Thursday, June 18, 2015

Homebrewers, have you used yarrow?

A friend who is a homebrewer mentioned yarrow in beer. I hadn't thought about it for years, not since Paul Nevitt earned the title "Father of Herbal Brewing."

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Dedicated to the revival of Gruit Ale, the beer which stimulates the mind, creates euphoria and enhances sexual drive.

In a not so distant past, beer was brewed with an extended and varied array of botanical ingredients. Herbs, roots and spices where used by our European ancestors in order to give their beers distinct tastes, flavours and properties. These botanicals where sometimes referred to as Gruit, hence Gruit Ale. Today however, beer is almost exclusively brewed with only one, single herb addition: Hops.

If any of you decide to brew with yarrow, please do me a favor and save a bottle for me.

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)


Parts used: The whole plant, preferably dried leaves and flowers.

Aroma & taste: A rather bitter, astringent taste with a mild aroma. Its taste is not overwhelming and is quite delicious in brewing, especially if the aromatics are brought into the ale.

Brewing method: Yarrow brings both a complementary bittering action and preservative action through its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. The tannins and astringent action being stronger in the leaves, these should be boiled as with hops. On the other hand, the flowering head of the plant contains delicate aromatics that would be lost in the boil, hence it is recommended to steep the flowers in the hot wort as it cools, or simply add them to the fermentation vessel in the same manner as dry hopping.

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