Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birch Beer #1

I spent a small fortune on birch syrup to flavor and sweeten my brews. It's really molassesy. I want to keep the first experiment simple, but I can't resist a couple of other ingredients besides the birch. For a half gallon batch I'm going to try...

2 Tbsp course birch bark
1 Tbsp paper birch bark
1 Tbsp birch syrup
1 Tbsp wintergreen
1 tsp sassafras root
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 gal water
1/8 tsp ale yeast

At 65-68 degrees, this fermented for 5 1/2 days, giving it good carbonation, but not to the point of much head. It's pretty tasty. The test bottle seemed molassesy after 3 days, but with more carbonation and diacetyl from the fermentation, it's at a good level. It's quite sweet and buttery--with a less complex flavors than the 8-tree ale. Maybe a touch more sassafras wouldn't hurt, or some pine. This might be a good base recipe to compare the flavor of ale yeast vs. champagne yeast.

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