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08/09/2018 12:29AM  
I have not been interested in home-brewing beer that will never be as good as the best beer brewed in nearby breweries. Besides, I like going out and exploring beers offered by the experts.
However, beer resulting from ingredients in your yard, garden or nearby woods is a different game. I liken it primitive camping, using flint and steel to start the fire, etc.

With primitive beer, you use mugwort, yarrow, horehound or other bitter plant instead of hops. You can also use plant materials to make your own yeast starter (I used a commercial yeast, Nottingham Ale, for my first batch).

Anyway, I just completed my first batch, a mugwort/lemon beer. It should be ready by this weekend.

I admit that I had a ready potential interest. I identified plants for my job before I retired. I also forage for edible plants and mushrooms when I walk the dog on forest trails near my house. My daughter recognized my interests and bought me a book on brewing with the wild stuff.

Anyone else ventured (or thought about it) on the wild side?
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08/09/2018 06:08PM  
Very interesting. I hadn't even thought about this type of brewing, but I suppose it would make sense in a historical context. Not everyone had access to hops for the purpose of brewing so it would be logical that they use something else to make fermented drinks. I'm very interested to know how it turns out and how it compares to what most of us think of as beer.
08/11/2018 12:41PM  
The term for the use of bittering agents than hops is "gruit." Gruit based brewing recipes outdate hops recipes by 8,000 years and even outdate civilization by thousands of years.

Once upon a time, in England, gruit based brews were called "ale" while the newer hops based recipes were called "beer."

A person can make his final product very much like an ale he would buy in the store or he can go completely native. I intend to experiment with part-native to full-native.

My current batch is part-native (one third). I used a commercial brewing yeast which goes a long way in making the final product "beer-like." The alternative would be to make a wild yeast starter.
For the main fermenting sugar, I used dark brown sugar....something regular home brewers might use for regular beer. A wild alternative would be your home-made maple syrup or sugar. Some people even use honeydew from homopteran insects. The sugar choice also contributes some flavor.
The third main ingredient you can play with is the bittering agent. I used mugwort. Hops are what we are used to in our store or brewery bought beers.

I once stumbled upon a 25 oz bottle of beer that I have never been able to find again. That is unfortunate because it was my most remembered beer experience. No hops inside the bottle. Also, I remember thinking, "there's no alcohol in this." I remember putting on my reading glasses and checking....10%, oops! Today, I know that bog myrtle (sweet gale) and yarrow were the bittering agents.

So, switch just one category to wild and you get something that reminds you of regular beer. Switch all three and you will likely get something totally different. I am guessing that switching the sugar source might have the least effect.

I like the idea of going back to my caveman roots.

Note: I tasted my beer, pre-carbonation, and it is going to be beer-like, albeit unusual. I will report when it is fully ready.

09/05/2018 11:45AM  
Ok, I really like this stuff. I tried it out over a several week period to get a good feel for it. I even preferred it to the four craft beers, four different styles, in my refrigerator.

I am probably biased but my wife likes the primitive stuff too, at least this particular one.

09/05/2018 03:30PM  
Several years ago, a friend of mine chastised me for having some tequila drinks at home. He told me there are toxins in tequila.
I went home and researched that idea. It turned out that tequila was about 3rd from the bottom in a list of least unhealthy to most unhealthy. On the bottom, most unhealthy of all, was beer. My friend was taken aback because beer is the only form of alcohol he drinks. It is my favorite too.
Beer was unhealthy, it was asserted, because of the grain used in making it. Ergot, molds and fungi present in grain are the source of the toxins.
I do not drink beer for its health benefits so it continued to be my favorite alcoholic beverage.
After I started making my primitive beer, I noticed a comment in the recipe book that hops are a sedative and are otherwise unhealthy. More online checking. Here's what I found. It made me feel pretty good about my primitive hops and no grain.

Brewer's droop??
09/06/2018 07:37AM  
Sorry I am calling BS on your link Jeriatric. That is just a bunch of heresay with no links or references to research. They sort of try to...since A is true then our assumption about B must be true...but that is far from might be? Then again their assumptions could be proven totally false.

You can find multiple studies that say hops and beer are good for you and you can find some that say they are bad. The jury is still out, but most likely the reason is volume and moderation.

Here is a biased brewer link ;) but at least they reference research studies.

Reasons to drink beer with hops
09/06/2018 11:53AM  
I have some thoughts on this. Unfortunately, I am rushing around getting ready for a trip to Florida. Maybe I can get reacquainted with my iPad (Hey, I'm old).
Anyway, an initial thought. Most things are good for the body unless you get too much. Most things can be bad for the body, if you get too much.
Mugwort or yarrow might be bad for you if you were to consume it every day. I don't because I have to make the beer a gallon at a time. In between those beers I plan on making hard cider and mead.
Many people do consume hopped beer nearly every day. I had been doing that. Now, I am planning to mix it up with non-hopped brews so I don't get so much hops.

Again, if the iPad works for me I'll contribute more on this subject. If not, it'll be a little over two weeks. Meanwhile, I'll be trying the hopped beers of Florida breweries.
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