Foraged Nettle Beer - Nourishing Bitter Spring Tonic

April 5, 2016

Makes a Gallon of Foraged Spring Nettle Beer All Grain Beer:

Recipe is flexible and not exact so you can also put your own twist on it. Besides intuition is always the best ally and Whisky sipping can make for poor note taking.

Foraging season is well on its way with Elderflower now beginning to bloom after our lovely sunny week. Which gives away the next herbal home brew. I was foraging Stinging Nettles with our sons last week. My body craves Nettles each spring to get a shot of vitamins, nourish the blood, bones, liver and skin after a long winter.This winter was particularly rough with two unusually long bouts of sickness since January running through the whole family one after the other. The lone man standing was my partner Cédric who was sipping Brandy, Whisky, tinctures and his usual beer along with fermented foods to stay well. Just like my great grandparents who took a brandy tonic everyday as a nightcap to sleep well, stay well.They are called "eau de vie" for many life saving reasons. We made a huge pot of Nettle tisane, a large Nettle soup and a fresh batch of delicious Herbal Beer! I have crafted Gruit Ales but Cédric talked me into malting this one as he is a passionate home brewer. So i jumped into the rabbit hole of all grain brewing at 10pm. An adventure in brewing made fun when good Whisky and beer is flowing among friends. I made my first all grain herbal beer with our house blend of Brettanomyces/Cali/1056 yeast that we began yeast harvesting from other home brews.

I wanted a herbal forward beer with wild funky yeast and Simcoe hops and some citrus to balance as the Nettles can get a little intense for some palates. Of course my garden and cupboard contains all sorts of tasty foraged botanicals that go perfectly in an olden style Botanical Beer so i grabbed mason jars for my herbal schedule. I wanted to share this brew to inspire others to play liberally with botanicals as they can add so much depth, complexity, aroma and taste to beers along with all their medicinal benefits. Happy Botanical Brewing!

To make a Gallon of Foraged Spring Nettle Beer:

Botanical Ingredients:

Fresh Foraged Stinging Nettles 1/2 a salad spinner bowl

Zest of 2 organic Lemons

Sweet woodruff fresh 1 fluffy handful

Dried Mountain Cleavers 1 handful

Admirable Bolete dried 3 slices

Foraged Reishi oregonense dried 1 medium slice

Dried Mugwort 1 handful

Ground Ivy 1 Tbsp.

Wild Ginger root dried 1 X 2 in. piece

Sheng Pu-erh Tuo Cha piece

Rind of fresh Bergamot Orange peeled and dried 3 pieces.

Fresh Heather leaf and blossom 1 handful

Willow Leaf dried 1 handful

Squamish Wild Hops ( some olden lager varietal most likely) 1 handful

Simcoe Hops fresh 1 full handful

Set these aside for the boil of the wort.Omit some you do not have handy or substitute for other herbals. Most important is some brightening citrus to balance and a complimentary hops, yeast and grains.

1.Begin the 1 hour mash and 30 min sparge of organic Malted Barley milled.

Total Grains 3 lbs.

Organic 2 row 1,162 grams

Organic Munich 200 grams

in your home brew kettle add the botanicals and boil for 30 mins. leaving the hops out til the last 15 mins. of the boil. Add the Squamish Hops and half the Simcoe ho[s then at the last 5 mins. add the other half of Simcoe Hops. Strain and cool down to 16-18*C then add 1/2 cup of house blend re harvested yeast or your store bought. Ours is a 1/4 cup White Labs Brettanomyces & Cali blend and also a 1/4 cup Y Yeast 1056. re harvest.But any style you fancy works.

The Original Gavity was 1060 and we added the airlock. Yeast fairies fermented for 10 days as we over pitched a little. The final gravity was 1012 and we refrigerated 2 days and then bottle refermented to carbonize with organic cane sugar 8 g per per 750ml. I had a taste this eve and it is a lovely malty, complex and balanced herbal beer with bright citrus and wild funk just like i hoped. Full of nourishing, digestive, immune boosting, detox properties that is perfect for a beautiful wild spring brew. To your health! Slainte!

Isabelle Ranger

Foraging Herbalist


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