Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nettle/dandelion beer tasting

The beer has been in bottles for a few days, so today was the time to taste the finished product. I imagine, as with all beers, it will only get better with a little aging in the bottles, but I don't have the patience of a wine maker, or a Scotch maker. As long as there is a little yeast sediment in the bottle, it's ready in my opinion.

I poured a well-chilled bottle into one of our best beer steins. Two things came to note right away: one, the beer is not clear. I'm not too particular about that, but some people are. Second, there is no head. The beer was carbonated enough, but it didn't have the proteins from malted barley that produce a head of foam. I have had home brews that are hard to pour because of all the foam, so I don't necessarily consider the head to be everything.

The first thing that comes to mind when tasting a home brew for the first time is: Is it drinkable? Drinkable meaning it is anything better than Budweiser. And yes, it was very drinkable, although if your taste buds are expecting a watered down malted beverage, this would be a shock.

The flavor is very complex. I don't know if my taste buds are sophisticated enough to know what the nettles or dandelion greens contribute, but there is a green depth there I cannot describe. Also a definite tartness from the lemons and lemon zest; I might cut back on those if I make this again. And the ginger shows up in a good way. So imagine drinking a spiked lemony ginger ale with green earthy undertones.

Alcohol content? I didn't go the scientific route and take a hygrometer reading before and after. So I can only guess. It is there, but not overpowering. It was like an average beer.

All in all, it goes down more like a champagne than a beer. It was very fizzy, which means I added enough sugar before bottling. It is very light bodied. It is a beer to be enjoyed in the shade after a hot day's work tilling garden beds (which I did). It was very refreshing, with probably less aftertaste than a Diet Coke. I would definitely make it again. I have plenty of nettles and dandelions around.


Anonymous said...

How would it compare to a Boulevard Wheat?

There's clearly too much science in beer making for me to take it up as a hobby. I'll continue to buy my beer at the store and make a science of drinking it.


Jayne said...

What a great description Deb! I felt like I was right there with you tasting it, and I think it was great! :c)

elise said...

It sort of looks like apple cider...maybe a good thing if you ever wanted to be sneaky and not let anyone know you were drinking beer! Ha ha ha!

Deb said...

Paul- I'll have to get a Boulevard Wheat, do a side by side comparison, and let you know. Theirs is probably my favorite wheat beer.

Jayne- I wish you could be here drinking one with me!

Elise- I could put it in a bottle from some fancy organic fruit juice, and no one would ever know. :)

I'm enjoying another one now, and it was a bit fizzier (started bubbling out of the bottle when I opened it) and cloudier. And there was some strange blob that came out of the bottle- probably a former leaf that made it through the bottling process. But still very good.

Beer coolers said...

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webb said...

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Vicky said...

I've just bottled up my nettle beer and I am really not holding out much hope... but it only my first attempt at beer. If it turns out yuck.. I'll stick to winemaking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb,
I'm on the other side of the pond (UK) I've just bottled my batch up, it's looking just like yours is, sort of a golden with a tinge of green colour, certainly smelt very beery, there is a bit of sediment on the bottom, but it is clearing a bit (only 24 hrs in the bottles so far) I am determined to leave it for at least 10 days & maybe try & stretch that to 2 weeks if I can. I'll let you know. I was fun making it, the kids (Joe 12, Izzy 10) helped collect the nettles & dandelion heads & roots, my wife helped me put it all together. it was good fun the whole exercise. does your D&N (dandelion&nettle) beer give you a buzz? is it that strength? how long did you actually leave it before cracking one open & which recipe did you use?

thanks in advance, I might post my results to my blog too.



Deb said...

Hi Ed! I am looking forward to making another nettle beer in a couple of weeks when the nettles are up. The last one did have a bit of a kick to it, not more than an average beer but enough. I think I left it in the bottle about two weeks before tasting. I used a recipe from Stephen Harrod Buhner's book, "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers". If you don't have it, I would recommend finding a copy- it's a fascinating brewing resource. Enjoy yours, and I'll be checking up on your blog to see how it turns out!