I find that my most recent Dreamer’s amber ale is the most tame in terms of flavor. I was hoping for that actually, so that my recipes would be more appealing to the average beer-drinker but still have the characteristics that separate it from the average and mundane. There is still enough of that lovable herbal funk too, which is great, and has unofficially become my personal touch and signature style. You can’t really go wrong with trying different herbs in beer, and I have only experimented with one or two recipes from what I remember that I wouldn’t have been perfectly happy to hoard all 5 gallons to myself. But that’s not what homebrewing is all about. I have received some fantastic reviews and feedback from friends and acquaintances among others, which demonstrates that there is potential for herbal beers to step back into the spotlight as they once were many centuries ago. Healing medicinal beers were once celebrated for both their therapeutic value and complex, diverse personalities.
The flavor is well rounded, balanced and fairly neutral which I am very pleased with. Many of my past herbal or gruit beers were always slightly on the sweet side, which isn’t a bad thing, but gets boring when you are generally a fan of more bitter IPA style ales and you continuously produce mildly sweet beers. I would love to make an herbal IPA sometime, perhaps to finally welcome this season’s delayed spring? I’ll focus on that in the weeks to come. I still have lots of Winter Sprucer (featuring white and blue spruce needles, chamomile flowers and hops) and Gotlandsdricka (brewed with 3 pounds of juniper boughs without hops) to keep me company over the next month or so. The aroma is sweet, resinous and akin to rose hips or raspberries. The flavor is slightly bitter with a hint of tartness and subtly floral.
An instant favorite. I could easily drink this all night, no problem. Wouldn’t get bored a single bit. I am definitely going to try this recipe again be adding more hops and Dreamer’s Delight to really see what kind of intensity I can produce from this mix of herbs and hops. Just as a re-cap, Dreamer’s Delight tea, which is the base mix of herbs featured in this beer and also the name’s sake, is made up of mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris), chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), catnip (Nepeta cataria), rose hips (Rosa sp.), peppermint (Metha x piperita), ginkgo leaf (Ginkgo biloba) and valerian root (Valeriana officinalis). You can read about the wealth of medicinal benefits that compliment this most delicious of night caps and the methodology that went into brewing it right HERE.